APA Style Running Heads | Journal Articles

What is a Running Head in APA Style?


First, what is APA Style?

APA is the style for documenting sources used by the American Psychological Association (APA). This form of writing research papers is used mainly in the social sciences, such as psychology, anthropology, sociology, and education in addition to other fields (Source: https://www.iup.edu/writingcenter/writing-resources/research-and-documentation/apa-style/what-is-apa.html).


There are many components of APA style. For example, the in-text citations and the reference page follow a specific format that is defined by the American Psychological Association ( https://apastyle.apa.org/). Another aspect is that papers use standard-sized paper measurements (8.5” x 11”) with 1” margins. APA Style also provides guidelines for including a running head in papers.


What is a running head?

The running head is an abbreviated version of a paper’s title, or the full version of the title when the title is short (Source: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa6_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html). For papers written as a student for a class, the running head isn’t required unless the instructor for the course requires it. The running head is included for professional papers such as those submitted to an academic journal for peer review.


Running Head in Student Papers

For the running head in an APA Style student paper, only the page number is generally included. The page number is placed in the header (top of each page) at the right side. The page number is also included on the title page unless your professor states another format.


Running Head in Professional Papers

For the running head in an APA Style professional paper, include the paper title and the page number in the header section at the top of each page. Follow these guidelines:

○ Type the running head in all capital letters (e.g., TITLE OF PAPER)

○ Keep the running head at 50 characters or less, including spaces and punctuation

○ Avoid using abbreviations, but you may use “&” instead of “and”

○ Maintain the same format for the running head on every page, including page 1

○ Do not include the phrase “Running Head” before the abbreviated title

○ Left-align the running head

○ Right-align the page number


What is the difference in the running heads for professional and student papers?

For professional papers, APA Style calls for a shortened version of the paper title in all capital letters at the left edge of the header, while the page number appears on the right edge of the header. For student papers, only the page number is included in the header, with the page number appearing at the right edge of the header on all pages.