Headings and subheadings can help organize and structure your writing.In general, longer and more complex works warrant more of them than shorter ones.
The paper or chapter title is the first level of heading, and it must be the most prominent.
Headings should be styled in descending order of prominence.
In general, a boldface, larger font indicates prominence; a smaller font, italics, and lack of bold can be used to signal subordination.
For readability, don’t go overboard: avoid using all capital letters for headings (in some cases, small capitals may be acceptable): Note that word-processing software often has built-in heading styles.
After the first level, the other headings are subheadings—that is, they are subordinate.
Font styling and size are used to signal prominence.
Avoid overusing headings in short projects; they should never be used to compensate for poor structure or to explain an underdeveloped idea.
When headings are called for in your writing project, observe the basic guidelines below.
This article was co-authored by Michelle Golden, Ph D.
Michelle Golden is an English teacher in Athens, Georgia.