Choosing a good title for an article submitted to a journal for publication is as critical as the content of the article. Today, most articles are available online and people search the online databases for references. Online database searches operate of keywords and search engine optimization which picks key terms from the article titles for search results. Editors of reputed journals to scan submissions on the basis of titles and abstracts shared with them.
Here are some key pointers one needs to keep in mind while choosing a title for their article.
- There are broadly 3 types of titles generally used for academic publication. Declarative titles that highlight the gist of the article; Descriptive Titles that focus on the methodology of the study or Interrogative titles that highlight the main hypothesis of the publication. Choosing each type depends not only on the strengths of the article but also on the field of study. For instance, descriptive titles may work best for certain scientific articles by highlighting the fact that some unique methodology has been used, while interrogative titles may work well for theoretical explorations.
- Having the right terms in the title is critical, as most journal databases collate articles on the basis of such keywords. It is advisable to avoid acronyms for technical terms. It is better to use the full term and then perhaps give the acronym in parentheses if required. It is also important to check the title guidelines of the journal of choice to know the exact format or title they prefer. However, every title needs to convey some minimum information for readers to make an informed choice. Therefore, generic titles are best avoidable.
- Many authors prefer to use titles with two phrases joined by a colon. For instance, while the first may be a declarative title, followed by a descriptive phrase for the article. Such conjoined titles are very popular and many new authors seem to prefer such titles for their publication as it allows them to convey more information. However, care must be taken to ensure the title does not end up being too long. Many digital database have character limitations; and lengthy titles to are often avoided by potential readers.
- It is important that the title must resonate with the article The title is the first point of call for a reader who then follows up by reading the abstract. It is only after a reader is convinced that the abstract offers to do justice to the title does one go on to read the full article. Journals are very particular about this factor and any publication has lived up to the promise of the title in the main content.
A crisp but precise article title not only raises its chances of being published by a journal but also ensures higher read and chances of citation. Consider the title as the calling card for your article and design it well to attract the required attention.