Drafting a title for a scientific article

This article will allow you to understand:

1. How to develop a title that gives a good first impression of a research article.
2. The need to develop a descriptive, direct, accurate, appropriate, interesting, concise, precise and unique title.


Drafting the title for a scientific article

This provides the first impression to the reader and influences whether a reader is interested in reading the manuscript. It should include all the essential words in the right order, such that the topic of the manuscript is accurately and fully conveyed.

A reader who cannot extract the significance of a paper from its title is unlikely to read further. Therefore, the first important step is to develop the title. The title should be short and unambiguous, yet be an adequate description of the work. A general rule-of-thumb is that the title should contain the keywords describing the work presented.

Remember that the title becomes the basis for most online searches – if your title is insufficient, few people will find or read your paper.

The journal to which the manuscript is being submitted should be indicated. In addition, complete contact information for the corresponding author should also be provided in the title section.

The title, with a maximum of 8 to 15 words, is the first piece of bait that could lure a potential reader to notice and explore your research.

A title should preferably answer the following questions:

  • What will be researched?
  • How will the topic be researched?
  • With whom? – Describes the research population and units of measurement
  • Where / in what context will the study be conducted?

To answer these questions, Grobler (2003) suggests the following basic structure for a title:
Main theme or research topic: Research design + population + geographical area

Activity 1: Watch the following videos and answer the questions that follow:

Based on the videos, what are the expectations of a good title for a research paper?

Assignment 1: Article Title
Draft a title for your research paper following requirements for your target scientific journal.

Activity 2: Reading Material
Read the material provided and use them in the following section.

Activity 3: Discussion on article titles
Share and discuss your title with your group members.

Estimated Length (to be aligned to journal guidelines)
Your title should be 8 to 15 words.