Headings represent the topic of writing in a nutshell. When you are writing any academic writing, you tend to use headings, not only for segregating distinct information, or sections but also for allowing smooth navigation of the entire write-up. Again, from the perspective of the writer, the use of headings as well as sub-heads restricts the digression from the core topic and enhances the overall clarity of the writing. On the other hand, headings help the readers to comprehend the natural flow of narrative. Moreover, readers can identify the required information, if multiple headings, sub-heads are used all through an article.
The line of distinction between ‘heading’ and ‘title’:
The art of using proper heading can only be understood if the line of distinction between ‘heading’ and ‘title’ are understood. A title is supposed to lead the entire write-up, whereas the heading highlights specific sections of shreds of information included within the writing.
The ideal length for a heading:
Remember to think concisely while selecting headings. As a writer, you need to convey the content of several sections of a write-up briefly within one line. However, the title may reflect the content of the entire writing in one or two phrases.
Various types of headings and their usage
When to use higher-level headings: When you aim to highlight a different section of your write up, you need to select ‘one word’. For instance, in case of the denoting the main body part of a write-up often ‘discussion’ is used as a heading. Such a crisp form of headings often called higher-level headings. Higher-level headings provide a general idea regarding the contents of a section, hence one word becomes sufficient for higher-level headings.
When to use lower-level headings: lower-level headings are comparatively long. Suppose you are to highlight a specific part of the discussion to reflect the information provided in that part. In this case, instead of generic terms, you need to use the more specific terms so that your readers can find the exact information. Thus for lower-level headings more specific terms are used. Generally, third headings or headings 3, which are provided for highlighting sub-sections are lower-level headings.
When to use Descriptive headings: Suppose you are representing an argument in your paper. In this case, if you start the argument without letting the readers know, the contradictory topics or elements of the argument, or without telling them that this is going to be a comparative discussion; your readers may become confused at the beginning. I order to prevent such confusion to occur you need to use descriptive headings, especially for complex discussion.
Tips to give heading correctly:
Avoid using jargons: Do not make the headings of your write-ups enigmatic, by using technical terms or jargon. A heading full of technical terms which is not known to the target audience will dilute their interest to read the entire article.
Use proper formatting: Depending on the university guideline as well as the requirement of the academic writing the proper formatting of the heading needs to be done. For instance, If you are instructed to follow MLA formatting for the entire paper you need to format your headings accordingly. Again, the format of the heading will be completely distinct in case, you are instructed to follow APA formatting. However, in the advanced version of MS Word, you will be able to find multiple format options for headings and subheads.
To sum up, putting headings correctly is an essential step for any writing. It can either create or abolish the potential impacts of the writing on the readers. Hence, develop the art of finding out correctly formatted, informative, and catchy headings by following all simple tips.