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编: How to write a good title?

已有 3073 次阅读 2014-12-18 11:58 |个人分类:科技写作|系统分类:论文交流| writing, paper, title

As composition and rhetoric scholars Maxine Hairston andMichael Keene explain,

a good title does several things:

First, it predicts content.

Second, it catches the reader's interest.

Third, it reflects the tone or slant of the piece of writing.

Fourth, it contains keywords that will make it easy to access by a computer search.


In preparing a title for a paper, the author would do well to remember one salient fact: That title

will be read by thousands of people. Perhaps few people,if any, will read the entire paper, but

many people will read the title, either in the original journal or in one of the secondary (abstracting

and indexing) publications. Therefore, all words in the title should be chosen with great care, and

their association with one another must be carefully managed. Perhaps the most common error in

defective titles, and certainly the most damaging in terms of comprehension, is faulty syntax

(word order).

What is a good title? I define it as the fewest possible words that adequately describe the contents

of the paper.  

Remember that the indexing and abstracting services depend heavily on the accuracy of the title,

as do the many individual computerized literature-retrieval systems in use today. An improperly

titled paper may be virtually lost and never reach its intended audience.


Generally, a good title follows the following rules:

1.      The title should not be too long or too short. Generally it is not more than 18 notional words.

2.      “Waste” words such as "Studies on,""Investigations on,'' and "Observations on" should not be included. An opening A, An, or The is also a"waste" word. Certainly, such words are useless for indexing purposes.

3.      Titles should almost never contain abbreviations,chemical formulas, proprietary (rather than

generic) names,jargon, and the like.  

4.      The title should be useful as a label accompanying the paper itself, and it also should be in a form suitable for the machine-indexing systems used by various kinds of Abstracts databases. The meaning and order of the words in the title are of importance to the potential reader who sees the title in the journal table of contents. The terms in the title should be limited to those words that highlight the significant content of the paper in terms that are both understandable and retrievable.




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