1” margins – top, bottom, left, right. In word processor programs like Microsoft Word, the default is generally 1.25” left and right and should be reset. Margins are not set in the Paragraph box. In Word or Works, margins are set in Page Layout or in File/Page Setup/Margins.
Times New Roman 12 black font or other serif typeface as approved by instructor. Do not use bold except for section headings if section headings are used. Do not use all caps except for the title of the paper in the Header or an acronym (NATO, AIDS). Do not use italics or underlining unless there is a rule that says to use italics or underlining. For example, the first time a key term or label is introduced, the term or label should be in italics. Your default may not be Times New Roman 12 and should be reset to Times New Roman 12 or other font acceptible to your instructor. Font is important for readability.
Left align – this is the usual default setting. Do not block or justify where the right margin is even. Alignment can be set in the Paragraph box if the icon is not visible.
Double space – and only double space throughout, even after the heading and around the title, if any.
Some programs such as Word 2007 and later have defaults in the Paragraph box which interferes with proper double spacing. The settings in the Paragraph dialogue box should be as follows to have proper double spacing. Indentation (on top) should be set at 0 left and 0 right. Spacing (on the lower left) should be set to 0 Before and 0 After. Line Spacing (on the lower right) should be set to double. Check the box that says “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style.” Click Default (at the bottom) and select Yes to change defaults.
First line of a paragraph
Indent the first word of a paragraph 1/2” or .5 from the left margin
Spacing after a period or other end punctuation
Two spaces after the end of a sentences is recommended.
Create a header using the Header tool with the title of the paper in all caps starting at the left margin and then tab over to the right corner and use Insert/Page # to number the pages. Use a plain header format. Do not use bold, underlining, quotation marks, or a different font or color for the title. Do not use the word page or any abbreviation of the word page such as pg. or p. between your last name and the actual page number: 2. Some instructors ask that the header does not appear on the first page. Check the box that says Different first page to remove the header from the first page.
Type a heading in the upper left corner of the first page unless your instructor asks for a title page. Type the heading as follows: your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date (in military style – day month year – no commas) double spaced on separate lines. Do not indent the heading. Do not use the Header tool to create a heading. Your instructor may request different information to be typed into the heading.
If the instructor asks for a title page, prepare the title page as follows: center the title of the paper in all caps, your name, and your school on three separate lines centered and placed about 1/3 down on the page. Do not use bold, underlining, quotation marks, or a different font or color for the title. Do not use a heading on the first page if a title page is required.
If you are asked to prepare an abstract for your research paper (literature review), click Insert/Page Break to get to the top of a new page, and center the word Abstract in bold on the first line. Then, type a summary of your findings in about 150-200 words. Start each new section on a new page with the title of the section in bold. Remember that for a research paper, you’ll have only a title page (unless your instructor says otherwise), abstract (unless your instructor says otherwise), main body (literature review with introductory paragraph with thesis, body paragraphs which prove the thesis, and a concluding paragraph which sums up the proof and restates the thesis), and a Reference page which lists the references.
Use the same settings including double spacing throughout except that the first line of each source must start at the left margin and the second and any subsequent lines must be indent ½”. This is called a hanging indent. Make sure to type your sources one under the other hitting Enter at the end of each source. To create the hanging indent, highlight the References list and go into the Paragraph box. Under Special, select Hanging from the dropdown menu. Once selected, the default under By should be .5’. Remember that your list has to be alphabetized and the page should have the words References centered on top.