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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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1. Commonalities and Differences in Titling: The Academic Paper/Term Paper/Thesis/Dissertation Versus the Creative Work

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Imagine a simple scenario, dear reader: you step out into your car which is parked right in your driveway, and begin pulling out toward the main road. The drive is smooth and the car begins to gather speed, effortlessly merging into the freeway traffic. The drive is hitch-free, so far, over these first few minutes. But, several kilometers and more minutes along the way, you still haven’t decided the specific destination where the car is headed, the direction in which you should go. Let us just say that you have found yourself on a cruise, northbound, on Interstate 90 from Durham, North Carolina, for instance. And you just keep going—with no particular destination in mind—but, apparently and effectively, on a trip that might well lead you to the states of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, possibly on to New York, and even beyond.

So, when the outskirts of Durham are passed and the next town begins to come sharply into view, as the traffic passes that maze of exit after exit, how do you as a driver resolve the question of which one to take? What direction would you go and at which specific spot would you end the cruise? How would you as a driver, an apparently mindless traveler behind the steering wheel (or anyone else for that matter), ever complete an evaluation of the worth of what’s going on, gauge what has been accomplished, determine what you are up to? How would you as a driver...

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