Consider a document structure like this:

1. First-Level-Heading

Some text to give an overview about what I want to tell in this chapter. In LaTeX, this heading would be produced using the \section-command.

Heading-Without-Numbering In LaTeX, this is produced using \paragraph. Here are some sentences, sometimes this text is longer and contains multiple paragraphs.

I wonder if this text still belongs to Heading-Without-Numbering or if that heading only belongs to that paragraph, as the LaTeX command suggests. If it does, how can I end the scope of that heading? If it doesn't, how can I extend it? I'd like to keep the indentation.

1.1 Second-Level-Heading

Is it okay to have the Heading-Without-Numbering at same level (2nd level) as this truly second-level heading (produced using the \subsection-command)? What if Heading-Without-Numbering was numbered, i.e. 1.0.1 Heading-Without-Numbering?

I hope my questions are clear. I'm computer scientist, so maybe I think too much like I was programming, as there the start and end of scope of classes, functions, loops, etc. has to be defined very well. I'm writing a scientific paper.

  • Are you asking about the formatting that the journal expects? This is typically specified. Will you be targeting a specific journal? And, are you looking for structure for yourself, or for the final draft of the manuscript?
    – SFWriter
    Oct 3, 2017 at 14:52
  • It's more a general question about how sections are intended to work and if it's a big deal if the scope of the sections is ambiguous. It's a thesis which will not be published in a journal or similar.
    – pasbi
    Oct 3, 2017 at 14:59
  • 1
    In biology, geology, and the like, specificity is important. From a practical perspective, just get the words on paper in a way that works for you. Writing a thesis is a slog but people that just sit down and get started, with the plan of going back and cleaning it up, seem to get through it less painfully than people that wait to write anything because they know it isn't 'there' yet. Also, most importantly, your advisor may have good tips for you here. Or a thesis from a past student you can look at.
    – SFWriter
    Oct 3, 2017 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


The normal thing to do is not to use any Heading-Without-Numbering. If you insist on doing it then everything that follows that heading will belong to the heading because it's a heading. Everything below, until you meet something of equivalent value, meaning another heading, will belong to this one.

You are right when thinking about this like the scope of for example functions. Think about it as if everytime you write a heading you are opening a bracket.

{1. This is a heading level 1

Here goes introductory text as you need at least one paragraph before you can start any subheading. This is like a class.

{1.1 This is a heading level 2

This heading belongs to the first one as is evident by the brackets. This is like a method.

}{1.2 This is a heading level 2 again

This is on the same level as before, so we close the bracket before opening a new one. This is like a second method

}{This is a heading level 2 again, but without numbering

It's still a heading. This makes this a method again.

It doesn't matter how many paragraphs, you used a heading so it will be treated like one. At least if it's visible as a heading. Your example just looks like bold text, not like a heading. You need a linebreak after a heading, you can't just continue the text on the same line.

Otherwise this is just a paragraph and thereby just one of the instructions in your method. This method for example has three paragraphs, which equals three instructions.

}}{2. This is a heading level 1 again

This represents another class, so we have to close the method and the class before.

{2.1 This is a heading level 2 in the second part

We need at least 2 sub-headings, otherwise we shouldn't start to add sub-headers.

}{2.2 This is a heading level 2 to make at least 2 sub-headings

Now we can finish the paper. At the end of your document the last class will be closed.


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