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)