The title is in fact the first thing each reader will see in your transcript and your task is to make it interesting to avoid reactions like “Oh God, this will be boring.”

In our previous blog post, “Structure of an ISI paper”, we discussed different sections of a scientific paper, including title or headline.

A title is the first thing that attracts others to read your paper. Since it is the first thing that a journal editor or a reader sees, the title should be scientifically valid and on good judgement and properly display what has been done in research. The most important feature of a title is to be attractive and make concise the main theme of a paper. It should not be long and should not include unknown acronyms.

A good and interesting title plays an important role in the acceptance of your paper by scientific journals.

In fact, the first part of an article that is of interest to the reader is the title or the heading of that article. If the topic of your research is of a trivial nature, it will certainly not please the reviewers and will be rejected.

Sometimes the topic of your research may be very interesting and new, but the title you choose for your article may not be attractive enough. In fact, the way the title of the article is written may indicate that the author is a beginner or highly skilled.

The title of the article describes the whole line of your work and its quality. Therefore, you need to be more obsessive in choosing the title of your article, so that your article will get more attention from others.

Title Types

If you study the main types of titles in a research paper, you can face many options. Three of the most common title formats are:

Interrogative: The title is phrased in the form of a question; it grabs the readers’ attention and provides enough information about the paper; interrogative titles are rarely used in scientific journals, but are acceptable for college and university papers.

Example: Does reinforcing your concentration help improve your performance?

Descriptive: The title describes the topic of your research paper without revealing the main conclusions and results. This causes curiosity in readers about the study’s conclusions and discussion sections. This type of title is not the most informative, however, it is the most widely-used format in scientific circles.

Example: Effects of Family Support on Depressed Patients.

Declarative. The title reveals the key findings or methods and results of a study within one sentence.

Example: Increasing Confidence in Adult Girls with a 3-Month Weight Loss Program.

Each of these three title types is useful in the right place, and you should choose between the types of paper titles depending on what kind of information you want to convey to the audience.

Declarative titles are generally used in research and provide the most information for readers. They are also appropriate if you want to emphasize the technical aspects of your research. Interrogative titles are less common and are suitable for literary criticism articles. But the most common type of article title in journals is descriptive titles.

In fact, a good research paper title:

  • Express the paper’s content in a few words
  • Captures the readers’ attention
  • Differentiates the paper from other papers of the same subject area
  • Is short and include the keyword near the beginning

How to Set Up a Title for a Paper?

Follow the instructions in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). This manual recommends the use of simple, concise phrases in title setup. In addition, avoid words that have little or no meaning. It is recommended because these words increase the length of the title and make it difficult to sort the title. APA recommends avoiding writing long titles for a paper; it says that your title should not be more than 12 words in length and that it should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose. Long titles are hard to remember and articles with shorter titles are often searched for and downloaded.

Sometimes you can use colon (:) to add more information to an article.

Example: Brain activation during perception of face-like stimuli: An fMRI study

You should not spell out acronyms in the title. Readers who aren't familiar with the meaning of the acronyms may simply skip it, even if your title is related to their search field.

Using satire, irony and sarcasm in the title will help you attract more readers. The problem is that these expressions may not be understood by non-native readers. In addition, if you decide to use humorous expressions instead of keywords, your article will probably be less visible when searching.

Try writing a few headlines and titles for your article so you can choose a more appropriate one by analyzing and combining them. This will improve your experience, and sometimes help you come up with a new idea.

Features of a Good Title

Readers make a hurried or impetuous decision on what to read or not read. They rely on and judge titles as the first and most important part of books, articles, blog posts, and conference. If you want to attract the attention of these readers, you should learn how to write better titles to find more success with their writing.

Your title should have the following important qualities:

1. Be Specific

Choose a topic that is limited in scope, clearly defined, and as specific as possible.

Example: How to Manage to Eat Organic Foods with Low Income

General topic: Healthy Lifestyle

2. Keep It Short, Simple, and to the Point

Be concise in writing a title. Long headlines are confusing and tedious, not displaying your skills for concise writing and can annoy readers.

Your title should be simple enough to attract the reader’s attention. Nobody likes complicated and difficult-to-understand titles. Avoid using strange words, complicated structures, and uncommon fonts when writing your title.

3. Be Accurate

When writing a title for your research paper, you should give your readers a clear idea of what they’re going to read in an essay. Never try to use misleading and untrue words which will damage the overall quality of your paper.

4. Eye-catching

Catchy titles can make or break your content. Avoid using boring titles to ensure grabbing the readers’ attention. Readers are more inclined to opt for reading content or academic papers that have interesting and eye-catching titles.

Examples: Marijuana Can Assist In Peacemaking

Technology Is Turning People into Zombies

5. Include Numbers/Lists

Including numbers in your paper title is a good way to ensure grabbing the readers’ attention. Readers like solutions that are quantifiable. The number is an important aspect of the title.

Example: 10 Tips to Write an Effective Title

6. Include keywords for SEO

You may attract human readers with your title, but what about search engines?! When you use keywords in the title, you make your research paper extremely important for getting ranked highly on Google’s search engine. 

7. Use Active Voice

If your title contains verbs, always make sure they’re in an active voice, rather than passive voice.


X Is the regression of society caused by celebrity culture?

✓ How does celebrity culture contribute to the regression of society?

8. Avoid Using Abbreviations

Aphorism, abbreviations, formulas, acronyms and new words should not be used in the title, as it will make access to that article very poor when searched by other researchers. Abbreviations are not acceptable in the title; the full term should be written in the title to ensure potential readers know exactly what you mean. The first time you use an abbreviation in your transcript, you should write the spelled-out version first and then the short form in parenthesis.

9. Use Neutral Titles

A good title is a neutral one to avoid confronting the reader with your opinion.


X Analysis of the Works of an amazing author: Mark Helprin

✓ Aesthetics in Mark Helprin's oeuvre.

X Britain is Going to the Dogs

✓Recent Developments in the British Economy

10. Using Title-Generating Tools

The last thing to have a unique headline is a tool that helps you find unique and engaging headlines by giving different ideas on a topic. Some of these tools are as follows:

  1. SEOPressor's Title Generator
  2. Coschedule's Headline Analyzer
  3. Hemingway Sharethrough
  4. Blog Title Generator - BlogAbout by Impact

You should give the keywords to these tools first, and then they can show you some interesting headlines and examples. Maybe these headlines could attract the attention of many readers to your story!

All of the above-mentioned methods are for increasing the impact of your story on your audience and attracting them and will help you write the right headline. With all of this, your creativity in writing unique titles can change all these rules, so it is highly recommended that you use your creativity to write the best title.