When you are searching for a research study on a particular topic, you probably notice that articles with interesting, descriptive research titles draw you in. By contrast, research paper titles that are not descriptive are usually passed over, even though they may be good research papers with interesting contents. This shows the importance of coming up with a good research paper title when you are drafting your own manuscript.
Why do Research Titles Matter?
Before we look at the characteristics of a good research title, let’s look at an example that illustrates why a good research paper should have a strong title.
Imagine that you are researching meditation and nursing, and you want to find out if any studies have shown that meditation makes nurses better communicators. You conduct a keyword search using the keywords “nursing”, “communication”, and “meditation.” You come up with results that have the following titles:
- Benefits of Meditation for the Nursing Profession: A Quantitative Investigation
- Why Mindful Nurses Make the Best Communicators
- Meditation Gurus
- Nurses on the Move: A Quantitative Report on How Meditation Can Improve Nurse Performance
Related: Ready with your title and looking forward to manuscript submission? Check these journal selection guidelines now! (Infographic)
All four of these titles may describe very similar studies—they could even be titles for the same study! As you can see, they give very different impressions.
- Title 1 describes the topic and the method of the study but is not particularly catchy.
- Title 2 partly describes the topic, but does not give any information about the method of the study—it could simply be a theoretical or opinion piece.
- Title 3 is somewhat catchier but gives almost no information at all about the article.
- Title 4 begins with a catchy main title and is followed by a subtitle that gives information about the content and method of the study.
As we will see, Title 4 has all the characteristics of a good research title.
Characteristics of a Good Research Title
According to rhetoric scholars Hairston and Keene, making a good title involves ensuring that the research title accomplishes four goals. First, a good title predicts the content of the research paper. Second, a good title should be interesting to the reader. Third, it should reflect the tone of the writing. Fourth and finally, it should contain important keywords that will make it easier to be located during a keyword search.
Let’s return to the examples in the previous section to see if they meet these four criteria.
|Title||Predicts content?||Interesting?||Reflects tone?||Important keywords?|
|Benefits of Meditation for the Nursing Profession: A Quantitative Investigation||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Why Mindful Nurses Make the Best Communicators||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Nurses on the Move: A Quantitative Report on How Meditation Can Improve Nurse Performance||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
As you can see in the table above, only one of the four example titles fulfills all of the criteria of a suitable research paper title.
Tips for Writing an Effective Research Paper Title
When writing a title in research, you can use the four criteria listed above as a guide. Here are a few other tips you can use to make sure your title will be part of the recipe for an effective research paper:
- Make sure your research title describes (a) the topic, (b) the method, (c) the sample, and (d) the results of your study. You can use the following formula:
[Result]: A [method] study of [topic] among [sample]
Example: Meditation makes nurses perform better: a qualitative study of mindfulness meditation among German nursing students
- Avoid unnecessary words and jargons. You want a title that will be comprehensible even to people who are not experts in your field. For a detailed list of things to avoid when writing an effective research title, check the article here.
- Make sure your title is between 5 and 15 words in length.
- If you are writing a title for a university assignment or for a particular academic journal, verify that your title conforms to the standards and requirements for that outlet. For example, many journals require that titles fall under a character limit, including spaces. Many universities require that titles take a very specific form, limiting your creativity.
Resources for Further Reading
In addition to the tips above, there are many resources online that you can use to help write your research title. Here is a list of links that you may find useful as you work on creating an excellent research title:
- The University of Southern California has a guide specific to social science research papers: http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/title
- The Journal of European Psychology Students has a blog article focusing on APA-compliant research paper titles: http://blog.efpsa.org/2012/09/01/how-to-write-a-good-title-for-journal-articles/
- This article by Kristen Hamlin contains a step-by-step approach to writing titles: http://classroom.synonym.com/choose-title-research-paper-4332.html
Are there any tips or tricks you find useful in crafting research titles? Which tip did you find most useful in this article? Leave a comment to let us know!
- Hairston, M., & Keene, M. 2003. Successfulwriting. 5th ed. New York: Norton.
- University of Southern California. 2017. Organizing your social sciences research paper: choosing a title. [Online] Available at: http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/title
Comments are closed for this post.
10 Great Sample Titles For A Term Paper: Vital Suggestions
Writing a term paper must be done well, or the student will get a lower grade in the class. In many classes, a term paper will make up the majority of the student's grade. To get started on this writing assignment, students need to use an interesting topic. If the student is interested in the paper, it will make the writing and researching process much easier. In addition, the teacher is more likely to be interested in the topic.
Preparing for Writing Success
With a final exam, the student can only start studying after they have learned the information. When the student is working on an essay, they can begin earlier. If final papers are finished early, the student has extra time to focus on their other subjects. As soon as the project is assigned, the student should begin working on it. They should pick a topic that they already know fairly well because it will make the researching process easier.
In addition to picking a familiar topic, students should create milestones for their project. They should pick goal dates for completing research, finishing the outline, writing the document and editing everything. To stay on top of the project, the student may want to set a specific word count that they will write each day. During the research process, they can set a goal of one or two hours of research time each day. By doing this, students can make sure that they finish the essay on time.
- Educational and Professional Outcomes for Students Who Choose to Do Online Learning Rather Than Traditional Schooling
- Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Should Government Require Major Corporations Hire a Proportionate Number of Women for Top Offices?
- Beginning a Nuclear War: Are Nuclear Weapons More Likely to Contribute to Mass Destruction or Deter War?
- Protecting Fido: Legal Limitations and Future Rules Regarding Animals in Scientific Research Settings
- The Sky Is Falling! How Man Has Brought About His Own Destruction by Devastating the Environment?
- Sentenced to Death: How the Death Penalty Has Not Only Failed to Deter Crime—It Has Also Cost the Tax Payer Dearly
- Redistribution: The Benefits of Sharing Wealth Between Nations Instead of Between Citizens
- Building a Society: How Agricultural Production Increases Led to the Formation of Ancient Sumer and Early Scientific Progress
- Paying for Performance: Why Celebrities and Professional Athletes Should Be Paid Less than the United States President
- Co-ed Schooling: How a “Step Forward” Actually Limited Educational Gains for Students
What we help with
- Midterm projects
- Research papers
- Topic selection
- Outline structure
- Fighting plagiarism
Welcome to OpenScrolls.org - the best free academic resource for college students. We will teach you how to write impeccable introductions and conclusions for your term papers as well as show you how to conduct research for your term papers.
Every year the amount of students who hire best thesis writers online increases because they have no where else to turn when they are struggling to complete their term papers. Whether they have left it until the last minute and need a quick solution for getting it done before the deadline or if they need someone to help them improve their GPA for the semester, these services can come in quite handy. There is no need to pay hundreds of dollars to custom writing services - we provide all the help you need free of charge.