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How to Write Titles of Books in a Research Paper Properly

There are different styles for writing titles of books in a research paper. APA (American Psychological Association) is used to cite sources in social sciences. APA requires the use of the past tense when citing previous works.

  • When citing book titles APA uses the last name of the author, publication, date and page number.
  • A complete list should appear in the reference section at the end of the paper.
  • If the writer is referring to an idea in another book but not quoting it or referring to an entire book, he can quote the last name and year of publication but not the page number.
  • When citing in the text use capitals for proper nouns and use authors last name and initials.
  • When writing a hyphenated title capitalize both words.
  • Italicize titles of works using longer titles
  • Quotation marks can be used for shorter titles such as collections of works or journals.

For short quotations in the reference section use a short quotation followed by the authors surname, publication, date, and page number for the reference marked with the letter P. For long quotations of 40 words reference the surname and use a block of text without quotation marks. Use double spacing and indent each new paragraph a ½ inch. Write the page number after the final punctuation mark. If you are paraphrasing a quotation from another work quote the surname and publication and date but not the page number.

The MLA (Modern Language Association) style is used to cite sources for the liberal arts and humanities. MLA does not have a set format for writing titles of books in a research paper. All headings should resemble each other grammatically providing all the headings are distinct and parallel and have no additional sections. If you use a short phrase for one do the same for other entries. If you use multiple levels of headings provide a key reference for headings. You may use any system of formatting and numbering provided that it is consistent throughout the text. You can list titles as numbered, formatted bold, flushed left, or centered.   

  Basics for writing a bibliography at the end of the research paper:

  • Titles should be in italics. Use a semi-colon to separate a title from a subtitle.
  • All MLA tiles should have hanging indents.
  • MLA styles use title case capitalization.

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