You should only number your headings if you frequently referred to or reference them in your text, e.g. “as described in section 2.3.1”. If you do not cross-reference frequently then do not number the headings. Where you do number headings, only number the top two or three levels. Do not carry the numbering down into lower levels. You do not want clumsy headings such as “ Experience reported in the literature”.

If you do number headings, make sure that you place your headings at the correct level, and that they are numbered consistently, both in terms of the actual number and in terms of how the numbers are for formatted In my experience this is often trying and very difficult. Microsoft Word has a habit of numbering paragraphs you don’t want numbered and defaulting to number formats which are not what you want or think you have set. Be very careful not to combine heading numbers assigned by Microsoft Word automatically with numbers typed in manually. As soon as you add or subtract a numbered heading they will get out of sync.

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