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When writing a paper, do I use italics for all titles?

Last Updated: May 08, 2014  |  29725 Views

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Answer

Simply put: no.

How to handle titles in APA can be a bit complex.

APA's Publication Manual (2010) indicates that, in the body of your paper, you should use italics for the titles of:

  • books
  • periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers)
  • films
  • videos
  • TV shows
  • Microfilm publications (p. 104).

Beyond APA's specific examples, know that certain types of titles are almost always written in italics. 

Use italics in a word-processed document for the types of titles you'd underline if you were writing by hand.  A general rule of thumb is that within the text of a paper, italicize the title of complete works but put quotation marks around titles of parts within a complete work. 

The table below isn't comprehensive, but it's a good starting point

Titles in Italics Titles Placed in "Quotation Marks"
Title of a periodical (magazine, journal, newspaper)               Title of article in a periodical
Title of a book    Title of a chapter in a book
Title of a movie or play Name of an act or scene in a movie or a play
Title of a television or radio series    Title of an episode within a tv or radio series
Title of a musical album or CD Title of a song
Title of a long poem Title of a short poem
Names of operas or long musical composition
Names of paintings and sculptures
Title of a short story

On an APA-style reference page, the rules for titles are a little different.  In short, a title you would italicize within the body of a paper will also be italicized on a reference page.  However, a title you'd place in quotation marks within the body of the paper (such as the title of an article within a journal) will be written in normal lettering and will not be in quotation marks.

Here are some examples:

Smith (2001) research is fully described in the Journal of Higher Education.

Smith's (2001) article "College Admissions See Increase" was published in the Journal of Higher Education after his pivotal study on the admissions process.

For more information, please read what Grammar Girl and the APA Style Blog says about using italics. 

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