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How to Write a Good Research Paper Title

Written by David Santana
Posted: January 11, 2022
Last update date: March 22, 2024
9 min read

While working on a scientific academic paper, writing a good research paper title is probably the least of your concerns. However, it becomes an “issue” down the drain when it comes to combining all the necessary elements of a great-sounding title in one heading.

The PapersOwl team wanted to help you figure it out, so we’ve created this guide on writing a catchy, topic-relevant title. Here’s what you’ll learn after going through this guide:

  • We will delve into the essential attributes that make a research paper title effective and attention-grabbing, helping you understand what constitutes a good title.
  • Give you practical tips on how to optimize your research paper heading in alignment with established academic guidelines.
  • We will walk you through a process outlining the steps you should take to create a heading.
  • Real-world examples of research paper headings will show how you can successfully encapsulate the essence of their respective papers.
  • Here, you will find strategies and considerations for phrasing your paper title to resonate with a specific research discipline.

Let’s take it one step at a time, so we’ll dive into the elements of a great heading to show you what your heading should sound like first.

Characteristics of a Good Title

To write a perfect research paper title, you’ll need to know about the different types of headings first:

  • Interrogative
  • Suggestive
  • Humorous or colloquial
  • Combined

The key point for all these types is to make a catchy title that captures the tone and the essence of the topic with relevant keywords. If you decide to name a research paper with the interrogative approach, you can use the phrasing of a question-type heading to entice the readers to look for an answer.

Suggestive headings are a bit different as they indicate that a reader will have to keep reading to get an answer to the outlined thesis, only without phrasing it as a question. This is where things get interesting and start depending on the topic more because a humorous or colloquial title can’t always be used.

You should use these only if the title of the research topic allows it to be phrased in a common language and colloquial. Finally, the combined approach takes something from all these types and often makes the best option for general topics. You can take a look at our list to see what we mean by these characteristics:

Research paper title Examples Predicts content? Interesting? Reflects tone? Contains important keywords?
Advantages of Meditation for Teachers: A Statistical Observation Yes No No Yes
Why Mindful Teachers Have the Best Education Results No Yes Yes No
Meditation Studying for Teachers No Yes No No
Teachers on the Move: A Quantitative Report on How Meditation Can Improve Teacher Performance Yes Yes Yes Yes

Tips for Crafting the Perfect Title

If you are wondering about how to write a title for a research paper, you’ll find a lot of common knowledge tips for writing research paper titles. You may hear that it needs to be on-point, short, yet catchy and that it has to be interesting enough without compromising on keywords.

We also recommend that you keep in mind the formatting guidelines, including the APA format or another requested format. Still, we think it’s better to give you a more detailed set of tips to follow, so here’s our list of the most useful steps to take:

Start with a Working Title

The first tip we’ll give you is not to waste too much time wondering how to title a research paper. You should start with a working title that can be edited, revised and changed afterward.

Make sure to finish writing your paper first, and only then can you truly dedicate your time to creating a perfect title. By that time, you’ll already get a few ideas along the way, so try to think about how each new chapter may contribute as inspiration for the final title of the research project.

Prioritize Important Terms

It’s no secret that good research paper tiles simply need to include important and relevant terms in the paper. Since you won’t be able to make it a mile-long heading, it’s important to start with those terms first and try to build the rest around them.

We recommend writing down a few key terms for your research and topic in the heading first and then brainstorming ideas on how to make it sound catchy and fill up the gaps afterward.

Use Active Verbs

If you look at the good research paper title examples, you’ll notice a common denominator. Most of these headings have active verbs, which means you shouldn’t use verbs like “Study on” or “Analysis of”.

Instead, you can use active verbs like “Evaluating”, “Examining”, “Establishing”, “Interpreting”, and so on.

Avoid Clickbait Techniques

One of the most important things is not to make the title of the research paper sound like clickbait. Sure, it’s important to make it sound catchy and enticing, but avoid using the same format as clickbait news or journals.

The biggest difference between these two types of headings is that clickbait often doesn’t contain that much information on what seems to be the key thesis of the topic. It only serves to attract more readers and clicks.

However, your scientific paper’s title has to be on point with relevant topic keywords.

Keep It Short But Informative

This one is worth its weight in gold since there’s usually a certain word count limit for the research paper title. It may not be enforced strictly, but it’s still important to make the title short and concise to avoid topic confusion for the readers.

You can aim for around 10 to 12 words, just like with our example of a good title listed in the table above. Make sure to use a few relevant terms about your research first, and then fill in the gaps to create a title.

Limit Vague Statements

As we dive into the research paper title format more and more, you’ll notice that some titles feature vague statements. These are among the worst mistakes you can make, even though it initially may seem like vague titles are more enticing.

In reality, these are not news articles, so you’ll have to make a title catchy in another way and keep the heading specifically related to your research.

Mention the Study Design

If you have enough room in your title, you can also mention the study design. This means you can lay out a few details about the nature of your research methodology or variables used to explain certain scientific occurrences.

