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Reading and Outlining an Assignment

Using APA Headings to Organize Information

Use APA Headings to Organize Information Into Sections

Once you have read the assignment carefully and have picked out important information, you can begin to organize your outline using APA headings. Remember: correct APA headings are expected and graded in your assignment, so doing them correctly when you are outlining saves you time later.

Level 1 and 2 Headings

Level one headings identify a major section.  Often these are sections like Background, Context, Symptoms, or Recommendations.   When you look at a journal article, level one headings are used for the major sections of the paper.  These headings are bolded and centered in the middle of the page with title case capitalization. 

Level two headings identify a subsection of a major section.  These heading are used to organize information under a heading.  For example, Symptoms (level one) may be organized into Physiological (level two) and Psychological (level two).  These headings are bolded and flush left with title case capitalization. 

Add Details Under Each Heading

 Using the keywords and information from your assignment, add details under each heading. These can be in point form and not full sentences. This will help you organize your ideas and know where to put information when you start writing. 

 For example, if you know Physiological is a second-level heading, what information needs to go under this heading? The assignment may tell you that you need to include causes, prevalence, and symptomology.  Making these notes now will help you organize your ideas before you write.

APA Formatting

Click on this link to see the guide on Formatting APA Headings.

It is also important to note that the introduction does not have its own heading; instead, use the paper's title. See this link for an explanation. 


Watch this 10-minute video to learn how to use APA  7 headings and subheadings in your paper. 

Smart Student. (2020, November 20) Headings and subheadings tutorial: APA 7th edition format [Video]YouTube.

Watch this 4-minute video about structuring and adding details to your outline.

Scribbr. (2021, January 8.) How to create a clearly structured essay outline [Video]. YouTube.