The first thing we see when we are about to read something is surely a title. It seems to be obvious that the title is supposed to attract your readers, engage them and definitely not discourage them from reading the whole piece. But when we think about the importance of a title we mostly imagine readers who already have your article in front of them and even if the title didn’t attract them that much, the very topic might be too of a big importance for them to leave it and move to something else. What we might underestimate in writing is that a well-crafted title increases the chances of your article to be found in the first place. In a world where new content is appearing every second, a skill to draw your audience’s attention is a must. Just do not overuse clickbait titles.
Speaking of academic articles, the impact of titles on articles searchability and success is also big. The number of articles to read will always surpass the time researchers have. So well-written titles help the audience find a relevant paper and continue examining it for their research. As a result, your paper gets noticed and cited by other researchers which adds value to your work. Isn’t it your goal after all?
Yet, writing compelling titles is a skill and not just an inherited talent. As any skill, it requires polishing. If you do not have enough time to dive deeper in this topic or you simply feel that you need help, no worries. Be sure to address professional paper writers who know not only how to write an interesting paper, but also know exactly how to increase its search ability.
Before writing any research paper or a scientific article, check the instructions/rules the journal, to which you are going to apply this paper, has. They might have specific requirements in regards to style, number of words, etc. For some researchers it works to write the whole paper first and then at the end to come back to the title. But on the other hand, a perfectly written title will keep your thoughts in the right direction. So it’s up to you, but be sure to follow the journal’s requirements.
What should be in your title
Except for making your title simply interesting, appealing, it should be at the same time direct (not misleading), and informative. It should reveal enough details to excite readers, to make them want to read the abstract and then the whole article. Keep in mind while writing that search engines in databases/journal’s websites show articles in the search results according to the keywords the users typed in the search bar. So you need to think as a future reader of your article.
The words you use in the title should be arranged by the relevance to the article’s topic. Remember that in most search results (like in Google) only the first couple of words in your title will be seen, so due to that you’d better write important words at the beginning and keep titles in general not too long. Writing very short titles is also not a very good idea since they are vague and readers might skip the paper if they feel it is irrelevant. Moreover, try to avoid abbreviations (except for commonly used ones) and too specific technical terms.
Avoid too poetic or hilarious titles. They might be helpful for articles for some media, but for academia they are not appropriate. Readers judge the whole article by its title in a couple of seconds, so they won’t waste time by trying to figure out what your paper is about in fact.
We in academia tend to classify things. The same applies to the titles. Broadly speaking, they could be classified as descriptive, interrogative, and declarative. Descriptive titles just speak about the topic of the research without telling the conclusions. They include the relevant keywords and explain clearly what the work is about. Declarative titles, on the contrary, reveal the results of the research and your readers will less likely proceed to reading the whole article which is why such titles are not the best option to go with. As for the interrogative titles, they are just questions to which you answer in the text. It is also better to avoid such titles, especially if your article doesn’t answer the question fully.
To sum up, here are some of the key moments you need to bear in mind when writing a title:
- Be sure your title is direct, precise and unambiguous. Check titles of other articles published in that journal, sense the style, and follow the journal’s requirements on word count.
- Figure out who your audience is. Keep in mind who you are writing for and include appropriate keywords that would be helpful for the researchers of a specific field to pick your article out of a hundred others.
- Attract readers. Reveal enough information on your paper so that your readers would want to keep reading.
- Double-check the keywords you chose. Due to them your paper becomes visible.
- Write only the first word in your title with a capital letter. Titles in academic texts are written in sentence case. Use the same font and size as in the whole text.
- Avoid interrogative and declarative titles. They could be more creative, but they won’t result in more citations.
- Do not lie in the title. Be honest about the topic and do not try to attract the audience at any cost.
- Avoid clichés and meaningless phrases. They won’t help you stand out.
Articles’ or research papers’ titles are usually followed by abstracts which are also extremely important. Be sure to make the transition from the title to the abstract smooth and yet exciting enough to lead your readers to the end.
To write a perfect title and abstract is definitely a challenging task let alone to complete the rest of the scientific article/paper, but it is worth all the effort as in the result your work will have all the chances to be read and cited.