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APA Styling – Headings

  • Headings: General overview
    • The number of headings per paper varies depending on many reasons, such as subject matter
    • The introduction of a paper does not receive a heading – APA assumes that once the paper begins, it is automatically the introduction
    • There is a large difference between formatting headings within the body of the paper and section titles
      • Headings within the body of the paper include the Methods, Results, and Discussion sections – These headings are bold faced.
      • Section titles include the Abstract, author note, title of paper (where it appears above the actual beginning of the paper), references, appendix/appendices, and footnotes. Section titles have no additional format.
  • Formatting Headings
    • APA style has a unique, and very important to follow, way of formatting the different headings in a paper
    • There are five heading levels
      • The different level headings represent sections, sub-sections, and sub-sections of sub-sections in a paper
    • Regardless of the number of levels in a paper, always use the headings in numerical order
      • Begin with level 1, then level 2, and so on
      • Section headings = Level 1 format
      • Subsections = Level 2 format
      • Subsections of subsections = Level 3 format
      • It is not necessary to indicate the level number with your heading; the information here is only how to format the title of the section/subsection
    • Below is a table that explains the formatting per level of heading:

 

APA Headings Levels

Level

Format

1

Centered, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Headings

2

Left-aligned, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading

3

    Indented, boldface, lowercase heading with a period. Begin text directly after period, not on the next line.

4

    Indented, boldface, italicized, lowercase heading with a period.  Begin text directly after period, not on the next line.

5

    Indented, italicized, lowercase heading with a period. Begin text directly after period, not on the next line.

 

An example of utilizing these headings in an actual paper goes as follows:

Method (Level 1)

Setting of Experiment  (Level 2)

Participant Demographics (Level 2)

     Male. (Level 3)

     Female. (Level 3)

 (All information derived from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/ and http://www.apastyle.org/index.aspx)