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The different types of titles with examples

1. Noun phrases that describe the topic of study

Also known as descriptive or neutral, this is by far the most common type of title, especially in scientific research. Typically, a noun phrase is used to convey what the study is, without revealing its findings. It can be an effective way to cram all necessary information and keywords into a few words, and may intrigue the reader to read the rest of the article to learn about the findings. Descriptive titles are the most conservative, and arguably the most preferred, type of paper title.


  • A Style-Based Generator Architecture for Generative Adversarial Networks
  • The Association Between Income and Life Expectancy in the United States, 2001-2014
  • The trajectory, structure and origin of the Chelyabinsk asteroidal impactor

2. Declarative stance that highlights a research finding

This is when you plainly state what the main finding of your study is. Declarative titles work especially well if the finding is novel or striking, and will make people want to dive into your paper to understand how you reached that conclusion. If you fear that your finding isn’t compelling enough, or that revealing it in the title might spoil the fun, then perhaps consider other types of titles.


  • New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding
  • Observation of J/ψp resonances consistent with pentaquark states in Λ0b→J/ψK−p decays
  • More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas

3. Interrogative sentence that presents the main research question

Interrogative titles are titles that are simply formulated from the research question of your study. If your study has several research questions, pick the main one for your title. Titles in the form of questions can arouse readers’ curiosity, increasing clicks and downloads of your publication. Make sure that your question is clearly worded, and that you are actually giving the answer in your paper.


  • Will Gender Self-Declaration Undermine Women's Rights and Lead to an Increase in Harms?
  • Does physical activity attenuate, or even eliminate, the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality?
  • Will COVID-19 fiscal recovery packages accelerate or retard progress on climate change?

4. Catchy or humorous stance followed by a more informative subtitle

This is probably the rarest type of article title, and isn't to everybody's taste. But some readers appreciate wordplay and funny titles that make them smile and draw their attention. As you are competing for attention with millions of other journal articles out there, it might be worth considering. If you are not sure if this would be appropriate for your paper or discipline, consult your supervisor or colleagues for feedback. In any case, it is best to supplement it with a more conventional subtitle that adds information about your study.


  • Systematically Improving Espresso: Insights from Mathematical Modeling and Experiment
  • An Apple a Day: Which Bacteria Do We Eat With Organic and Conventional Apples?
  • Sexist Games = Sexist Gamers? A Longitudinal Study on the Relationship Between Video Game Use and Sexist Attitudes

Writing a good title

FAQs about writing a title