8 Essential Things You Need To Know About The MLA Dissertation Format

If you are working on your dissertation in English studies, literature, or cultural studies, you are likely to use the MLA format. You can easily find an MLA manual and a handbook about how to format academic papers; cite sources; use endnotes, abbreviations, and footnotes; and compose a page of the works cited. The following 8 essential things will help you avoid common mistakes and format your dissertation correctly:

  1. Follow the general recommendations.
  2. The text should be double-spaced. Use a legible font, its size should be 12 points. After periods leave only one space as well as after other punctuation marks. Set the same one-inch margins on all sides. Create a header and number all pages using Arabic numbers.

  3. Check the instructions provided by your supervisor.
  4. Although you should follow the MLA general format, your instructor may ask you to use a different format. For example, you may be asked to omit the number on the first page or avoid using footnotes.

  5. Do not create a title page.
  6. Normally, you should not compose a separate title page. However, you should list your name, the name of your supervisor, the course, and the date on the first page in the upper left corner. Write everything in standard capitalization and double-space the text.

  7. Use endnotes for bibliographic and explanatory notes.
  8. It is recommended to avoid using many endnotes. However, in MLA style, you can use them to refer to the publications that your readers may find interesting and would like to consult or to provide some additional information.

  9. Keep in mind that short and long quotations are formatted differently.
  10. You can use direct quotations in your dissertation. Short quotations are enclosed within double quotation marks while longer ones are placed as a freestanding block of text without quotation marks.

  11. Pay special attention to the abbreviation format.
  12. There are many rules related to abbreviation format in MLA. It makes sense to get a handbook to avoid mistakes, as there are plenty of exceptions. For example, degree names are not formatted according to the standard lowercase abbreviation rule.

  13. Remember to cite all the used sources in a proper manner.
  14. It is a good idea to find an example of in-text citations in author-page style for different sources, e.g. sources with no known author, works with multiple editions, indirect sources, etc.

  15. Compose a list of works cited.
  16. Include all the sources that you have used in a reference list. Internet sources must be provided as well. MLA does not require providing the URLs, as they often change and the documents can appear in different databases at the same time.