The title summarizes the main idea or ideas of your study. A good title contains as few words as possible that adequately describe the content and/or purpose of your research paper.

The title is, without a doubt, the part of a work that is read the most, and is usually the first to be read. If the title is too long, it usually contains too many unnecessary words, for example, “A study to investigate the….”. On the other hand, a title that is too short usually uses words that are too general. For example, “African Politics” might be the title of a book, but it does not provide any information about the focus of a research paper.

A Research Paper must have a Solid Degree

Before we look at how to title a research paper, let’s look at a research title example that illustrates why a good research paper should have a solid degree.

Imagine you’re researching meditation and nursing, and you want to find out if any studies have shown that meditation makes nurses better communicators. You perform a search with the keywords “nursing”, “communication” and “meditation”. Results appear with the following titles:

Benefits of Meditation for the Nursing Profession: A Quantitative Research

Why Conscious Nurses Are the Best Communicators

Meditation Gurus

Nurses on the Move: A Quantitative Report on How Meditation Can Improve Nurses’ Performance

All four titles can describe very similar studies, they could even be titles from the same study! As you can see, they give very different impressions.

Title 1 describes the subject and method of the study, but is not especially striking.

Title 2 partially describes the topic, but does not give any information about the study method; it could simply be a theoretical or opinion article.

Title 3 is somewhat more attractive, but gives almost no information about the article.

Title 4 begins with a catchy main title and is followed by a subtitle that gives information about the content and method of the study.

As we will see, title 4 has all the characteristics of a good research degree.

The Importance of Choosing a Good Degree

The title is the part of a work that is read the most, and is usually the first to be read. It is, therefore, the most important element that defines the research study. With this in mind, avoid the following when creating a title:

If the title is too long, it usually indicates that there are too many unnecessary words. Avoid expressions such as “A study to investigate the…” or “An examination of the….”. These phrases are obvious and usually superfluous, unless they are necessary to convey the scope, intent, or type of study.

On the other hand, a title that is too short usually uses words that are too broad and, therefore, does not indicate to the reader what is being studied. For example, a work with the title “African Politics” is so unspecific that it could be the title of a book and so ambiguous that it could refer to anything related to politics in Africa. A good degree should provide information about the focus and/or scope of your research study.

Academic Writing

In academic writing, catchy phrases or non-specific language may be used, but only if it is within the context of the study [e.g., “Fair and impartial jury… Catch as you can.”] However, in most cases, you should avoid including words or phrases that do not help the reader understand the purpose of your work.

Academic writing is a serious and deliberate effort. Avoid using humorous or witty journalistic expressions when creating the title of your work. Newspaper headlines often use emotive adjectives [e.g., incredible, amazing, effortless] to highlight a problem experienced by the reader or use “triggering words” or interrogatives such as how, what, when, or why to persuade people to read the article or click on a link. These approaches are considered counterproductive in academic writing. A reader does not need witty or humorous titles to grab their attention because the act of reading is supposed to be deliberate and based on the desire to learn and improve understanding of the research problem. In addition, a humorous title can only detract from the seriousness and authority of your research.

Social Sciences

Unlike anywhere else in a university-level social science research [excepto cuando se utilizan citas directas en el texto] paper, degrees don’t have to adhere to rigid grammatical or stylistic norms. For example, it might be appropriate to start a title with a coordinated conjunction [i.e., and, but, or, or, not, to, so, however] if it makes sense to do so and does not detract from the purpose of the study [e.g., “Another Look at Mutual Fund Tournaments”] or to start the title with a flexed form of a verb such as those ending in -ing [e.g., “Assessing the Political Landscape: Structure, Cognition, and Power in Organizations.”]

Parameters for formulating an Adequate Title for a Research Paper

The following parameters can help you formulate a suitable title for a research paper:

The objective of the research and the narrative tone of the work and the methods used

Also, you must remember the initial goal of a title is to grab the reader’s attention and draw their attention to the research problem being investigated.

Create a Title for your Work

Usually, the final title that is presented to the professor is created after the research is finished, so that the title accurately captures what has been done. The job title should be developed early in the research process because it can help fix the focus of the study in the same way as the research problem. Revisiting the job title can help you reorient the main goal of the study if you feel like you’re going off on a tangent while writing.

The Final Title

Effective degrees of academic research papers have several characteristics.

Indicate precisely the topic and scope of the study.

Avoid using abbreviations.

