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

  1. Be concise: The running head should be brief yet convey the essence of your paper.
  2. Use title case: Capitalize the first letter of each significant word in the running head.
  3. Maintain consistency: It should be consistent throughout the document.
  4. Check the journal guidelines: Different journals may have specific requirements for running heads. So, before finalizing your running head, review the submission guidelines.
  5. 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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