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Dr. Mack Gipson, Jr., Tutorial and Enrichment Center, Paine College, Augusta, GA – Prepared by Carole D. Overton, Director page 1
Using the MLA Style Handbook – 6
Edition rev. 6/19/08 web
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “MLA STYLE”
Many journals accept articles for publication. Since these articles come from so many different
researchers and authors, it is important to have some rules and procedures so that the articles will
be similar in format and easy for the readers to follow.
These standard procedures (or rules for format) are different for different disciplines. For
example, while English instructors follow the procedures set forth by the Modern Language
Association (the “MLA” style), authors in other fields use other styles or standards.
Although you will probably not be submitting your paper to a journal, it is still important for you
to follow the standard rules so that your paper will be easy for others to read. These rules cover
such topics as format, grammar, typing rules, and page layout. It will be especially important for
you to follow the rules for proper documentation (giving credit to those authors whose work you
have referred to in your paper).
Your instructor has assigned you a research paper and has specified that you follow the MLA
style handbook. This packet will discuss some of the more important features of that manual and
will provide samples of many of the rules.
This packet is intended to be used as a brief guide to introduce you to the use of the MLA style
handbook as you write your research paper. You will probably need more information as you go
through the process. For more information, you should look at the MLA Handbook for
Writers of Research Papers (Sixth Edition).*
Many other books may help explain how to write a research paper. These books are available in
the Tutorial and Enrichment Center and in most libraries and bookstores. In addition, many
grammar books have sections on writing research papers.
HOWEVER, keep in mind that the MLA Handbook will always be the best place to look for
answers to your questions about format, rules, and procedures. Remember, also, that you will be
using the rules for the 6
To help you find your way through the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Sixth
Edition), the next page of this packet gives you a list of the chapters and includes notes about
some of the sections which you might need to use.
* This manual will be called the “MLA Handbook” for the remainder of this packet.