In every field of research, there is a need to borrow facts or figures from other scholarly studies. Based on the requirement, the conventions used in various papers may vary. The MLA style follows a set of guidelines set by the Modern Language Association. This style is widely used in the field of humanities, especially in English, philosophy, foreign languages, and religious studies. High school and college writing assignments mostly follow this standardized writing style. Generally, MLA style of formatting is considered to be simpler and more concise compared to other styles.
Basic Guidelines for MLA Style of Formatting
- The standard 8.5 x 11-inch paper should be always used.
- Set a margin of 1-inch on all sides of the document.
- Give an indent of half inch/5 spaces (or you can give a tab) for the first line of each paragraph. Do not give extra space between the paragraphs.
- The entire text should be double-spaced.
- Use a clear font, such as Times New Roman and the point size should be 10-12 point.
- All the pages should be numbered (in some cases, there might be specific instructions not to number the first page). Place the page numbers on the top right-hand corner of the page and align them flush right. Your last name must precede the page number.
- The title should be centered. Do not give extra space above or below the title of your paper.
- You need not set a separate title page unless specified.
- Do not use boldface in an MLA paper unless specified.
- In case of a quoted sentence, punctuation (a period or comma) should be placed inside the quotation marks.
- Endnotes, if any, should be set on a separate page just before the ‘Works Cited’ page.
These basic guidelines are provided just to give you an outline idea about the structure of the MLA style of formatting. For further details, you can refer to the MLA Handbook and the MLA Style Manual.
Good design and simple writing style of a scientific article are very important for getting the work published in a scientific journal. Nowadays, all are busy in their work; they need something that is easy to read and understand quickly. Therefore, it is effective to write a scientific article in a clear and simple way, with as much information as can be provided in a straight-forward and concise style. Following are described the guidelines for writing scientific article in an effective manner.
Effective Guidelines for Writing Scientific Article
Writing the Abstract
- Abstract is the brief report of the whole article. It should highlight the major and important points covered in the article.
- Writing the abstract includes summarizing the whole article while providing as much information as possible.
- Identify the chief objectives, results, discussions and conclusions, and gather them in a single paragraph.
- Exclude background information, literature review, account of methods, and extra words and phrases.
- Re-read and revise the abstract to ensure that it conveys only the vital information.
Developing the Outline
- The idea of an outline is to separate and arrange the topics and arguments of the whole article into smaller tasks in a logical form before writing the final article.
- Prepare a fundamental message of the article by summarising the paper in one sentence (20-25 words).
- Describe the sampling method employed and the materials and methods used to conduct the study.
- Identify the major results and findings. List them in note form.
- Define the chief conclusions and implications arising from the study.
- Identify the limitations of the study results. What changes in practice, approaches or techniques would you recommend.
- List every key point separately. Organize them chronologically by order of importance. Organising method should be plain and coherent.
- Identify the references pertaining to each and every key point.
- Prepare the introduction by reading the notes made in the outline. Introduction should begin with the main message, describing the purpose/objective of the study, how the study was conducted, what were the results and their implications.
Preparing the First Draft of Article
- Combine all the information, i.e., data, references, tables, figures, etc.
- Decide the journal to which you plan to submit the article. Write and format the article according to the targeted journal.
- While writing the first draft, include all the chief points and information. Ignore the incomplete sentences and incorrect grammar at this stage.
- Express yourself clearly through your writing by writing what you understand and how you understand it.
- Use the headings from the prepared outline. Attempt to write the article in parts. Treat each section as a short article.
- Take a break from the work. Read the prepared first draft with a fresh approach and viewpoint.
- Edit or modify or delete, but be prepared to revise the article several times to make the final draft.
- Wherever possible and applicable, use short sentences, simple and clear words and phrases, small paragraphs denoting single idea.
- Proofread for clarity and readability. Re-read sentences and paragraphs for lucidity. For a scientific article, paragraphs of about 150 words in length are considered most favorable.
- Ensure consistency and regularity. An article with more than one author often shares the writing procedures. However, the writing style should be consistent and regular.
The above mentioned guidelines for writing scientific article provide the most basic and common guidelines used while writing any scientific article. By following these guidelines for writing scientific article, one can learn and know how to write scientific articles in an effective and attractive manner.