APA Style uses a unique headings system to separate and classify paper sections. There are 5 heading levels in APA.
The 6th edition of the APA manual revises and simplifies previous heading guidelines - regardless of the number of levels, always use the headings in order, beginning with level 1.
The format of each level is illustrated below:
APA Headings (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 body text after the period.
- 4 : Indented, boldface, italicized, lowercase heading with a period. Begin body text after the period.
- 5 : Indented, italicized, lowercase heading with a period. Begin body text after the period.
Thus, if the article has four sections, some of which have subsections and some of which don’t, use headings depending on the level of subordination.
Section headings receive level one format. Subsections receive level two format. Subsections of subsections receive level three format. For example:
Method (Level 1)
Site of Study (Level 2)
Participant Population (Level 2)
Teachers. (Level 3)
Students. (Level 3)
Results (Level 1)
Spatial Ability (Level 2)
Test one. (Level 3)
Teachers with experience. (Level 4)
Teachers in training. (Level 4)
Test two. (Level 3)
Kinesthetic Ability (Level 2)
In APA Style, the Introduction section never gets a heading and headings are not indicated by letters or numbers. Levels of headings will depend upon the length and organization of your paper.
Regardless, always begin with level one headings and proceed to level two, etc.