Here are some helpful rules when deciding on how many
kinds of heading you should use in writing psychology papers:
Headings are tools --they enable you to communicate easily
with your reader.
Each level of heading (1 to 5) tells something about the content under the
heading and levels of detail. A reader should be able to see how your paper
is organized just by scanning the content AND noting the LEVELS of
headings. Only the highest order information (almost like a chapter title)
is presented under level (1) headings. The subordination of headings
(i.e., which levels are used below which) IS the paper's outline.
If you can make an outline of your paper, the levels of the outline will
correspond to the heading levels in the paper. Note: this is not used in
prose writing, only in technical writing.
Do not use more heading levels than absolutely necessary
paper topic. We do not use headings just because they are available;
use what best communicates the organization of your paper. Although
you need not use all headings make sure that the headings you do use
are not at widely discrepant levels (e.g., do not only use 1 and 5).
Also note that since your papers are not empirical studies (unlike the Journal
Club articles you read) there is no need to include headings called
Method, Procedure, Results, etc. in your paper! The content and
level of heading depends entirely on your specific paper --what may
work for one person will not work for another.
NEVER include numbers when using a heading;
numbers are used here for reference only.
(Also note that underline is the equivalent of italics when
set in printed type. With modern printers we can use italics directly.)
You need look no further for examples of how to use headings
than your own readings for this course!
(4) Flush Left, Underlined, Uppercase and Lowercase Side Heading
This is a very useful heading level. Many papers can get away with just levels (2) and (4).
lowercase paragraph heading, ending with a period.The
text starts immediately after the period; normal paragraph divisions continue
thereafter. This level is used only if higher order levels have been used
(e.g., 3 and 4).
This level, (5), is especially useful whenever there are
number of short
descriptive paragraphs such as would be the case if one were describing
a number of measures (e.g., Self-report, DAS, BDI, Observational, MICS, KPI).
Levels of Headings; Publication Manual Fourth Edition (1994) p. 90
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