Importance of an apt title for your research paper

Writing a research paper with innovative and groundbreaking findings might be a difficult task in itself, but a carefully formulated title is also just as important.

A Good Research Paper TitleBy its sheer positioning at the top, the title occupies a pristine position in your research paper and readers, reviewers, and editors are inadvertently drawn to it first. This makes it imperative on your part to give considerable time and thought to go through several iterations before finalizing the title of your research paper. The title needs to be clear, concise, and indicative of the research topic.

Often, readers consider the title as the primary parameter to check the suitability and importance of a research work. Hence, the title should be enticing without being verbose, so that the reader is persuaded to read the abstract that follows the title. Much like the cover of a book, it is the main heading of a research paper that leaves an indelible imprint in the reader’s mind. Besides, in this age of Internet search queries, the title can technically act as a metadata string that highlights the aim of your research and helps other researchers locate your paper when they use a web crawler.

The following are some tips for making your title more meaningful and easily discoverable by search engines:

  • Use proper sentence structure in the title.
  • Consider the target audience of your paper before selecting words for the title and structure them accordingly.
  • Think of a short title that best expresses the salient features of your paper.
  • Avoid descriptive, interrogative, or rhetoric titles for scientific research papers.
  • Try to include the fine points of the subject population (e.g., children with autism and alcohol-withdrawn patients, etc.).
  • Focus of the title should be on the outcome of the study.
  • Restrict the use of abbreviations unless they are exceptionally common.
  • Never construct the title on the basis of statistical findings of the paper.
  • Use punctuations wisely.

Title tells the objective of the paperA title of an article or a paper, irrespective of its type and genre, should be able to express the main objective of the paper in order to be useful for readers or researchers. That will lead more web searches to your research paper and increase the chances of it being cited in other research work.

Misplaced, Dangling and Squinting Modifiers

A modifier is a word or phrase that describes or adds details to a sentence. In the below examples, the modifiers are italicized.

  • I went through all the stores yesterday, looking for the perfect gift.
  • While walking on the sand, she removed her slippers.

One should place modifiers carefully so that the reader understands what is being modified. Writers, generally, make three types of modifier mistakes: misplaced, dangling and squinting modifiers.

 

Misplaced modifier: 

A misplaced modifier is a wrongly placed modifier that makes the subject of the modifier unclear. The reader may not be sure of the word the modifier is describing or may think of a different word being described instead of the intended one. Consider the below examples:

INCORRECT: The man walked towards the building carrying a box.

In this sentence, the building is carrying a box, which is illogical.

REVISED: The man carrying a box walked towards the building.

INCORRECT: We returned the packets to the store that was new.

REVISED: We returned the new packets to the store.

INCORRECT: She served biscuits to the children on paper plates.

REVISED: She served biscuits on paper plates to the children.

Dangling modifier:

When a modifier improperly modifies something in a sentence, it is called a dangling modifier. It is often located in the beginning or at the end of a sentence. The error may occur because the modifier has nothing to refer or is placed next to the wrong noun that it does not modify. Consider the following examples:

INCORRECT: To improve his outcomes, the analysis was done again.

Who wanted to improve outcomes? This sentence indicates that the analysis wants to improve its own outcomes.

REVISED: He improved his outcomes by doing the analysis again or

To improve his outcomes, he performed the analysis again.

INCORRECT: After reviewing the research article, it remains unconvincing.

REVISED: After reviewing the research article, I find the article unconvincing.

INCORRECT: When ten years old, my mother tried to teach me cooking.

REVISED: When I was ten years old, my mother tried to teach me cooking.

Squinting modifier:

squinting modifier may describe two situations, i.e., either the word before it or the word after it. In other words, it is an ambiguously placed modifier. Consider the below example:

INCORRECT: I told my daughter after she completed her homework we would play together.

The above sentence is not clear.

Does it mean that I told my daughter after she completed her homework? Does it mean that we would play together after she completed her homework?

REVISED: After she had completed her homework, I told my daughter we would play together. Or, I told my daughter we would play together after she completed her homework.

Writing Headings

Whether or not an audience will read the whole piece of content often relies on the effectiveness of its heading. Thus, for almost every kind of content, the heading is the most vital part. Due to this, every writer tries his best to write a heading that is, not only attractive and appealing, but also impressive. Although there is no particular method for creating an efficient title, there are definite principles that you can pursue to come about with headings that grasp attention. The present article on “Writing Headings” provides some basic tips that should lead you toward that success.

