Citation

APA Format: Headings

This information is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition, 2010.

 

Headings are used to signal the organization and structure of the paper. The appearance of the heading changes depending on the number of structural levels within the paper. Observe the following conventions:

  • Use the same heading level for sections of the same importance
  • Begin a new level only if it will have two or more headings
  • Do not label the introduction (unless the instructor requests this)
  • Do not label headings with numbers or letters
  • Maintain the same font size used in the paper
  • Maintain double-spacing before and after Level 1 and 2 headings; double-spacing does not apply with Level 3, 4, and 5 headings (for these levels, the text continues on the same line as the heading)

Headings used in your paper are dictated by the number of content levels in the paper. APA has 5 levels of headings (see below), from Level 1 major sections to lower level subsections. The heading structure begins with Level 1, and then continues depending on the number and division of subsections. (See following examples.)

 

APA Headings

Level of Heading                 Format

1                                                                              Centered, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading

 

2                                           Flush Left, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading

 

3                                                  Indented, boldface, lowercase paragraph heading beginning with
                                                    a capital letter and ending with a period. Text continues.

 

4                                                  Indented, boldface, italicized, lowercase paragraph heading beginning with
                                                    a capital letter and ending with a period. 
Text continues.       

 

5                                                  Indented, italicized, lowercase paragraphheading beginning with a capital letter
                                                    and ending with a period.
 Text continues.


Heading Structures

Paper with two levels:

Use Levels 1 and 2.

Example:

                    

                    Method (Level 1)

Procedures (Level 2)

Sample (Level 2

                    Results (Level 1)

                Discussion (Level 1)

Limitations of the Study (Level 2)

Application of the Results (Level 2)

               Conclusions (Level 1)

 

 

Paper with three levels

Use Levels 1, 2, and 3.

Example:

 

Method (Level 1)

Measures (Level 2)

            Perceived control. Text continues here. (Level 3)

            Autonomy. Text continues here. (Level 3)

            Behavior and emotions. Text continues here. (Level 3)

                                    Results (Level 1)

Discussion (Level 1)

Limitations of the Study (Level 2)

Application of the Results (Level 2)

Conclusions and Future Prospects (Level 2)

 

 

Paper with four levels:

Use Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Example:

 

Method (Level 1)

Procedures (Level 2)

            Perceived narcissism. Text continues here. (Level 3)

            Methods of assessment. Text continues here. (Level 3)

            Self-assessment approaches. Text continues here. (Level 4)

            Group-assessment approaches. Text continues here. (Level 4)

Results (Level 1)

Discussion (Level 1)

Effects of Self-perceived Narcissism (Level 2)

Effects of Group-perceived Narcissism (Level 2)

Limitations of the Study (Level 2)

Applications of the Results (Level 2)

    Summary and Concluding Discussion (Level 1)