Research Paper Use MLA (Modern Language Association) guidelines. Length: The finished paper is 6 total pages, 5 pages of critical research and 1 page of works cited. Sources: Use 5 to 7 critical sources (including the primary source). 1. Follow the latest MLA Guide (8th edition) to a tee for both formatting the essay and documenting sources. 2. The essay must have an introduction: one paragraph at the beginning; body: multiple paragraphs supporting your argument, and conclusion: one paragraph at the end. 3. Include your controversial thesis statement (not everyone will agree with you at first, and some will be quite opposed) as the last sentence of your introductory paragraph. 4. Introduce all quotations (don’t drop quotes out of the sky; don’t tack quotes in). Quotes must be properly (with correct punctuation) and smoothly integrated into sentences of your own. 5. As a general guideline, work in at least one quote for each body paragraph (sometimes more, sometimes less), but . . . 6. Approximately fifty percent of the essay should be researched information, quotations, paraphrases, or summaries. The rest of the paper should be your assertions, arguments, and, of course, your introduction and conclusion. 7. Don’t “block quote” the reader to death. Avoid using quotes so long (more than four lines typed) that they need to be blocked, especially in a four or five page essay. 8. Write in third person (he, she, it, they, them, names of people, places, and things). Avoid first person. Don’t use second person at all. 9. Periods go after parenthetical documentation when parenthetical documentation is used. Otherwise, periods and commas go inside the end quotation mark. 10. If you are quoting poetry, indicate line breaks with a forward slash (/) and cite the line number(s). If you are quoting prose, cite the page number(s). If you got the information from an internet source without page numbers, don’t worry about page numbers. 11. Begin and end paragraphs with your own words, not quotes or any material used from research. 12. No contractions (formal essay standard) 13. You’re not on a first name basis with researchers or authors mentioned in the essay (and even if you were, your audience probably isn’t), so don’t refer to them by first name alone. Instead, use a combination of the first and last the first time you introduce the name and then use the last name or pronoun each subsequent time. 14. As a general rule, there should be as many research sources as there are pages of the essay. 15. Vary your sources. Make sure sources are credible. Don’t use Schmoop, Wikipedia, Sparknotes, Cliffnotes, enotes, summaries, etc. (not considered credible). (Literature students: Keep in mind that if you do not have an author, the source is not a critical source.) 16. Works Cited should be labeled as such, with that title centered on the final page. 17. Put citations in alphabetical order. 18. Even the works cited page should be double spaced throughout. 19. Use hanging indentions for each line of a work cited subsequent to its first line. 20. Proofread for major and minor errors before turning in the final draft.