How to Write a Running Head
Some journals or style guides require papers to have a running head. A running head is a short version of the paper title that is printed as a heading at the top of each page. If your document includes page numbers at the top, the running head can precede the page number or appear on the opposite edge of the page. In APA style, the running head is placed in the upper left.
The publisher often requests running heads for practical reasons. It is desirable to have every page clearly labeled as being part of the paper. If your paper is printed as a hard copy and the various pages fall to the floor or are mixed up, having a running head and page number on each page helps the reader to put all the pages back in the correct order. Even readers who are viewing an electronic version of the paper may appreciate the clear labels, especially if they are sorting through many documents simultaneously.
Guidelines for Writing Running Head in APA Style
The specific requirements for running heads vary.
- In general, running heads should be brief. APA guidelines require that running heads be a maximum of 50 characters (spaces count as characters).
- The running head is usually written in all capital letters . (For style purposes, the examples in this article use regular title case.)
- It is placed in a header at the top of the page . Check the journal or style guidelines for any specifics on margins, spacing, or font.
Related: Ready with your running head and looking forward to manuscript submission ? Check these journal selection guidelines now!
- In APA, the running head is introduced on the first page by the phrase “Running head” and a colon, i.e., in the following format: “Running head: SHORT VERSION OF TITLE.” Subsequent pages have only the running head itself. In other formatting styles, the running head may be introduced in this way as part of the information that appears on the title page.
How do you create a running head?
If your paper title is already within the character limit, simply use the full title as the running head—no special changes are needed. However, if your paper title is over the limit, then you need to create a distinct running head that fits within the style guidelines.
First, identify the main part of your title. For example, if the paper is called “The Effects of Running on Heart Health in Elderly Patients,” consider using only the first part, “Effects of Running on Heart Health,” or the second part, “Heart Health in Elderly Patients.” Make the choice based on which ideas and concepts are most prominent in the paper.
If it does not make sense to take part of the title to serve as the running head, try making a few tweaks or even paraphrasing the title entirely. For instance, with the title mentioned above, the running head could be “Running and Heart Health in Elderly Patients.”
Second, eliminate articles such as the words “the” and “a.” The title “Re-examining the Literary Traditions in Ancient China” can be shortened to “Re-examining Literary Traditions in Ancient China.” In this case, simply removing the word “the” from the title creates a running head that fits within the APA’s 50-character limit.
Practical tips for writing running heads in Microsoft Word
how to get a character count.
If you are typing your paper in Microsoft Word, use the “Word Count” function to count characters: To do this, highlight the running head and then go to the Review menu and click on “Word Count.” The results box will show the number of “Characters (no spaces)” and “Characters (with spaces).” Read the journal or style guidelines carefully to know which number you should look at. In APA, it is the second option that is relevant, as spaces are counted as characters.
How to add the running head as a header on each page?
Create a header by going to Insert and selecting “Header” under “Header & Footer.” A header will be created at the top of each page. Modifying the header on any page changes it on every page. If you wish to have the phrase “Running head” appear on only the first page, as required in APA style, check the option “Different first page” that appears under the Design menu when the header is inserted or edited. Checking this option allows you to edit the header on the first page independently while maintaining the headers on the second, third, and all other pages as the same.
Hume-Pratuch, Jeff. May 10, 2012. “Mysteries of the Running Head Explained.” American Psychological Association website. http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/running-heads/ (access March 13, 2017)
Lee, Chelsea. Nov. 11, 2010. “Running Head Format for APA Style Papers.” American Psychological Association website. http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2010/11/running-head-format-for-apa-style-papers-.html (access March 13, 2017)
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APA Running Head | Example + Instructions for Word & Docs
Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk .
A running head is an abbreviated version of your paper’s title. It’s placed in the page header of your document, together with a page number. The running head is only required for professional manuscripts intended for publication, not student papers (unless instructed otherwise).
An APA running head can be up to 50 characters (including spaces) and is written in all capital letters. It’s left-aligned and appears on all pages, including the title page . It’s not necessary to put the label “Running head” in front of the title (as was the case in APA 6 ).
Table of contents
Setting up the apa running head in word and google docs, abbreviating long titles for the running head.
- Microsoft Word
- Google Docs
To set up an APA running head in Word:
- Click on “Insert” > “Header” (or double click at the top of a page).
- Select the “Blank” template (left-aligned without additional formatting).
- Insert your (abbreviated) paper title in capital letters.
To insert automatic page numbering:
- Click on “Insert” > “Page number”.
- Select the top-right position.
- Check the “Show on first page” box if possible.
These steps may differ slightly depending on your version of Microsoft Word.
To set up an APA running head in Google Docs:
- Click on “Insert” > “Headers and footers” > “Header” .
- Click on “Insert” > “Page numbers” .
