Sample Mla Research Paper Proposal

A paper proposal is aimed to communicate the basic idea of what will be discussed in the paper and convince the instructor or thesis committee that the following research project is worthwhile to be completed. Thus, this is a very important part of your work that has to be worked out carefully.

Students who study arts and humanities are usually demanded to use the Modern Language Association (further on MLA) style in their academic writings. It provides the specific rules and guidelines on how to structure, write, and format the research works.

The following simple guidelines will help students compose a paper proposal in the MLA format correctly.

  • Think of an appropriate title.
  • It should be informative and captivating to interest and predispose readers towards the proposal. Don’t forget to center the title according to the MLA format just above the text of the paper.

  • Start with a powerful introduction.
  • Identify the topic of the paper and outline the framework using bright words in order to convince the readers that the issue under investigation is of great importance. Write about each idea discussed in the paper in a separate subtopic. Use a short story, statistics, examples, or historical background to grab attention of the instructor and thesis committee.

  • State the research problem.
  • Describe the problem you will attract the readers’ attention to and explain clearly why it is important to be investigated. Provide the methods you will use to tackle the existed problem.

  • Indicate the purpose of the study.
  • Inform the readers about the main purpose of the studies. Thus, answer why your research should be completed. Formulate the hypothesis and state the questions that will be answered during the studies.

  • Review the literature.
  • Study the literature related to the topic of the paper in order to analyze the problem from different perspectives. State the controversial points if there are any around the subject of the studies.

  • Provide more details about testing hypothesis.
  • Give clear and specific information as to the ways the formulated hypothesis will be tested and uncover the details that may help you do the research work or, vice versa, prevent from completing it successfully.

  • Present methods and approaches applied.
  • In order to prove the formulated hypothesis and achieve the purpose of the study, you have to address to the most appropriate methods and approaches.

  • Inform about the limitation.
  • If you lack data and this may influence the reliability of the research, don’t forget to warn the readers about the following difficulties.

  • Prepare a reference list.
  • Make sure that any mentioned source is formatted according to the MLA style.

    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.

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