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Numbering A Research Paper

Use Microsoft Word's automatic Header and Page Number functions rather than inserting them into the text of your paper manually. 

To create Flush Left first page running head and page number:

  1. On your title page, the Header is in the form "Running Head: SHORT TITLE OF PAPER". Click on the "Insert" tab in the ribbon at the top of the Word program, then choose the Header tool.
  2. Choose the "Blank" style from the drop-down menu.
  3. Check the box labeled "Different First Page."
  4. In the Header space, type your first page style header "Running Head: SHORT TITLE OF PAPER"
  5. Move cursor to the end of your title. Then, with the Design Tools displayed, click the "Insert Alignment Tab"  and select the Alignment option "Right." Click OK.​
  6. Click on the Quick Parts tool and click on Field in the menu.
  7. In the Field pop-up menu, scroll down to Page and click on that.
  8. In Field Properties: Format, choose the page number style [1, 2, 3, ...] and click OK.

To create Flush Left running head and page numbers the following pages:

  1. Scroll down to the second page to repeat process for the rest of your paper.
  2. Click in header area above line; if line is not visible, double-click in space at top of page to activate header space.
  3. Enter SHORT TITLE at left. While the Header area is active, mover your cursor to the end of your title. Then, with the Design Tools displayed, click "Insert Alignment Tab" and select the Alignment option "Right." Use Quick Parts tool to create page numbers (will automatically start at “2”).

To start page numbering after title page: 

  1. In first page header area, delete page number; the second page will still be numbered "2".
  2. To start numbering on second page with number "1", click on the Insert tab, in the Headers & Footers group, click Page Number, and then click Format Page Numbers.
  3. In the Page Number Format pop-up box, choose "Start at 0" and click OK. You can also change the style of the page numbers from this menu.

See the attached file for screenshots of the process.

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us at the reference desk!


For more information about formatting papers in APA style, consult the APA Manual. A copy is located behind the reference desk.

The preferred font in APA is Times New Roman with 12-pt font size. Double-space between all text lines of the paper/manuscript. Leave margins at least 1 inch all around and on each page. Do not justify lines. 

The APA rules for "running heads" are on pages 229-230 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (§8.03):

  • a maximum of 50 characters, counting letters, punctuation, and spaces between words;
  • flush left;
  • all uppercase letters;
  • at the top of the title page and all subsequent pages;
  • do not use your name to identify each page

You can find the requirements for the Title and Byline in §§ 2.01 and 2.02 (pp. 22-23) of the APA manual. In general, the title should summarize the main idea of the paper and, if possible, with style. It should be a concise statement of the main topic.

The text formatting is detailed in §8.03; examples of a formatted manuscript are shown on pp. 41-59.

There is no one ideal strategy that can be used to organise the information of your report as this will vary and be dependent upon the information you are presenting. A logical and clear organisational strategy, however, is a key ingredient to a good report. It is important to include a consistent numbering system for the headings and subheadings, or to use the layout (indenting) of the report's headings to indicate the sections and sub-sections; for example, the following heading and subheadings have been taken the report of a university library.

1. CLIENT SERVICE SATISFACTION
 1.1 Client Feedback System
  1.1.1 Interlibrary Loans
  1.1.2 Shelf Tidiness
  1.1.3 Three Day Loans
 1.2 Materials Availability Survey
 1.3 Online help service
   
2. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
 2.1 The library system
  2.1.1 Use
  2.1.2 Maintenance
  2.1.3 Future directions
 2.2 Databases
  2.1.1 Use
  2.1.2 Access
  2.1.3 Expansion

Below is an extended example of a report structure that looks at how you might arrange the hierarchy of headings and subheadings.


The first order numbering identifies the main sections:

1. HEADING FIRST MAIN SECTION
2. HEADING SECOND MAIN SECTION
3. HEADING THIRD MAIN SECTION

A second order system of numbering is used for the subheadings or subsections that come under each of the main headings:

1. HEADING FIRST MAIN SECTION
 1.1 Second order heading
 1.2 Second order heading
 1.3 Second order heading
2. HEADING SECOND MAIN SECTION
 2.1 Second order heading
 2.2 Second order heading
 2.3 Second order heading

The sub sections may then require further sub dividing into a third order system of numbering:

1. HEADING FIRST MAIN SECTION
 1.1 Second order heading (sub-heading)
 1.2 Second order heading (sub-heading)
  1.2.1 Third order heading (sub-sub-heading)
  1.2.2 Third order heading (sub-sub-heading)
2. HEADING SECOND MAIN SECTION
 2.1 Second order heading (sub-heading)
  2.1.1 Third order heading (sub-sub-heading)
3. HEADING THIRD MAIN SECTION
 3.1 Second order heading (sub-heading)
  3.1.1 Second order heading (sub-heading)
 3.2 Second order heading (sub-heading)
  3.2.1 Third order heading (sub-sub-heading)
  3.2.2 Third order heading (sub-sub-heading)

(Adapted from Dwyer, J. (1991) The Business Communication Handbook (2nd Ed.). Sydney: Managing Business Communication.)

In general, your table of contents will only show the first two levels of headings. The headings should appear in the table of contents exactly the same way as they appear in the text of your report in terms of numbering, capitalisation, underlining etc. (Weaver & Weaver, 1977).

 



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