Graziano and Raulin (8th ed)Graziano & Raulin
Research Methods (8th edition)

Using Headings

Heading are used to break up the flow of the text and to organize it in such a manner that a reader can quickly identify key components. Most research reports will have several standard headings (e.g., Method, Results, Discussion, References) and subheadings as needed. 

Listed below are several levels of headings and what each looks like. Below that are the rules for when to use what levels of headings.

Levels of Headings


This is a Centered Upper- and Lowercase Heading (Level 1)

This is a Centered, Italicized, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading (Level 2)

This is an Uppercase and Lowercase Side Heading (Level 3)

This is a paragraph heading (level 4). The paragraph heading is in lowercase (except for the first letter), is in italics, and should end with a period as shown.

What Heading Levels to Use

  • If only one level of heading is needed in a report, use level 1.
  • If two levels are needed, use levels 1 and 3.
  • If three levels are needed, use levels 1, 3, and 4
  • If four levels are needed, use levels 1, 2, 3, and 4.
  • If 5 levels are needed, use all of the above, with the level 5 heading subordinating the other four levels as shown above.

Traditionally, the Method, Results, and Discussion headings are at Level 1.