Why does the title of your paper matter? Aren’t the contents more important? Should you really spend much time learning how to title an essay?
Let’s answer those questions in order. The title of an academic paper matters for the same reasons that the title of any written work does. It’s the first thing your instructor and peers are going to read. Do you want them to glance at your title and think, ‘Ho-hum, another paper to muddle through that’s just like the others’? Of course not! You want your reader to look forward to your interesting insights and presentation. That starts with a great title. Yes, the contents of your paper matter more, but your title sets the pace. Finally, you don’t need to spend very much time on this subject. Reading this guide will suffice!
Your title and your topic should relate to one another. That seems obvious, but it can be a bit more complicated than that. Some students simply include the name of their topic in the title, and they think that’s enough. That’s not true. Titles and topics should support one another. Your title is the reader’s first clue about the direction you plan on going with your topic. Here’s an example of a topic and title relationship being used in one way:
Climate Change: A 21st Century Hoax
And another way:
Climate Change: Almost Too Late to Take Action
Both are about climate change, but it’s clear each paper would take an entirely different direction. This is why you really should begin thinking about your essay title at the same time you start with topic selection and research. This is when your creative juices are flowing, and you can match your title ideas with your thoughts about the topics you’re considering.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
This is actually the title of a book and a clever play on the ways in which you can use the Oxford comma. If it’s appropriate, don’t be afraid to use wordplay in your title to make things interesting.
Sometimes, a simple, single-word title is perfect. It creates a bit of mystery and gets the reader curious. Is Charlie a person, a beloved pet, an alter ego, or a celebrity? Think of all the single word movie titles that have become popular over the years, Rocky, Jaws, Superman, Casablanca, Bambi. Simple can be better.
Sometimes, a simple, single-word title is perfect. It creates a bit of mystery and gets the reader curious
5 Reasons Campus Sports Must be Gender Neutral
It’s a small thing, but including a number in your headline can really make it more impactful.
The Gasoline Motor: It Isn’t Dead Yet
This classic combination leads off with the core subject matter. Then, it provides readers with the author’s unique spin. Of course, there’s an important note on the use of a colon here. Your essay title format will change depending on the citation format you use, such as APA. In some cases, colons may be replaced with dashes or other punctuation.
The possibilities are almost infinite. If you are struggling to title your essay, consider using a tool to analyze headlines, like CoSchedule. It will help you to be certain your title is engaging.
Now, let’s consider some common mistakes that can make your titles a real turn-off.
Take some time to research your topic, and come up with a creative but accurate title. Your readers will thank you.
We created this guide with the help of our staff writers. Our goal is to give you a bit of a kickstart when it comes to titling your essays effectively. Hopefully, we’ve helped you to understand how important your titles are and given you a few ideas to help you write better titles and headlines.
If you are still struggling with essay titles, you aren’t alone. Consider using our proofreading and editing services. There, we can help you polish that title so you can feel more confident in your work. We are available 24/7.
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