- Choose the option with page numbers in the top-right corner on all the pages
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If your paper title is longer than 50 characters, you need to use an abbreviated version for the running head. The APA guidelines state that:
- You don’t necessarily need to use the same words in the same order.
- You can’t use abbreviations, but you may use an ampersand (&) instead of the word “and”.
Examples: abbreviating the title
- Original title: Social Comparisons on Social Media: The Impact of Facebook on Young Women’s Body Image Concerns and Mood
- Running head: SOCIAL COMPARISONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
- Original title: Examining the Energizing Effects of Humor: The Influence of Humor on Persistence Behavior
- Running head: ENERGIZING EFFECTS OF HUMOR
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Streefkerk, R. (2020, November 06). APA Running Head | Example + Instructions for Word & Docs. Scribbr. Retrieved December 3, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/apa-running-head/
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How to Write a Running Head: A Comprehensive Guide
Academic papers adhere to specific formatting guidelines before submitting to a journal. One such formatting element is including a running head. So, let’s explore what a running head is and its significance in journal submissions.
What is a Running Head?
A running head is a concise version of the title of your paper appearing at the top of each page of the article. The use of a running head allows the reader to identify the article. It ensures the reader’s focus remains on the content. It is generally positioned flush left at the top of the page, with the page number flush right.
What is Running Head in Journal?
In a journal article, the running head includes a shorter version of the paper’s full title. The running head fulfills the abovementioned purpose and provides information about the article. This shortened version maintains consistency and avoids overcrowding the header section.
What is a Running Head on Title Page? With Example.
The title page is the first page of your paper. It includes essential information like the title, author names, affiliations, and abstract. The running head on the title page is an abbreviated form of the title, written in uppercase letters. It usually has a limit of 50 characters with spaces and punctuation marks.
If your article’s title is “The Impact of Social Media on Youth: A Comprehensive Study,” a suitable running head might be “Social Media’s Impact on Youth.”
Running Head Example for a Research Paper
Let’s see an example of an effective running head for a research paper to better understand.
For instance, if the paper title is “The Effects of Exercise on Mental Health in College Students.” The running head could be “Exercise’s Impact on Mental Health in College Students.”
A sample example of the running head is written just above the main heading.
Source: Shetty A, Rosario R, Hyder S. The impact of social media on youth. International Journal of Innovative Research in Computer and Communication Engineering. 2015;3(7):379-83.
Tips for Writing a Running Head
- Be concise: The running head should be brief yet convey the essence of your paper.
- Use title case: Capitalize the first letter of each significant word in the running head.
- Maintain consistency: It should be consistent throughout the document.
- Check the journal guidelines: Different journals may have specific requirements for running heads. So, before finalizing your running head, review the submission guidelines.
- Proofread: Double-check the running head for spelling or grammatical errors, maintaining professionalism.
Thus, a running head is a short but informative title in a journal article that appears at the top of every page. It helps readers identify the article and maintain their focus throughout the content. When writing a running head, remember to keep it concise, use upper case, and maintain consistency throughout the document. Following these guidelines, ensure your article meets the journal’s formatting requirements. It presents your research clearly and professionally.
Remember, the running head is one aspect of a well-written paper. Pay attention to other formatting guidelines to increase your chances of publication success. Good luck with your journal submissions!
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APA Title Page and Running Head
A separate title page is required for all APA Styled papers. Students should first check with their instructors regarding what is required for their title page, but typically it is: title of the paper, name of the author, course name and number, instructor name, assignment due date and page number in the top right-hand corner.
The title should summarize the main idea of your paper.
Some instructors also require students to do something called a Running Head. A Running Head is a shorted/abbreviated title that goes at the top left-hand side on all pages of the rest of your paper. If you are required to do a Running Head, you can watch this video shows you how to make one in Microsoft Word.
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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.
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Q. What is a running head in APA Style?
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Answered By: Jonathan Faerber (he/him/his) Last Updated: Jun 07, 2022 Views: 8668
APA Style (7th ed.)
Manuscripts submitted for publication contain a running head with an abbreviated version of the paper title at the top left corner of every page. Student papers only require a running head when specifically requested by instructors; otherwise, papers submitted for grading do not use a running head (American Psychological Association [APA], 2020, p. 37).
If you need to include a running head in your text, the running head should appear directly across from the page number and will be identical on every page, including the title page (APA, 2020, p. 37). The running head includes the title of the paper in all-capital letters up to a maximum of 50 characters, counting letters, punctuation, and spaces between words, for instance: TITLE OF DOCUMENT IN 50 CHARACTERS (APA, 2020, p. 37). When the title of the paper is over 50 characters, abbreviate the title in a shortened form using the most important words from the original title. For an example of how the running head appears in article manuscripts submitted for publication, please see the APA’s Annotated Professional Sample Paper .
American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000
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