Tips for Writing Headings

Target the Benefits

Normally, readers choose to read such articles, which directly benefit them. In other words, they are concerned with the articles that educate them something new, attempt to solve their difficulties, or provide something that is significant to them. Due to this, effectual headings are often the ones that expose the advantages of the content to the proposed reader. However, the heading does not necessarily need to directly state the benefits of the content. It only needs to offer at least a clue that there is something in the content that might be valuable to the readers. To be brief, the heading should be a tease of the advantages that expect the viewers.

Make It Exceptional

Several copywriters and marketers have a relentless idea of what type of title works for the readers. Due to this, they likely settle for the headings, which are weary and basically unproductive. You must realise that such headings do not attract readers any longer and, in fact, annoys them most of the time. Therefore, stay away from unoriginal headings and instead create your own original ones. The titles do not inevitably need to be revolutionary. However, you must attempt to play around with words and come up with a heading that is unusual and remarkable.

Be Particular

A good heading attracts a specific group of people. It consists of phrases or words that instantly impact the audience for whom the content or copy is written. Specificity is important as readers, particularly those on the Internet, are extremely perceptive. They are eager to know immediately whether or not the content is meant for them. If they get no appropriate information from the heading, they simply overlook the article in general and move on to another website. Therefore, always make it a point to think about your readers while writing headings. Try to include words and phrases that are reasonable and interesting to them.

Don’t Compromise

While writing for an online business, one may be enticed to add keywords to his heading. After all, this will help in increasing the web traffic. However, as much as this helps your SEO, adding keywords to the heading can actually hamper its quality. While in the desire for crafting the most SEO-friendly heading, one may of course compromise the other elements that should be present in the heading. Thus, one must be concerned about the more essential aspects of writing headings before focusing on SEO. However, wherever possible, one can always add in some appropriate keywords while retaining the effectiveness of the heading, following the above mentioned tips.

Writing headings is not as difficult as it may seem in the beginning. By following the above mentioned tips, you will soon understand why writing headings can be actually unproblematic. However, it will just take some gradual practice to perfect it.

The Inverted Pyramid

The Inverted Pyramid framework is the most conventional principle, which is followed for professional writing. Many people have been critical about it, but it has survived for more than a century. As per this principle, the most important point or essential element of an article should be placed at the top. In other words, the facts should be sequenced in descending order of importance. This might seem a bit blunt, but it is most effective.

Advantages

  • The readers can judge quickly whether they want to read the entire article or not.
  • Even if the readers decide to stop reading at any particular point, they have already grasped the main point of your article.
  • The first few sentences provide a quick overview of the entire article.
  • It is of great advantage to editors. In case an article exceeds its specified space, they can easily trim the content from the bottom instead of starting from the first and changing the entire structure.
  • It captures and retains the readers’ interest. If the beginning is not captivating, readers skim for other alternatives.
  • Creating headlines becomes easier and faster through it.
  • It improves the creative and organizational capability of the writer.

Writing Clearly

It is not enough to write so that you can be understood; you must write so clearly that you cannot be misunderstood. Ralph Waldo Emerson

If the readers are unable to understand what you have written, then there’s no point in writing something at all. Innovative ideas are rendered insignificant when they are not expressed clearly. If you want to effectively communicate your ideas to your readers, your writing must have clarity. The more precise and concise your writing is, the clearer it will be. You need to know exactly what you want to communicate and to whom, and choose relevant information to convey your thoughts. A few tips to help you out are as follows:

First decide your target readers. Then, plan out what exactly they require to know. Give them what they want: nothing less, nothing more.  In that way, you can get rid of unnecessary data that affect the clarity of your writing.

Decide what approach you need to adopt for writing (formal, informal, academic, dramatic, casual, etc.). You should not use mixed approaches/styles, which will add to the confusion of the reader.

Do not deviate from the main subject matter. A totally different and unrelated subject will make your writing useless.

Break-up long sentences if they contain more than one piece of information. Sentences that contain one piece of information are easier to grasp in one reading.

Do not use unnecessary jargons. It might make your writing appear brilliant; but, your readers cannot understand even a bit of it. Write in simple English, which everyone can understand.

Use proper headings and number/bullet lists wherever needed. It will help the reader to easily understand what the topic or section is about.

Ensure that your writing is grammatically intact. Check spellings, punctuation, etc. Then ask someone to go through it once.