The logical organization of a research paper enhances readability and supports the author’s credibility. Each structural element bears equal importance; for instance, the title is akin to a summary of the research paper. Authors must aim to describe the essence of their study in the fewest possible words.
Importance of Choosing a Right Title
A good title helps a paper’s target audience discover the work and become familiar with its contents. It comes as no surprise that the Internet is overloaded with information, and uploading an article to specialized scientific databases does not guarantee steady readership. Search inquiries usually contain keywords designed to focus the attention of search engines such as Google. Thus, if the title of a paper contains the most searched keywords on the topic, it will ease the search on web.
Furthermore, a good title captures the reader’s attention and communicates clear expectations. To attain this goal, the title must be catchy while also sufficient to indicate the purpose of the study and research methods used. Regular Internet users are accustomed to today’s high availability of information, meaning that a reader may devote only a few seconds to assessing the value of a paper.
Criteria for Choosing a Title: Dos and Don’ts
Ideally, the title of a research paper should answer four questions:
- Does it predict the content?
- Is it interesting?
- Does it reflect the tone of the paper?
- Does it contain important keywords?
To better convey this concept, Table 1 presents four title examples.
|Title||Predicts Content?||Interesting?||Reflective of Tone?||Keywords?|
|Benefits of Listening to Live Music for Dementia Patients: A Quantitative Study||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Why Listening to Music Helps with Dementia||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Musical Healing: A Quantitative Study into the Effects of Listening to Music in Dementia Patients||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Other tips for choosing an appropriate title include:
- Minding the title length: 5-15 words is enough. Avoid extra words, jargon, and slang unless absolutely necessary.
- Making sure the essential elements are present: Musical Healing [Result]: A Quantitative Study [Method] into the Effects of Listening to Music [Topic] in Dementia Patients [Sample].
Subtitles in research papers are a common phenomenon as they can be useful in communicating specifics of the study. Some cases when a subtitle might be considered are listed below:
- When an additional context is needed;
- If the title is a quote or an idiomatic expression that needs substance and further explanation;
- If defining the geographic scope is essential;
- If the methodology is to be clarified.
Even though conducting the actual research comprises the essential part of a scientific assignment, the structure and clear organization of a paper should never be dismissed. The good title helps an article rank higher in research databases and draws more attention from readers. In choosing an appropriate title, make sure it conveys the main point, reflects the overall tone, contains keywords, and is interesting. In addition, an author should take into account the title’s length and check for the presence of all the necessary building blocks. Adding a subtitle may help to be more specific and provide essential details.