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Sub Sections In An Essay

The use of headings and subheadings give the readers a general idea of what to expect from the paper and leads the flow of discussion. These elements divide and define each section of the paper. APA recommends five-level heading structure based on the level of subordination.

Table of Content

Levels

Levels indicate the hierarchy of importance and scope of each heading and subheading. The extent of using the different levels depends on the length and complexity of the paper. Usually, short papers or articles use two to three levels, but longer papers necessitate up to five levels. Level 1 encompasses a broader topic and levels 2 to 5 covers narrow to more detailed topics.

 

Level 1 Section heading

Level 2 Subsection heading

Level 3 Subsection of a subsection heading

Level 4 Subsection under a subsection of a subsection heading

Level 5 Subsection under the three subsections heading

 

Guideline

  1. No heading is needed for the first part of a paper as it is already assumed as the introduction.
  2. Headings and subheadings are not accompanied by letters or numbers.
  3. Use as many levels as required in your paper to present the most organized structure.
  4. The same level of heading or subheading should be of equal importance regardless of the number of subsections under it.
  5. Use at least two subheadings for each section and subsection, or use none.
  6. Start with level 1 through 5.
  7. Paragraph begins below levels 1 and 2, whereas for levels 3-5, the paragraph begins in line with the headings.
  8. Capitalize each word for levels 1 and 2.
  9. For levels 3-5, the headings are indented and end with a period.
  10. Only the first word is capitalized for levels 3-5.

 

To give you a clearer picture, here is the recommended format and example for the heading levels.

 

Level

Format

1

Centered, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading

    Paragraph begins below with indention just like a regular paragraph.

2

Flush Left, Boldface, Uppercase, and Lowercase Heading

Paragraph begins below with indention just like a regular paragraph.

3

     Indented, boldface, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period. Paragraph begins in line with the headings.

4

     Indented, boldface, italicized, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period. Paragraph begins in line with the headings.

5

     Indented, italicized, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period. Paragraph begins in line with the headings.

Example

 

Methods (Level 1)

Research Design (Level 2)

Paragraph begins here…

Study Site and Participant (Level 2)

Paragraph begins here…

Data Collection (Level 2)

Paragraph begins here…

Instruments. (Level 3) Paragraph begins here…

Procedures. (Level 3) Paragraph begins here…

Socio-demographic and medical history data gathering. (Level 4) Paragraph begins here…

Anthropometric and body composition assessment. (Level 4) Paragraph begins here…

Dietary assessment. (Level 4) Paragraph begins here…

Three-day food record. (Level 5) Paragraph begins here…

Semi-qualitative FFQ. (Level 5) Paragraph begins here…

 

 A Couple of Writing Tips

Writing is meant to communicate ideas and get our points across as clearly and as effective as possible. But no matter how informative your writing is, it wouldn’t be as valuable if it is incoherent. You have to write in such a way that every part of your paper will have a logical sequence and sound structure to make it comprehensive and easy to understand. There are certain ways in writing a clear and concise paper, and here are simple tips which are especially useful for scientific studies:

 

First, state your points clearly and precisely.

Second, integrate parts with relevant or similar information to avoid repetition.

Third, use an active voice.

And fourth, organize the structure of your paper.

As a writer, I think the most important among the aforementioned tips is the organization of structure. Once you have a complete picture of what you will include in your paper, everything else will follow.

APA Headings and Seriation

Summary:

APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing).

Contributors: Joshua M. Paiz, Elizabeth Angeli, Jodi Wagner, Elena Lawrick, Kristen Moore, Michael Anderson, Lars Soderlund, Allen Brizee, Russell Keck
Last Edited: 2018-01-16 12:03:43

Headings

APA Style uses a unique headings system to separate and classify paper sections. Headings are used to help guide the reader through a document. The levels are organized by levels of subordination, and each section of the paper should start with the highest level of heading. 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
  2Left-aligned, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading
  3    Indented, boldface, lowercase heading with a period.
  4    Indented, boldface, italicized, lowercase heading with a period.
  5    Indented, italicized, lowercase heading with a 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.

Seriation

APA also allows for seriation in the body text to help authors organize and present key ideas. For numbered seriation, do the following:

On the basis of four generations of usability testing on the Purdue OWL, the Purdue OWL Usability Team recommended the following:
  1. Move the navigation bar from the right to the left side of the OWL pages.
  2. Integrate branded graphics (the Writing Lab and OWL logos) into the text on the OWL homepage.
  3. Add a search box to every page of the OWL.
  4. Develop an OWL site map.
  5. Develop a three-tiered navigation system.

For lists that do not communicate hierarchical order or chronology, use bullets:

In general, participants found user-centered OWL mock up to be easier to use. What follows are samples of participants' responses:
  • "This version is easier to use."
  • "Version two seems better organized."
  • "It took me a few minutes to learn how to use this version, but after that, I felt more comfortable with it."

Authors may also use seriation for paragraph length text.

For seriation within sentences, authors may use letters:

On the basis of research conducted by the usability team, OWL staff have completed (a) the OWL site map; (b) integrating graphics with text on the OWL homepage; (c) search boxes on all OWL pages except the orange OWL resources (that is pending; we do have a search page); (d) moving the navigation bar to the left side of pages on all OWL resources except in the orange area (that is pending); (e) piloting the first phase of the three-tiered navigation system, as illustrated in the new Engagement section.

Authors may also separate points with bullet lists:

On the basis of the research conducted by the usability team, OWL staff have completed
  • the OWL site map;
  • integrating graphics with text on the OWL homepage;
  • search boxes on all OWL pages except the orange OWL resources (that is pending; we do have a search page);
  • moving the navigation bar to the left side of pages on all OWL resources except in the orange area (that is pending);
  • piloting the first phase of the three-tiered navigation system, as illustrated in the new Engagement section.