The Modern Language Association, or MLA, has established and developed the MLA style as a guide for students and writers in formatting their written assignments, such as book reports, essays, and research papers, and for documenting the sources that they have consulted. The MLA format, in particular, is prescribed for use in structuring papers among the several fields in the humanities, especially in literature and the languages, philosophy, and the liberal and fine arts.
Unless specifically requested by your instructor, the MLA format does not require the inclusion of a cover sheet or a title page to your essay or research paper. You are required, however, to include an MLA heading to your document. On the first page of your essay of your research paper, simply type your complete name, your instructor’s name, the course number, and the date using double space in the upper left hand corner of the page, exactly one inch from the top edge.
Immediately in the next line, which has double spacing, type the complete title of your work using standard capitalization; do not put quotation marks, italicize, or underline the title. Align this text to the center of the page. This collection of data consists of the MLA heading and title of your paper. Below is an example:
Professor Charles Williamson
English 107: Advanced European Literature
8 July 2012
An Interpretation of Cultures
Just as you would use the MLA style in the main text or body of your paper, in your title you need to use quotation marks and or italics when you are referring to other works, for example: A Post-Freudian and Neo-Marxist Perspective on the Film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or A Poststructuralist Critique of “The Stranger” by Albert Camus.
Additionally, according to the official handbook of the MLA style, you need to create an MLA heading or header in the upper right-hand corner of the page. The MLA heading includes your last name, followed by a space with the corresponding page number. All of your pages must be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), which are placed one-half inch from the top of the page and aligned to the right margin. Sometimes, your instructor may not require the inclusion of the last name and page number header on your first page. Always follow the specifications and guidelines of your instructor.
An MLA heading may also sometimes refer to sectional headings to improve the structure and organization of your paper. In such cases, the sections may include individual chapters of your work.