What is the easiest research paper format?


When you are tasked with writing a research paper, you may be asked to write it using a specific format. You might be asked, for example, to write a five to seven page research paper that is in APA format. You might instead be asked to write a ten page research paper where you cite your sources in Harvard format. If your assignment details or instructions fail to tell you precisely what format style you should use for your paper, you should take a gander at your syllabus and see if the teacher has anything specific there. Some teachers state in the syllabus that all assignments for that class should be formatted with a particular format. Others have no preference and will allow you to pick.

In some cases you are not asked to use any particular format, and are instead given a choice. Some teachers know that each class may demand a different format, and therefore leave it up to you to pick whichever is easiest for you.

So which research paper format is easiest?


That really depends on the type of research paper you are writing. If you are writing a standard research paper that reviews sources and presents an argument gleaned from the sources, then MLA is certainly the easiest format.

MLA requires a mere block at the top left hand of the page with your name, the date, the course name, and the title of the article centered below it. You do not have any specific sections within the body of an MLA format, and can instead use whichever headings or subheadings you see fit for the occasion. This is particularly useful because you have much more freedom when it comes to outlining your argument and presenting the best case.

But if you are writing a research paper that is designed to present the findings of an experiment you conducted, then you should use APA.

APA is designed specifically for that, with headings such as:


  • Literature review
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion

All of these are designed to effectively present your findings and show the reader what you did, what came of it, and what that means for the field.

Some students prefer using Chicago because the footnotes inside of the text help to eat up space in a paper, particularly if the teacher considers each “page” required including the footnotes. This is, of course, based on the discretion of the teacher.