MLA Style Research Paper Example

MLA Style Research Paper
Your last name, and page # on
upper right corner of each page
½ inch from top border.
based on the 7 ed. of the MLA
Handbook for Writers of Research
Papers. Created Nov 10, 2009.
Smith 1
Your name
John Smith
Professor Williams
Course name
American Studies 104
14 March 2008
Use Times New Roman 12 pt.
or similar easy to read font.
Title is centered
Found Voices: Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan was perhaps one of the most influential scientific minds
Double space
entire paper
that the world has ever experienced. When he learned that stars were actually
extremely distant suns, his world was changed and the magnitude of the
Indent 1 inch
from left border
universe opened up to him. Another strong motivator into science came with
his reading of a popular science fiction book of the time, The Burroughs
Tales. The stories were not extremely sound scientifically, but still
presented ideals of adventure and the unknown. The idea that life could
Italicize names
of books,
plays, poems,
databases, art,
ships, and
space craft.
exist elsewhere in the universe fascinated Sagan and remained with him for
Indent additional
½ inch when
beginning a new
the rest of his life (Eicher). In-text citation pointing to a specific source in the works cited list.
Perhaps one of Sagan’s most famous individual accomplishments
was his involvement with the Pioneer 10 Space Probe. The probe was created
to be the first object to exit our galaxy. Sagan acknowledged that the chances
of anything actually discovering the probe were astronomical, but believed
that it was important to promote public appreciation for science and thought
the project to be “all in good fun” (McDonough 50).
Citation with page number of quotation.
Public appreciation for science was, in fact, what made Sagan the
“superstar scientist” that we hear of today. His ability to portray complex
Your name, page # on upper
right corner of each page ½
inch from top border.
Leave a 1 inch margin from top of paper
Smith 2
science as attainable was what made him such a sensational figure. The
greatest example of this was his Cosmos Series. In this thirteen part television
series Sagan presented and explained a large variety of scientific topics ranging
from the origin of life to our place in the universe. It was the most watched
series in the United States for ten years after its release in 1980 (Cohen).
Another work of his similar to Cosmos was his book Pale Blue Dot.
In the book Sagan instills a sense of perspective and wonder into man’s
position in the universe (Carl Sagan - Pale Blue Dot). This is one of the most
widely known works by Sagan and many believe it to be his greatest work.
Along with this interest and promotion of science, Sagan also tried to
push people away from pseudo science. His work in exobiology made it
inevitable that he would eventually have to address the growing belief in
UFOs that was so prevalent in the 60s era. Sagan investigated and
acknowledged extraordinary claims but remained extremely skeptical in his
approach. He believed that investigating and disproving popular paranormal
claims would raise scientific awareness (Morrison, Sagan 30).
Sagan was a strong proponent of ending the arms race. This may have
been motivated in part by his study of exobiology. While considering the
probability of other life in the universe he surmised that industrial societies
would bring about their own extinction rather quickly (Morrison, Carl 57).
Leave a 1 inch margin from bottom of paper
When there
are two
sources by
one author,
in the in-text
to direct the
reader to the
Smith 3
Some of Sagan’s ideas were not as publicly displayed. In 1971 Sagan
published an essay considering the use of marijuana under the pseudonym of
Mr. X. He had had experience with the drug, and claimed that it had provided
him with valuable life experience. He summarized his opinion by saying:
When cannabis is legalized, I hope to see this ratio as one of the
If a quotation runs more
than 4 lines indent an
additional ½ inch with
no quotation marks.
parameters printed on the pack. I hope that time isn't too distant;
the illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full
utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight,
sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this
increasingly mad and dangerous world (Sagan).
All of these ideas and opinions together constitute a consistent
message. Sagan was an example of what a scientist and intellectual should
be. He was a rational, skeptical and curious individual whose voice is severely
underrepresented in all aspects of culture and life today. His work in promoting
scientific literacy has had lasting affects and contributed greatly to the collective
human knowledge. He will be remembered as an intelligent and thoughtful
scientist and human being.
Arrange sources alphabetically
by the author’s last name, or if
no author, by the first word in
the citation.
MLA Style Works Cited
Your last name, and page # on
upper right corner of each page
½ inch from top border.
Smith 4
Include the
medium of each
source: print,
web, CD, DVD,
radio, film, email, film,
Indent each
source 1 inch
from border,
double space,
and indent
second and
Works Cited
Adler, Jerry. “Unbeliever’s Quest.” Newsweek 31 Mar 1997:
64-66. Print.
Print magazine
Broad, William J. “Even in Death, Carl Sagan’s Influence is Still Cosmic.”
New York Times. New York Times, 1 Dec 1998. Web. 20 Mar 2008.
“Carl Sagan – Pale Blue Dot.” 2 Apr 2007. YouTube. Web. 7 Mar 2009.
Telephone interview
Chyba, Christopher. Telephone interview. 22 Mar. 2009.
Personal interview
Drake, Frank. Personal interview. 5 Mar 2009.
Eicher, Dave. "CARL SAGAN, 1934-1996." Astronomy 25.3 (1997): 28.
Academic Search Premier. Web. 3 Mar 2009.
Magazine article from a database
Harrison, Jane. "Incidental music." The Oxford Companion to Music. Ed.
Online reference source
Alison Latham. Oxford Music Online. Web. 14 Dec. 2009.
McDonough, Tom. "Carl Sagan and the Search for E.T." Skeptic 13.1
(2007):49-51. Academic Search Premier. Web. 13 Mar 2009.
Magazine article
from a database
Morrison, David "Carl Sagan’s Life and Legacy as Scientist, Teacher,
Date of article
and Skeptic." Skeptical Inquirer. January-February 2009. Web.
Date you accessed article 7 Mar 2009. <>.
Web site
Morrison, David. "Sagan and Skepticism." Skeptic 7.1 (1999): 29-31.
Academic Search Premier. Web. 13 Mar 2009.
Include the URL
only if the
requires it, or the
source cannot be
found without it.
Magazine article from a database
Smith 5
NASA Panel Discussion. "Complex Life May or May Not Be Rare."
Opposing Viewpoints
Database: Chapter of a
book with a corporate
Contemporary Issues Companion: Extraterrestrial Life. Ed. Sylvia
Engdahl. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006.
Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Web. 4 Dec. 2009.
Sagan, Carl. "Mr.X," Marijuana Uses. Ed. Lester Grinspoon.
Web site
Center Online Web. 17 Mar 2009.
"Sagan, Carl Edward " Earth Sciences for Students. 4 vols. Online. Macmillan
Reference USA, 2008. Biography Resource Center. Web. 15 Dec. 2009.
“Sleep Disorders” DSM-IV-TR Fourth Edition. American Psychiatric Publishing,
DSM-IV-TR Online
Inc. PsychiatryOnline. Web. 15 Dec 2009.
Spangenburg, Ray and Kit Moser. Carl Sagan: A Biography. New York:
Book with 2 authors.
Prometheus Books, 2008. Print.
Streep, Mark. “Sagan Pioneer of His Time.” New York Times. 5 Dec. 2008.
LexisNexis. Web. 20 Mar 2009.
Unsigned online
Unsigned article
from an online
reference source,
Online newspaper from a database.
“Whirlpool galaxy.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online,
2009. Web. 8 Dec 2009. <>
“Zimbabwe.” CountryWatch. CountryWatch Inc., 2009. Web. 8 Dec 2009.
Zimbalist, Paul A. “Nuclear Winter” World of Earth Science. Ed. K.L. Lerner
Electronic reference
book from a database.
and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. Vol.2. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 403 – 405.
Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 15 Nov. 2009.