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3 Basic tips on writing a good research paper title

Sneha Kulkarni | Oct 17, 2013 | 368,338 views
3 Basic tips on writing a good research paper title

Let us discuss the most basic and important aspect of a research paper—the title. Writing a research paper title may seem a simple task, but it requires some serious thought. It might come as a surprise to most people that an author, having successfully written a detailed account of his/her research study, experiences a block while attempting to title the research paper. However, most authors, by virtue of possessing comprehensive details of the research paper, are perplexed with regard to how to make their research paper title concise without sacrificing any relevant elements.

When writing a research paper title, authors should realize that despite being repeatedly warned against it, most people do indeed fall prey to “judging a book by its cover.” This cognitive bias tends to make readers considerably susceptible to allowing the research paper title to function as the sole factor influencing their decision of whether to read or skip a particular paper. Although seeking the professional assistance of a research paper writing service could help the cause, the author of the paper stands as the best judge for setting the right tone of his/her research paper.

Readers come across research paper titles in searches through databases and reference sections of research papers. They deduce what a paper is about and its relevance to them based on the title. Considering this, it is clear that the title of your paper is the most important determinant of how many people will read it.

A good research paper title:

  • Condenses the paper’s content in a few words
  • Captures the readers’ attention
  • Differentiates the paper from other papers of the same subject area

So here are three basic tips to keep in mind while writing a title:

1] Keep it simple, brief and attractive: The primary function of a title is to provide a precise summary of the paper’s content. So keep the title brief and clear. Use active verbs instead of complex noun-based phrases, and avoid unnecessary details. Moreover, a good title for a research paper is typically around 10 to 12 words long. A lengthy title may seem unfocused and take the readers’ attention away from an important point.

Avoid: Drug XYZ has an effect of muscular contraction for an hour in snails of Achatina fulcia species

Better: Drug XYZ induces muscular contraction in Achatina fulcia snails

2] Use appropriate descriptive words: A good research paper title should contain key words used in the manuscript and should define the nature of the study. Think about terms people would use to search for your study and include them in your title.

Avoid: Effects of drug A on schizophrenia patients: study of a multicenter mixed group

Better: Psychosocial effects of drug A on schizophrenia patients: a multicenter randomized controlled trial

3] Avoid abbreviations and jargon: Known abbreviations such as AIDS, NATO, and so on can be used in the title. However, other lesser-known or specific abbreviations and jargon that would not be immediately familiar to the readers should be left out.

Avoid: MMP expression profiles cannot distinguish between normal and early osteoarthritic synovial fluid

Better: Matrix metalloproteinase protein expression profiles cannot distinguish between normal and early osteoarthritic synovial fluid

Always write down the hypothesis and then take into consideration these simple tips. This would help you in composing  the best title for your research paper. 

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