The following two sample research papers are typical of the papers that might be submitted in different kinds of courses.
Reading these papers will help you learn about organizing an argument and working with sources. The papers also demonstrate the use of MLA style to document sources and the formatting of the margins, line spacing, and other physical attributes of a printed paper. The MLA’s guidelines on formatting papers appear elsewhere on this site.
The sample papers were written by MLA staff members who are experienced college teachers. You may find that the writing and documentation seem polished. Because the sample papers serve as models, we aimed to make them free of errors in grammar and documentation. Nevertheless, we hope that the papers usefully represent good student work.
This paper, on Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series, shows you how to incorporate figures into your text, style a block quotation, and cite a variety of sources. Read about block quotations in the MLA Handbook (1.3.2–3, 1.3.7).
This paper, on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and the courtship novel, features examples of how to use notes in MLA style, cite a dictionary definition, and more.
Title of a television series? Italics. (p. 28)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar,
Mutant Enemy, 1997-2003.
Episode of a television series? Quotation marks. (p. 28)
"Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah
Michelle Gellar, season 4, episode 10, Mutant Enemy, 1999.
A web site? Italics. (p. 28)
Hollmichel, Stefanie. So Many Books. 2003-13, somanybooksblog.com.
A posting or an article at a web site? Quotation marks. (p. 28)
Hollmichel, Stefanie. "The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print." So Many
Books, 25 Apr. 2013, somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/
A song or other piece of music on an album? Quotation marks. (p. 28)
Beyoncé. "Pretty Hurts."Beyoncé, Parkwood Entertainment, 2013,