Monday, November 3, 2014

How to Create APA Headings and Subheadings

A frog shows her class how to divide the human brain into sections.
Plan Sections and Section Headings Based on Your Outline

Add clarity and organization to a paper by using headings and subheadings to divide your paper into smaller sections and subsections.  Headings will help create a hierarchy within the paper that mimics an outline or a table of contents.  Most importantly, headings and subheadings help a reader follow your thoughts.


APA Headings and Subheadings

There are five levels of headings explained in the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.  Examples of the five levels appear in Section 3.03 (2010).


An example of formatted APA headings and subheadings.
Use the ribbon toolbar to help you center, italicize, and create boldface type.


Additional Notes about Headings and Subheadings

Please note that an introduction does not receive a special heading, but that the title of the paper will appear in title case at the top of the first page of the body of a paper. The abstract and references pages will also have headings in the same font as the body of the paper, centered, but with no bold or italic type.


All papers start with an introduction.  Therefore, you do not need to label the introduction.


When planning your headings and subheadings, return to your outline.  Remember that headings and subheadings are hierarchical, just like your outline or a table of contents. Sections of a paper may or may not need headings and subheadings; it all depends on the complexity of the paper and your division of ideas.  The purpose of headings and subheadings is to point out the divisions of ideas to your reader to assist your reader with understanding your research and your claims.


Want to learn more about APA formatting?  Try


How to Set a Hanging Indent for an APA References Page
How to Create an APA Title Page Using Word 2010
How to Create an APA Running Head
How to Format APA Citations for "Personal Communication"



Copyright Amy Lynn Hess.  Please contact the author for permission to republish.





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