The following is an excerpt from the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, ed. Joseph Gibaldi and Walter S. Achtert (New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1977), pp. 44–48.

19    Spacing

The research paper should be double-spaced throughout, including quotations and notes. (On the placement of notes, see §30.) …

20   Margins

Leave margins of one inch at the top, bottom, and both sides of the text. … Indent the first word of a paragraph [0.35 inches] from the left margin; indent quotations [0.5 inches] from the left margin (see §14). …

21    The Title

A research paper [should have] a title page [that includes] the title, author’s name, instructor’s name, course number, and date of submission. … [Note that this page] is not counted as the first page of the paper….

The title is never put in quotation marks, [italicized,] underlined, or capitalized in full. (For capitalization, see §15.) Words are [italicized] in the title only if they would also be [italicized] in the text (see §10h).

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A period should not be used after titles or any centered headings, including Roman numerals used alone as section headings (see §22). The title ordinarily does not carry a symbol or number referring to a note. (Editors will occasionally violate this practice to cite the source of the work being printed.)

22   Divisions of the Text

Term papers rarely have formal divisions. Related groups of paragraphs may be separated from the preceding and following groups of paragraphs by skipping three lines (i.e., by double-spacing twice). In longer papers …, unified sections of thought are sometimes numbered (usually with Roman numerals); a subtitle may also be added (II. From 1965 to 1971). The number and the subtitle appear four lines below the last line of the previous section and are either centered on the page or typed flush with the left margin. The first paragraph of the new section begins four lines below the subtitle. …

23   Tables and Illustrations

Illustrative material should be placed [on separate pages after the main text and before the bibliography]. Tables are usually labeled as “tables,” given Arabic numerals, and captioned; both label and caption should be completely in capital letters. Place the statement of the source of a table and any notes to the table immediately below the table; do not number the notes in the same series as the notes to the text (common practice is to use lowercase letters for notes to tables). Double-space throughout, ruling as needed.

Other types of illustrative material—photographs, maps, line drawings, graphs, charts, and so forth—should be labeled as “figures” (often abbreviated), assigned Arabic numbers, and given titles or captions (Fig. 1. Cousin, Eva Prima Pandora, Louvre). …

24   Pagination

Number pages consecutively throughout the manuscript in the upper right-hand corner. … Do not punctuate page numbers by adding periods, hyphens, or other characters. …

25   Corrections and Insertions

Proofread and correct the research paper … carefully [before printing the final draft for submission]. …

26   Binding

[All the pages of the research paper] should be [secured by a single staple before being] handed in. …