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First level headings indicate what the following section, usually consisting of several subdivisions, is about. First-level headings are centered, bold, and all caps and are usually in larger font sizes than the other material but smaller than the title.
Second levels are centered and bold, with capitals used only for the first letter of each word. Font size may be the same as that of the rest of the report. Try to always use more than one second-level heading if you are going to use them following a first-level heading.
Third level headings are left-justified and should be bold and in the same font size as the rest of the report.
Fourth level headings are left-justified and on the same line as the first sentence in the paragraph. Use bold and the same-sized font as the remainder of the report.
Fifth level headings are in bold and are part of a sentence. These are generally the lowest level of outline you will use, but you can go further by using indention and numbering of ideas or italicizing the first word in each item of a list.
An example of these headings follows.
To see how these headings might fit into a marketing research report, first look at the Table of Contents template. The following headings should match the Table of Contents (at least to the point of the third level heading.)
Profile of the Sample
People Who Own Their Own Homes.
Home owners tend to…
Source: Portions of the above adapted from Bovée, C. and Thill, J. (2000). Business Communication Today, 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 499.