APA Format: Subheadings

We're gonna talk about formatting your subheadings according to the style guidelines of the American Psychological Association, or APA. As always, we're using the sixth edition of the APA manual--this blue one. If you don't have an APA manual, please download our APA Format handout and follow along. APA style includes five different levels of subheadings.

These headings indicate the hierarchy of information within the paper. In other words, sections and subsections. For example, let's say that your paper had methods, results, and discussion sections. These are all on the top level--Level 1. If you wanted to include participants and instruments as subsections of your methods, they would sit one level down-- Level 2. A subsection of participants, like age or race, would be a Level 3 heading, and so on all the way to Level 5. There are specific formatting requirements for each level. Level 1 is centered and bolded with all major words capitalized. Level 2 is over on the left. It's also bolded and all major words are capitalized. Level 3 is indented and bolded. The first word is capitalized and the title ends with a period. Level 4 is like 3 except it is bolded and italicized. Level 5 is like level 4 except that it's just italicized. Purple Man: I got it!

So whatever comes first is Level 1. Like my intro. Next section, Level 2. Next section, Level 3. 'Cause it comes after 2. It's the next section with the things. It goes 1, 2, 3, but the dots. I got an idea right now. This is a Level 3 idea. Clancy: No. Remember, the subheadings represent hierarchy of information, not order. If you only have Level 1 sections, you only need to use Level 1 headings. In fact, unless you're writing something super complex, you probably won't use Level 5 headings. Purple Man: Okay, so like I got introduction. That's Level 1. Clancy: Actually, you don't label your introduction.

The APA manual says that it's obvious that the introduction is the introduction because it comes first. You will, however, include your title which will be centered and not bolded. That's it. That's how you use subheadings in APA style. I'm Clancy Clawson. Stay tuned because we have more APA videos on the way.