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The Benefits and Tips for Using Headings & Sub Headings in a Research Paper

Category : Research
Date : November 23, 2015

Before I start to elucidate on the importance of headings and subheadings, if you want to know it through experience, try this test on a reader who does not know much about your subject and would read with no preconceptions. Get your draft read by him or her and ask him to sequence out the headings for you in a chart. You would have done a good job if the reader does a correct job.

The main objective of well-placed headings is that the reader is able to get a bird’s eye view of the entire document by just reading the headings. Most of the time the readers, even the best of academicians get onto reading the full paper after they get interested by the title first and then the abstract and the content of the paper. If they find all these things appealing and promising, then only do they go towards reading the complete document. This is the reason that it becomes important to pay attention to the format headings. Sometimes the journals give their own specifications about the format of the headings. The most commonly sought after format by journals is the IMRaD (Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results and Discussion). This is for the first level heading and second and third level headings further discuss the scope at each required level.

For those researchers who think that such kind formatting isn’t of much use then know that headings are a very great source of information. The hierarch of taxonomy that is followed by the writer gets to give some familiarity to the reader of an unfamiliar zone.

Here I will discuss with you some tips on how to make effective headings and subheadings:

  1. Write your heading as a question: A question always helps to draw the reader into the text, but at the same time know that the first few lines of your content should be the answer to the question that you have posed
  2. Keep it uncomplicated: A specific and simple heading does not averse the reader from further reading, it does not scare or fear them from reading on
  3. Have a simple formatting: for easy comprehension, the heading should not have jumbled up formatted headings. It is important to know that over decoration of your content slows down the reader and distracts him.
  4. Use headings and sub headings for organising information: Using them would help to reach a wider audience as the reader is quickly able to know what comes next.

So now don’t take the creation of headings and sub headings lightly, rather create effective ones.


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