There’s no need to overdo it; you can simply create a catchy title and add something like “Using the (method name) method”, so it reveals something topic-related and represents your research.

Avoid Abbreviations

When coming up with the research paper name, it’s crucial to avoid abbreviations. Of course, this doesn’t reflect on the measurement units or similar pieces of data, but it’s better to steer away from these titles for research papers altogether.

Things can get a bit complex here since abbreviations may not be considered wrong if previously defined, but that would also consume too much space. So, make it simple and avoid using any acronyms or abbreviations within the title itself, but rather in the content sections.

Check for Similiar Titles

Sadly, this happens a lot more often than you would imagine, especially if you are a student working on research that’s commonly used as a subject. You may run into a problem if previous generations of students have used too similar or possibly even the same titles.

So, it’s best to check all this beforehand, and it goes the same way for scientific studies outside the academic frame. Also, when looking for custom research papers for sale, it’s important to make sure that the headings aren’t copied in any way.

Don’t Be Too Technical and Forgetting Your Audience

Finally, we have to encourage you to always keep in mind the tone of your research when naming a research paper. If the tone allows, you can get into the technical details, but make sure not to overdo it if that doesn’t suit the tone of the paper.

Try to think about the audience and who will read the research. This is the best way to not only create catchy research paper titles but also to ensure the use of the right voice. It’s also important to use the right style, depending on whether you are required to use the MLA guidelines or another format.

Examples of Research Paper Titles

After going through the technicalities, it’s time to give you a sample of title headings to show you what we mean in practice. We’ll also be giving you good and bad research title examples with a focus on the mentioned tips and steps for crafting a great title.

Good and Bad Titles for a Research Paper

We know it’s difficult to come up with a title for a research paper at first, but looking at the examples might help differentiate between good titles for research papers and bad ones. For instance, differentiating between vague and solid titles gets easier when you look at these few examples:

Vague: “A Study On Birds”

Improved: “Analyzing Migration Patterns of North American Sparrows”

Here’s another example of a vague title – “A Study on Facebook,” so you can see it’s pretty vague and short. An improved version would be “The Effects of Social Media on Psychological Health and Well-Being.”

It also comes in handy to differentiate between overly technical titles and acceptable titles with a glimpse of technical details. For example, the title “The Effect of 2,4-Dinitrophenol on ATP Synthase Activity in Mitochondria” can be simplified for wider audiences if needed.

You can use something like “Understanding the Impact of 2,4-Dinitrophenol on Cellular Energy Production” to make the title a bit catchier and acceptable for a wider audience.

How to Title Research Paper in Your Field

If you are still having some doubts even after going through all these tips, we completely get you. It’s not so easy to form a title for a research paper in practice, so we’ll put some of our skills to use to give you a few creative examples to lean on when figuring out your heading:

Titles for psychology research papers:

  1. Natural Methods For Fighting Stress Quickly and Effectively
  2. How to Make People Do What You Want: 5 Most Effective Methods
  3. A Full Guide on How Not to Be Influenced by Society
  4. Correlation Between Aggressive Adult Behaviour And An Unhappy Childhood
  5. How to Change Your Attitude to Life: Natural Methods That Really Work

Education and related topics:

  1. How to Get As and Work at the Same Time: Time-Management Tips for Students
  2. A Guide on How to Craft a Good Essay if You Have Only 1 Hour
  3. You Mean Nothing to Society if You Don’t Have a Degree
  4. Steps that Should be Taken to Improve the System of Education
  5. Great Tricks for Motivating Students

Heading examples for business papers:

  1. How to Start Your Own Business Without a Large Investment
  2. Benefits of Being Self-Employed You Have Never Thought Of
  3. 10 Great Business Ideas for Those Who Have No Money
  4. The Most Common Mistakes Beginning Businessmen Do
  5. The Secret Behind a Successful Business

Ideas for papers from the technology sphere:

  1. The Greatest Innovations in Technology in the Last 5 Years
  2. The Most Useful Technologies in Medicine
  3. Original Technologies that Will Change the Future
  4. The Role of Information Technology in Everyday Life
  5. The Benefits of Living in a Highly-Technological World

You can also rely on a research paper proofreading service to help out with some minor details that could make a change both for the title and the paper itself.

If you are facing issues with the research paper title ideas, we recommend that you save it for last and finish your work first before crafting a title.

This usually helps as you’ll have more inspiration after you’ve gone in-depth with the topic, and the heading may come naturally to you. If not, you can always refer to the PapersOwl team and have it crafted by our experts.

Our Take on Crafting Research Paper Titles

To summarize, everyone can tell you how it is to make a title for a research paper by making it sound catchy and topic-relevant. However, we have outlined all the necessary details in-depth through this guide so you can truly craft an admirable title for a research project.

The key is to know your audience, avoid vague titles and short word forms, and keep an active voice with a focus on relevant terms. So, we hope that this guide will serve as a pathway toward a perfect scientific title for your project.

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