The American Psychological Association (APA) style is a widely used citation style for writing research papers in the social sciences. One important aspect of APA style is the use of headings to organize the content of a paper and to make it easier for readers to navigate. In this essay, we will provide an example of an APA paper with headings and explain how headings are used in APA style.
An APA paper with headings typically consists of four main sections: the title page, abstract, main body, and references. Within each of these sections, headings are used to organize the content and to signal to the reader the hierarchy of information.
The title page is the first page of the paper and should include the title of the paper, the author's name, and the institutional affiliation. The title should be centered on the page and written in title case (meaning that all major words are capitalized). The author's name should be written in the upper left corner of the page, followed by the institutional affiliation on the next line.
The abstract is a summary of the main points of the paper and should be placed on the second page. The abstract should be double-spaced and should not exceed 250 words. It should be written in a single paragraph and should not contain any headings or subheadings.
The main body of the paper begins on the third page and is organized into sections and subsections using headings. In APA style, there are five levels of headings, each with its own formatting guidelines. The first level of heading, known as level 1, is the most important and should be used for the main sections of the paper. Level 1 headings should be centered on the page, written in bold, and in title case.
The second level of heading, known as level 2, is used for subheadings within the main sections of the paper. Level 2 headings should be left-aligned, written in bold, and in sentence case (meaning that only the first word is capitalized).
The third, fourth, and fifth levels of headings, known as levels 3, 4, and 5, are used for subheadings within the subheadings of the main sections. These headings should be indented, written in italics, and in sentence case.
In the example below, we have provided a sample APA paper with headings that illustrates how these headings are used.
Title: The Effects of Social Support on Mental Health
This study examined the relationship between social support and mental health in a sample of college students. Results indicated that higher levels of social support were associated with better mental health outcomes. Implications for mental health interventions are discussed.
Level 1 heading: Background
Level 2 heading: Definition of Social Support
Social support refers to the perceived availability of assistance and resources from others, including family, friends, and community members. It has been linked to a number of positive outcomes, including improved mental health (Cohen & Wills, 1985).
Level 2 heading: The Importance of Social Support for College Students
College students may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of social support due to the challenges of adjusting to a new environment and the stressors of academic demands (Schumacher, Desai, & Wampold, 2010). Therefore, understanding the relationship between social support and mental health in this population is important.
Level 1 heading: Participants
The study included a sample of 100 college students from a large university in the northeastern United States. Participants were recruited through flyers and announcements on the university's website.
Level 2 heading: Procedure