In APA Style, there are five levels of heading. Level 1 is the most important or highest level of heading. Level 2 is a subsection of Level 1, and so on through Levels 4 and 5. The title page should include a short description of the contents along with a list of chapters and sections.
Level 1 headings are used to define concepts or topics within the text. They are usually written in large, bold type and often provide a brief definition of the topic. These headings can be applied to each chapter or section of the book to help readers navigate easily through the material.
Level 2 headings serve to organize ideas within the chapter or section they are used in. They are written in smaller type than level 1 headings and use paragraph formatting. These headings are also known as chapter titles or section titles.
Level 3 headings are applicable to multiple chapters or sections of the book. They are not meant to give an overview of the content but rather provide more detail for certain topics. Level 3 headings are usually written in even smaller type than level 2 headings. These headings are also used to introduce major topics or themes throughout the book. For example, a level 3 heading might be used to indicate where different aspects of the business relationship are discussed throughout the book.
Heading Levels in APA Style, 7th Edition The APA style uses five levels of headers to arrange a manuscript. Each new major section should begin with a level 1 header. Each extra header denotes a subpart within a section or subsection. Manuscripts are usually divided into sections called chapters. A chapter may have any number of subsections called parts. A part may have any number of paragraphs called sentences.
Level 1 headings are used as a guide for readers to find information in the text. They are not meant to be read by themselves. Some examples of appropriate level 1 headings are BACKGROUND, AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY, ORGANIZATION SUMMARY, etc.
At the beginning of each new significant section or topic, the author should create a new level 1 heading. For example, if the topic of the paper is "Marxism," then the first sentence of the paper would be given a level 1 heading of "MARXISM." Every subsequent sentence would receive a level 1 heading based on what it describes. In this case, the other topics discussed in the paper could be given level 1 headings such as "HISTORY" or "EVIDENCE." Or, the subject matter within each sentence could be made into its own subheading such as "As Marxism Is the Main Topic of the Paper, It Should Appear First."
To divide and define document parts, APA Style employs a distinct heading system. Headings are used to assist the reader navigate a document. Levels of subordination are used to order the levels, and each part of the article should begin with the highest level of heading. For example, the opening paragraph of an article would be preceded by a main heading, and the first sentence would be preceded by a sub-heading.
There are three basic types of headings: chapter, section, and sub-section. Chapter headings are used at the beginning of most chapters. They provide a general overview of the material that follows and can be used to organize related information under different topics or subjects. Section headings are used within chapters to help identify specific topics or issues being discussed. They are also useful for separating major sections of the book into discrete units for which they serve as good titles. Sub-section headings are used within sections to identify points being made or materials that belong together for a particular reason.
They not only inform the reader on the content, but also about its position within a hierarchy. The APA Publication Manual (section 3.03, pp. 62–63; also see sample papers) recommends up to five levels of heading in a document, while most works will only require two, three, or four. Five is considered sufficient for documents that are technical in nature or have extensive reference lists.
The number of levels of headings should be limited by what can be read comfortably. If you need to skip sections because they are too difficult to follow, then more levels are needed. It is also important to keep in mind that readers use headings to find things so giving them too many options may confuse them.
There are several tools available online that can help with the process of creating appropriate levels of heading for your work. The APA Publication Manual contains an example table of contents for a research paper and suggests how many levels of heading should be used in a document based on its length. This article from WriteWords.com includes some additional suggestions for levels of heading.
It's recommended to start with a simple outline with only two levels of heading and add more as necessary.
Regardless, always start with level one headlines and work your way up to level two, and so on. Headings
|3||Flush Left, Boldface Italic, Title Case Heading Text starts a new paragraph.|
|4||Indented, Boldface Title Case Heading Ending With a Period. Paragraph text continues on the same line as the same paragraph.|
Despite the APA style handbook, level 1 headers are usually utilized, with centered upper- and lower-case headings that are commonly set in all capitals. Level 2: centered, italicized, upper- and lower-case header, rarely used (only when 4 or 5 levels are necessary). For example: "Thus, research has shown that..."
Level 3 and higher are only used in technical documents, such as patents. The first line of the patent application is often called the Abstract. It should be written in sentence form and should not exceed 200 words. Below the abstract, the full text of the patent follows.
The title page of a book or journal article consists of a front matter section containing a cover page, copyright information, etc., followed by the main body of the book or article. The back matter includes references, index, bibliography, glossary, appendices.
Books and articles published before 1964 were usually given three titles: author's last name, year of publication, title. For example, Johnson 1963 presented studies on the effectiveness of psychotherapy for depression. Recently published books and journals are most frequently cited by title alone, with authors' names included only if they are different from the title writer. For example, an article titled "The effects of massage on pain perception" would be cited in the literature as Massengill 1983.