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APA Style 6th Edition: Citing Your Sources

Provide guidance on the APA format style based on the 6th edition of the APA Publication Manual.

What are headings?

Headings are used to effectively organize ideas within a study or manuscript.  It can also highlight important items, themes or topics within sections.  By creating concise headings, the reader can anticipate key points and track the development of your argument.  The heading levels establish the hierarchy of each section and are designated by their formatting.

Levels of Headings

Level Format
1 Center, Bold, Upper and Lowercase Heading
2 Flush Left, Bold, Upper and Lowercase Heading
3        Indent, bold, lowercase paragraph heading with a period at the end.
4        Indent, bold, italics, lowercase paragraph heading with a period at the end.
5        Indent, italics, lowercase paragraph heading with a period at the end.

Adapted from American Psychological Association. (2009). Format for Five Levels of Heading in APA Journals. Publication manual of the American psychological association (6th ed., p. 62) Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.



  • If you need to use subsections in any given section, use a least two, otherwise omit their use.
  • Do not label headings with numbers or letters
  • Use of title case: Use of both upper and lower case letters, all major words are capitalized
  • Lowercase paragraph heading: The first letter of the first word is capitalized, all remaining words are lowercase (unless proper name or noun).  Ex.  Living standards in the United States
  • Paragraph headings are immediately followed by text for that subsection, rather than starting on a new line.  The heading sits at the start of the first paragraph for that section.