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How to Create Footnotes and Headings in Your APA Style Paper by Peter Gallagher

Inside the main text of your paper, you might have to arrange sentences past the basic blocks of text. You can decide on a few options: 1) you can use footnotes to add details of a concept or idea in your paper without taking away from the text; or 2) you can use headings to organize the text into divisions, much like an outline.

1. APA STYLE FOOTNOTES

APA Style disallows using footnotes within the paper, because it is tricky for a publisher to duplicate the superscript numbers as part of the footnotes. Footnotes are informative notes cited from the primary text. To use use footnotes, put them at the end of the paper, following the References List. (Many students and teachers refer to these kinds of citations as "endnotes.") Place footnotes on a separate page with the heading "Footnotes" centered at the top of the page.

Given that APA Style permits in-text citations, you'll seldom need footnotes, except if you need to justify an item inside the text. Even so, restrict the footnote to a max of a few sentences, and never focus on more than one thought per footnote. If you need to create a more elaborate footnote, you'll need to add the material as an Appendix page or add it into the main text.

APA Style permits two kinds of footnotes: content and copyright agreement. A content footnote contains information that a reader might find distracting within the main text. It's a smart way to guide the reader to extra details. A copyright agreement footnote reveals to the reader that you have secured permission to include a formerly published long quote (more than 450 words), a table, an illustration, or a figure.

Both forms of footnotes need the similar formatting, as revealed in the next example.

Scientific breakthroughs often ignite economic expansion globally. 1

On the footnote page, indent each footnote as a new paragraph and double space throughout.

1 Jackson describes scientific breakthroughs in several ways ...

2. APA STYLE HEADINGS

APA Style permits headings to organize your paper better. Consider using headings much like setting up an outline. You may use up to five levels with headings; however, the formatting becomes confusing if you exceed three levels.

The requirements for formatting headings consist of:

FIRST LEVEL. Center the first level headings above their related text blocks. Use both uppercase and lowercase words within the heading.

SECOND LEVEL. Compose the second level heading in all italics, flush left, having both uppercase and lowercase words.

THIRD LEVEL. The appearance of the third level heading looks similar to a sentence at the beginning of a paragraph--you indent it, use all lowercase words (except for the first word or proper nouns), and end it with a period. You italicize it to differentiate it from the main text.

Follow this example for formatting the first three levels of headings:

First Level of Heading (centered)


     Main text continues as normal. (indented)

Second Level of Heading (flush left)

     Main text continues as normal. (indented)

     Third level of heading. (indented) Add the main text immediately after the third heading.


FOURTH LEVEL. If you require a fourth level heading, you need to change your former headings. You italicize and center the second level heading. The original second level and original third level now turn into the new third and fourth levels, respectively.

First Level of Heading (centered)


     Main text continues as normal. (indented)

Second Level of Heading (centered)


     Main text continues as normal. (indented)

Third Level of Heading (flush left)

     Main text continues as normal. (indented)

     Fourth level of heading. (indented) Main text should immediately follow the fourth heading.


FIFTH LEVEL. Once again, adding a fifth level involves re-doing the other levels. Starting with the first level, center and uppercase it. Every other heading shifts down one spot. The former first level heading becomes the new second level, and the others follow.

FIRST LEVEL OF HEADING (centered)


     Main text continues as normal. (indented)

Second Level of Heading (centered)


     Main text continues as normal. (indented)

Third Level of Heading (centered)


     Main text continues as normal. (indented)

Fourth Level of Heading (flush left)

     Main text continues as normal. (indented)

     Fifth level of heading. (indented) Main text should immediately follow the fifth heading.


Lastly, remember that not many APA Style papers will need more than two or three levels of headings. Generally, the only kinds of papers that require four or five levels of headings are those explaining elaborate research or experiments.

© Peter Gallagher, LousyWriter.com






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