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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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2. The Nuts and Bolts of the Academic Paper Title: Qualities of Suitable Titles Contrasted with Unsuitable or Poor Ones


A student author can save him or herself as well as the reader a great deal of trouble by taking a few writing cues from experienced writers who set the bar high and still surpass it. One of these writing keys is that accomplished authors are seldom slow to perceive the option that they have of a very wide and varied rhetorical repertoire. They can draw liberally from tricks of the trade that range from normatively argumentative or persuasive to normatively descriptive forms, establishing sharp distinctions both between good and poor titles and between creative writing titles and those employed by academic papers. Another way of putting the point is that seasoned writers can go deep into the repertoire and shrewdly select from a plurality of strategies to meet the demands of their particular objectives. It is significant in this light that skilled writers make no fuss about the institutionally defined norm that incisive academic writing is impossible without a suitable title—the unit supplied to impose an obligation about the direction a paper should take in its development and that also provides the reader a critical navigational guide. They know full well that the wheels can come off very quickly without an adequate title to anchor the writing of an academic paper, and so one irreducible imperative that they are always conscious of is that the academic paper depends on an alignment of the ideas suggested in the title ← 23 | 24 → and the presentation in the actual body of...

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