How to write “the title” of an Article?

The title is one of the most important parts of an article. It gives the first impression about a paper or an article. It is also freely available to everyone online. Thus it should be catchy to draw the attention of the readers. At the same time, it should be brief but long enough to explain what the article is about. Electronic search database such as PubMed use words in the title and abstract to yield such results, hence the title should contain all the important terms “key words” that a potential reader may use in searching for relevant literature.

Points to consider while writing a title:

Be Concise
A title should balance the number of words needed to describe the content of the article against confusing the reader with too many words. Any reader understands that you have conducted a research/ intensive literature search before writing the paper, hence the words such as ‘a study of’, ‘investigation of’, or ‘observations on’ should be avoided. Use of adjectives like ‘new’, ’validated’, ’improved’ or ‘sensitive’ should be avoided while writing the title. Most journals restrict the use of words in the title to 20 words.

Be Clear
A clear title defines a clear objectives, roles and information about an article. A clear title plays a vital role in giving proper information to the readers. More attention is to be paid while selecting a title so that the reader can understand the meaning of a whole article from its title. It should be simple including clear meaning but not be vague.
For instance, “Treatment of ankle sprain patients with ice therapy” can be more understandable if written more appropriately. Rephrasing this to “Ice therapy for ankle sprain” is shorter and can be better understood.

Be Informative
Title should consider the meaning and information about an article. It should be informative and complete. Sometimes titles are so short, incomplete and written in a confused manner that they tell the reader very little about the topic of the article. Sometimes, this can be misleading to the readers. Hence, the title should clearly state the specific information about the article.

Title should include the information about the participants, intervention used, outcome of assessment and if there are any comparative groups. It would also be good to include the design of the study. One example of a precise and good title would be “Effectiveness of ice therapy on lateral ankle sprain: A randomized controlled trial”.

Avoid Abbreviations
Abbreviations can bring confusions and leads to ambiguity, hence short forms should be avoided in the title unless they are something widely accepted. Eg: HIV.

The title has power to attract and influence the readers, reviewers and editors. Thus, a title should be concise, clearly written and informative avoiding ambiguity.

About Arun: Arun is a second year undergraduate student studying at Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences, Dhulikhel, Nepal. His hobbies are watching sports and riding motor bike. He loves neurology and enjoys learning about the role of Central Nervous System in pain.