Choosing Effective Title and Keywords in APA Format Research Paper

The American Psychological Association (APA) format for a research paper mainly consists of four sections: the title page, abstract, main body, and references. Most of the time, the researchers are busy writing the main text of the paper, overlooking the importance of choosing effective title and keywords in APA format research paper.

Little importance is given to the title and abstract in a paper while the keywords are almost ignored and written in a hurry at last. This is a dangerous thing to do as these three—the title, abstract, and keywords—are essential for publication success.

Choosing Effective Title and Keywords: Why is it Important?

Choosing effective title and keywords in APA format research paper is extremely crucial in helping someone find your research. Without these, most papers will not be read or found by readers. This is because most search engines, websites or databases use the words found in the title, abstract, and keywords to display the paper when someone searches with a keyword. Thus, the title of the paper, keywords and the abstract decide whether the paper will be found and cited by another researcher or reader.

In most cases, the title and abstract are freely available in the internet. Therefore, the title and abstract determine whether the reader will continue to read the paper and want to buy it.

Choosing an Effective Title

A good title should be around 10-12 words and should only use words and phrases which correctly highlight the content of the research paper. An effective title will help search engines to categorize and rank the paper for better viewership.

While writing the title, it is necessary to search for those keywords that properly describe the paper. The title should be self explanatory, correct and comprehensible. The title in an APA format research paper is center aligned at the top of the page and is not bold, italicized or underlined.

After the title, the author(s) name(s) and institutional affiliation(s) as well as the corresponding author and contact details are presented.

Some Steps Towards Writing an Effective Title in APA Format Research Paper

  • Choose vital keywords from the paper.
  • Then frame a sentence with those keywords.
  • Delete unnecessary words and rephrase if needed to form a meaningful sentence.

Choosing Effective Keywords in APA Format Research Paper

Keywords are written after the abstract in an APA paper in a particular format. Around 5-6 keywords should be listed (the number might vary according to journal specifications). They are written after an indent, as if starting a new paragraph. The word ‘Keywords’ is italicized, followed by a colon mark, and is left aligned. The keywords are written in lower case with a comma separating each key word. There is no full stop after the last keyword.

While writing keywords, you must think what words you could have given while searching for your own paper.

Therefore, for better exposure and publication chances, care must be taken while choosing effective title and keywords in an APA format research paper.

Writing an abstract in APA style

Writing an abstract in APA style needs practice and a clear idea about the APA guidelines. An abstract is a condensed summary of a research paper. You should write the paper before writing the abstract.

The abstract always begins in a new page, which includes the page header. The abstract as the heading is in the first page and is centered without any formatting, bold, italics, under lining or quotation marks.

The first line of an APA style abstract is not indented. The abstract is a summary of the most salient points of the research. The abstract should be written as a single paragraph; double spaced and should be 150-250 words long. While writing an abstract in APA style, it should include the research problem, hypothesis, the methods, results and conclusion.

After the abstract is written, keywords are given. Keywords are italicized, and the line is indented.


Points to remember while writing an abstract in APA style

  • Begin writing the abstract only when the whole research paper has been finished. Although the abstracts come first, but it should be written last as it contains the gist of the complete research.
  • The abstract in APA style is written in a new page. The word Abstract is centered, and the first line is not indented. But the keywords are italicized and indented. The running head and the page number should be at the top right corner.
  • Writing an abstract in APA style should be short and precise. The abstract should be between 150 to 250 words. Although the word limit might differ in different journals.
  • Write the abstract as a paragraph and double spaced it.
  • The structure the abstract follows the order of the research paper. Start with a brief introduction, and then continue with a summary of the methods, results and discussion of the paper.
  • First write a rough draft by summarizing each section of the paper in one or two lines. Now refine the draft with repeated revisions.