How do I find a suitable title in a scientific paper?
Finding a headline in a scientific paper that is as meaningful as possible and not too long is not always that easy. Although it is an important part of a scientific paper, many authors are struggling with this task. What criteria does a headline have to fulfill in a scientific paper and what tips should the author of the paper adhere to? Although many people believe that such a title is a mere discretionary thing, there are very basic guidelines that should not be neglected if possible.
Heading in a scientific paper – definition and purpose
Whether it is the title of the work itself or one of the numerous subheadings, each heading in a scientific paper should be worded in as few words as possible, yet be as meaningful as possible. The headline is intended to tune the reader to what is essentially expected of him in the next section or in the work in general. Vague and ambiguous phrases that are not clear should be an absolute no-go. In principle, a heading in a scientific paper can take one of three clearly defined forms.
Alternatively, it is a series of noun phrases. An example of such a heading is “The impact of globalization on the international economy.” But the title can also be formulated as a specific statement. An example of this is the following title: “Globalization has an impact on the international economy.” In that case, it would be better if the author summarized the precise impact on the international economy in a succinct verb.
The more precise, the better. A title in a scientific paper can also be formulated as a question that the author tries to answer in the further course. The title could be formulated as a question that reads as follows: “How does globalization affect the international economy?”
Further tips for the perfect headline in a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral thesis
In any case, the authors of the thesis should strictly ensure that the title and all headings are self-explanatory. Foreign words or technical terms that were not explained in detail in the text before, therefore, have nothing to look for in a headline, as this would only confuse the reader.
If you want to publish your dissertation later, you should make sure that the titles contain important keywords that are relevant for the respective department. Abbreviations should also be avoided in the headings. Because they not only ensure that the work can be found less easily. Rather, abbreviations also disturb the flow of reading and are not immediately understandable for every reader.
In general, titles and headlines should be kept as short as possible. More than twelve words are not recommended. Academic papers that will later be published in a journal may require the titles and headings to be adjusted. This is because most journals specify the desired title length exactly.
Useful practical tips for the procedure
In practice, it has proved to be very useful if the author initially works with working titles, which also serve as a kind of outline or red thread for your own scientific work. Concise titles are usually not found immediately, but require a lot of thought and time.
While the author elaborates the actual content of his scientific work in detail, he or she has the opportunity to constantly think about the appropriate title. If there are substantive changes, the title should also be adapted accordingly, as this should represent the facts as concise and in a nutshell. Therefore, it makes sense to formulate the final title, which hits the heart of the matter exactly, only at the very end.
For the provisional headlines and titles, the author does not need to worry about their length. These headlines can later be easily shortened and customized. Journals covering a similar subject area as your own scholarly work can also serve as sources of inspiration in finding the right title. A title consisting of two parts joined by a dash or colon is also an option.
A really good title should not be too sober if possible, if your own area of expertise gives a little leeway for puns or a bit of pep with the help of language. Finally, it is important that the title and any other headline address the reader immediately, so that it is motivated to read on. Unless it is a question, punctuation should generally be omitted from the headings. In principle, headings should also contain no rating.