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Helping Students to Write Successful Paper Titles

Ode Ogede

All who treasure great literature recognize the pivotal role played by a title. But, until now, at both the undergraduate and the graduate level, no book-length study has devoted detailed expert attention to the subject of academic paper titling. Helping Students to Write Successful Paper Titles is the first attempt at an extended exploration of this subject, breaking new ground by confirming the significance of a title as an apparatus for scholarly endeavor. Academic writing’s dependence on the title imparts pre-eminence to the part of the paper that bridges the gap between its contents and the reader, making the title more than just another component of the work and investing the paper with an identity. Through systematic examination of a variety of paper titles, the study offers a cohesive picture of the function of the title in academic writing and guides students in the art of effective title making.
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This is a book about the function of the title in the critical approach to the literary work. The book aims to define, establish, and stress all aspects and every type of use made of titles within the genre of the formal essay, research paper, literary analysis/commentary or interpretation, thesis and dissertation—all herein collected under the umbrella designation “academic paper”—thus opening a window onto a subject on which no prior academic textbook exists.

The contents of a text are minted in the coin of title, and the academic paper is no different; indeed, the only way a paper can pass muster in the academic sphere is by having an appropriate title. As a signaling apparatus, the title is the part of an academic paper that sets forth its agenda both for the writer and for the reader, giving hints of the drift of each work’s argument and its concerns. With a vibrant title an author begins the process of marking off the boundaries of a text, profiling what’s on offer. A catchy title is therefore the one thing that a writer will need, sooner, rather than later, when he or she is hit by the lightning bolt of inspiration, when idea after idea comes surging forth—not merely to hold the current in check; not just to allow the thoughts to run uninterrupted, but to channel their flow—enabling them to gather momentum. Thus, as with any other apparatus of this nature, a title...

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