10 tips for formatting your research paper in the right way

Formatting a research paper can be arduous and can be overwhelming at times. There are tips and suggestions that could be of use when trying to format a research a paper. Formatting properly makes your paper look more appropriate for a higher level of education and shows that you care about the impression your paper gives and could also make reading it easier for the reader.

Double space your paper

Throughout drafts, it is encouraged to make marks and notes and for others who are editing to make marks and notes; double spacing allows for notes to be made without crossing into the typed paper. This not only keeps the typed work readable, but the notes clear and readable as well so editing is easier.

No need for a fancy font

A clean font such as Times New Roman, Tahoma or Arial is sufficient enough. Stay away from the unreadable fonts such as windings or fonts where the letters are close together or unprofessional looking fonts such as Comic Sans.

One space only

After each word or punctuation mark, only make one space. There is no need to make two spaces unless you are told otherwise. This gives a more uniform, clean and professional appearance.

Italicize titles

If you are citing a source of significant length, italicize the title. This emphasizes the source, ensuring that the reader will know it is important to know the source you are referencing.

Cover page not always needed

Unless you are told to, stay away from making title or cover pages. They appear less professional and is unnecessary to the paper. Simply put the title of the paper centered at the top of the first page.

Double space between the title and first paragraph

There should be noticeable distinction between the title and the first paragraph. Double spacing between the title and the first paragraph achieves this and makes the paper looks polished.

1 inch margins

Your margins should be set to 1 inch. This makes the paper look centered, but not too small and hard to read. This makes your paper look more professional.

Number your pages

You never know when papers might be inadvertently shuffled around and numbering pages will make it easy to keep your pages in the correct order

Start new headline on the next page

If your paper requires headlines or bold section title, and you are at the end of the page, start the new heading on the next page. This can prevent confusion for the reader and keep them focused.


Indent 5 spaces to the right at the beginning of each paragraph or simply press the tab key at the beginning of each paragraph. If you do not want to indent or can't indent, double space between lines, quadruple space between paragraphs

And always use the right paper

Always use a white, 8 x 11 sheet of paper in portrait format.