What all to Consider while Choosing a Research Paper Title

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Every part of a research paper is expected to be prepared carefully. That includes the research paper title. In fact the title of your research paper plays an important role in generating interest in your audience. Even though it is one of the shortest parts of the assignment, it is very powerful and important. There are very few rules on how a title should look. But there are certain aspects which evidently makes the title look interesting.

The title is the most prominent part of any book or document. Interesting titles always draw attention. When your research paper is one of the many submissions, there should be something interesting about it to get your professor’s attention. A good title can create a positive impression about the content and make the audience feel that the coming discussion would be interesting. If the title is vague and irrelevant, it can create a negative impression about your document and shut the minds of your readers to the content. Hence, a research paper title is as important as the rest of the research paper.

A title serves the purpose of giving the reader an indication of the content of the document. When it comes to research papers, it is supposed to indicate the topic and theory which is projected in the paper. But do not be mistaken that the thesis statement or the thesis itself can take the place of a title. The title should not look anything like your thesis. But it should clearly connect to the matter discussed. Your audience should not have to wonder what the title has got to do with the content matter of the research paper.

A title is not a complete sentence. It is a phrase, preferably short; which consists of around five to eight words. There are also long titles but it is more suitable for books and articles than an academic document. You can give a long sub-title if you wish but your title is best when kept to a maximum of 5 words, unless your assignment guidelines have specifically asked for a long title. While picking words for your research paper title, look for powerful words which will be informative enough about the content matter of your research paper.

Avoid irrelevant and unnecessary words in your title. For example, the most commonly used expression “a detailed study of…” is unnecessary in a research paper title. A research can be nothing but a detailed study. Whether the title includes the word or not, the reader would know that it is a detailed study of the topic. Hence avoid it. Try not to make your title interrogative. Make sure of the fact that the contents of your research paper matches with your title. The best way to accomplish this is to choose the title after you have completed your research paper. That will enable you to find one that brings out the essence of your assignment.

An incomplete sentence or a phrase which makes complete sense of the content is a good research paper title. An interesting title is an easy way to capture the attention of the audience. Do not keep the job of choosing the title for the last minute. A hastily chosen title is, more than often, vague and unimpressive.

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