APA Headings and Subheadings

Headings and sub-headings are useful for organizing a text. Often times readers will use them to find specific information in a quick fashion. When making a heading it is important that the author makes it stick out. This may be done by using bigger, bolder print that is usually underlined. Sub-headings may also be bigger than normal text, but are still smaller than the heading to show that they fall under the overlying category that the main header established. For example, the heading “Mammals” may have a brief description of mammals followed by the following sub-headings: Felines; and Canines. From there, different types of felines and canines may be described, but they all still fall under the category of mammal, even though they are different.


Headings and Sub-Headings
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Headings and Subheadings

Many informative texts, especially textbooks, employ the use of headings and subheadings to help organize the text for the reader. Headings and subheadings can be very helpful to the reader, because they prime the reader’s brain for what they are about to read and they help the reader find certain information in a text that might take a while to find otherwise.


Look at this example up here on the board. “Amphibians” right here is an example of a heading, and “frogs”, “salamanders”, and “newts” are examples of subheadings. Notice that “amphibians” is written in all caps and underlined, because it might be underlined or italicized in the actual text. “Frogs”, “salamanders”, and “newts” are still underlined and written largely, but not as largely as “amphibians”. They’re also not in all caps. This is because the heading to stick out the most. This is the largest, most general topic.


After “amphibians” there might be a brief introduction about amphibians, and then it’ll go into specifics about frogs, salamanders, and newts. These are all subheadings, because we’re not starting a new topic here. We’re still talking about amphibians. All of these animals right here are amphibians. That’s why we’re not starting a new heading. Instead, we’re just talking about a subheading.


We have this subheading here, it’ll talk a little bit about frogs, then a little bit about salamanders, then a little bit about newts, then it will go to the next heading which may be “mammals”. Remember to use subheadings and headings to your advantage as a reader.



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Last updated: 05/02/2018
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