Writing a Research Paper


Writing a Research Paper

In English III students are required to do research which culminates in the writing of a research paper. Other English courses at Dallastown may also require students to do a research paper. Research papers for the English Department of Dallastown Area High School are to use MLA Format (Modern Language Association). 

Please note: Whenever a writer does any research, he must cite where he gets any information which he did not know before doing the research (that which is not general knowledge must usually be cited). While direct quotations must be cited, so must other information which the writer finds and puts into a paper. There are several reasons that a writer needs to cite his information. The first reason is that we should give credit where credit is due; the person who actually knows the information should get the recognition for knowing the information. The second reason is for the benefit of the reader; if a reader wishes to find more information on the subject, he may easily do so by referencing the source in a citation. The third reason, and possibly the most important reason to cite sources, is that the writer, who usually is not an expert on the subject, can prove through the use of citations that he does know information about the subject upon which he is writing.

Also note: Any source which a writer lists on his Works Cited page must be cited internally in the body of the paper. This shows that the source was actually used in gathering information for the research paper.

Below you will find links to different web resources that can be of further assistance in putting together a paper that uses the proper MLA Format:

  • Dallastown's own Research Documentation Pages, which have very detailed guidelines showing the MLA style, which your English teacher will require.

    Research Documentation Pages

  • The following page was designed to help those students who are not familiar with the process of using a header at the top of a research paper's pages. This page explains how to place a header in Microsoft Word. Other word processing applications can also display headers in much the same way that MS Word does, but the process of placing them may be different:

How to Create a Header

  • The Official MLA web site:

The Modern Language Association Web Site

  • Below is another site that shows some examples of format and gives explanations of citation. Writers of research papers may wish to visit this site as they are formatting their papers:

A Guide for Writing Research Papers Based on MLA Documentation

Novel Cover Images from Paperbacks and BMI Bound Books. Dayton, NJ: BMI Educational Services, 2002.

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