Article titles take up only a few words but are of utmost importance in persuading other researchers to read your paper.
If the article title has an impact that attracts readers, then your article will become more visible and might also gain more citations than articles with titles that are less attractive.
The basic function of a title is to describe the content of your article. Also in today’s data base searching, keywords in your title make the article more accessible to researchers in your field. This means that your article title is database friendly.
Moreover, the article title can also be used a tool to give your paper a distinct personality. To do so, the title must be accurate, concise, specific and informative and must not contain abbreviations.
Effective article title characteristics
- Attract readers
- Do not contain abbreviations
- Are accurate, specific, unambiguous and complete
- Express the main topic of your article
- Start with the subject of your article
Short or long article titles?
Short titles are usually best and most of the journals have a word limit for article titles. For example, some journals allow only titles that does not exceed 10-15 words, while also journals exist that do not allow more than two printed lines or a specific number of characters (including white spaces).
Mostly are shorter titles more appealing to readers. When writing the title do not be afraid of trying to attract readers. Sometimes you’ll have to rewrite the title until you achieve brevity, clarity and most of all, reader interest.
Long article titles can be boring, are non-comprehensive, contain often unnecessary words, too many prepositions and qualifiers.
Tricks to improve article titles
- Titles should have minimal punctuation.
- Title should present an independent variable, dependent variable and population
- Title pose a question
- Title that gives an answer to the question
- Titles that gives a clear take-home message
- Avoid complex compound nouns
- Title that presents novelty in your article
Above all, a title needs to be factually correct and it’s up to you to devise the best title for your article. In this try to work towards a title that is short, informative, and factually correct. Nevertheless, do not be disappointed when the title of the article has to be rewritten on request by the journal editors before it can be accepted for publication.