Use words that create a positive impression and stimulate the reader’s interest.

Use the current nomenclature of the field of study.

Identify key variables, both dependent and independent.

It can reveal how the work will be organized.

Suggest a relationship between the variables that supports the main hypothesis.

It is limited to 10 or 15 substantial words.

Do not include “study of”, “analysis of” or similar constructions.

Titles are usually in the form of a phrase, but they can also be in the form of a question.

Use correct grammar and capitalization, with all first and last capitalized words, including the first word of a subtitle. All nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that appear between the first and last words of the title are also capitalized.

In academic papers, the title is rarely followed by an exclamation mark. However, a title or subtitle can take the form of a question.

Characteristics of a good Research Degree

According to rhetorical scholars Hairston and Keene, crafting a good title for a paper involves ensuring that the research title meets the four objectives mentioned below:

It should predict the content of the research paper.

It should be interesting to the reader.

Also, it should reflect the tone of the writing.

It must contain important keywords that facilitate its location during a keyword search.

Tips for writing an effective title for a research paper

When writing the title of a research paper, you can use the four criteria mentioned above as a guide. Here are some other tips you can use to make sure your degree will be part of the recipe for an effective research paper:

Make sure your research title describes (a) the subject, (b) the method, (c) the sample and (d) the results of your study. You can use the following formula:

[Resultado]: A study [método] of [tema] between [muestra]

Example: Meditation Makes Nurses Perform Better: A Qualitative Study of Mindfulness Meditation Among German Nursing Students

Avoid unnecessary words and jargon.

Keep the title statement as concise as possible. You want a degree that is understandable even to people who are not experts in your field. Check out our article for a detailed list of things to avoid when writing an effective research title.

Make sure your title is between 5 and 15 words.

If you are writing a degree for a university work or for a specific academic journal, check that your degree conforms to the standards and requirements of that medium. For example, many journals require titles to have a character limit, including spaces. Many universities require degrees to have a very specific form, which limits their creativity.

Use a descriptive phrase to convey the purpose of your research efficiently.

More importantly, use critical keywords in the title to increase the discoverability of your work.

The Subtitle

Subtitles are quite common in social science research papers. Here we underline the main reasons why the subtitle is important:

It explains or provides additional context, for example, “Linguistic ethnography and the study of welfare institutions as a flow of social practices: The case of residential childcare institutions as paradoxical institutions.” [Palomares, Manuel and David Poveda. Text & Talk: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse and Communication Studies 30 (January 2010): 193-212].

Add substance to a literary, provocative, or imaginative title or quote, for example, “Listen to What I Say, Not How I Vote.” [Grose, Christian R. and Keesha M. Middlemass. Social Science Quarterly 91 (March 2010): 143-167].

He qualifies the geographical scope of the research, for example, “The Geopolitics of the Eastern Border of the European Union: The Case of Romania-Moldova-Ukraine”. [Marcu, Silvia. Geopolitics 14 (August 2009): 409-432].

It qualifies the temporal scope of the research, for example, “A Comparison of the Progressive Era and the Depression Years: Societal Influences on Predictions of the Future of the Library, 1895-1940”. [Grossman, Hal B. Libraries & the Cultural Record 46 (2011): 102-128]

It focuses on investigating the ideas, theories or works of a particular individual, for example, “A Deliberative Conception of Politics: How Francesco Saverio Merlino Related Anarchy and Democracy”. [The Tower, Massimo. Sociology of the Diritto 28 (January 2001): 75 – 98]

Defines the general technique for analyzing the research problem, for example, “Explaining Territorial Change in Federal Democracies: A Comparative Historical Institutionalist Approach”. [Tillin, Louise. Political Studies 63 (August 2015): 626-641.

It identifies the methodology used, for example, “Student Activism of the 1960s Revisited: A Multivariate Analysis Research Note”. [Aron, William S. Social Forces 52 (March 1974): 408-414]

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You may also be interested in: The Oral Presentation

Bibliographic References

Hairston, M., & Keene, M. 2003. Successful writing. 5th ed. New York: Norton.

University of Southern California. 2017. Organizing your social sciences research paper: choosing a title. [Online]Available at:

Hartley James. “To Attract or to Inform: What are Titles for?” Journal of Technical Writing and Communication 35 (2005): 203-213; Jaakkola, Maarit. “Journalistic Writing and Style.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. Jon F. Nussbaum, editor. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018):

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The Title of the Research

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