Avoiding Common Research Paper Formatting Errors

Sometimes, a student makes mistakes when writing or revising their research paper. Some of the most common research paper mistakes involve formatting errors. Formatting errors mainly affect the look and layout of a research paper. These errors can make the research paper difficult to read, affecting the paper's overall readability to readers.

Students generally have difficulties properly formatting their papers in APA (American Psychological Association) style. Some of the most common mistakes found in research papers originate from that particular formatting style.

Avoiding common formatting errors in research paper formatting

To help students correct their mistakes when writing a research paper, here are some tips to help them avoid common research paper errors:

Page number or running head errors

The page numbers or running head (short title) can sometimes be incorrectly formatted or omitted from a research paper.

The running head should be included in the header of all number pages within the research paper. The page numbers should also be in consecutive order, appearing in the upper right corner of the research paper's pages.

Research paper abstract errors

The abstract is more or less a 'summary page' for the entire research paper. Some students completely miss including their abstract or formatting it correctly. Sometimes, a student may also omit the abstract's keywords.

The abstract should have a centered heading formatted in bold or italic letters; it should also be formatted in several block paragraphs on a separate page from other parts of the paper. Keywords should be listed in the abstract to allow search engines to 'find' the paper when published online.

Research paper heading errors

Many research papers have incorrect headings or inappropriate headings, either placed at the wrong level or with the wrong formatting.

Headings in a research paper should be used in accordance with the importance of its accompanying text. First level headings, to provide an example, should be used when starting a new section.

In-text quotation and citation errors

These are some of the most common errors found in research papers. Citation errors usually consist of spelling mistakes, incorrect term use (like 'et al.'), incorrect punctuation use and incorrect citation arrangements. Quotations, when misused, are usually provided without page numbers and/or proper references.

Students should check the APA style guide to ensure they're formatting and using their citations correctly. They should also provide page numbers for all direct quotations used throughout the body of their research paper.

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