Creating a Proper Title

A good title limits the topic, suggests how the paper will be organized, and has good form. We'll explore this by having you select the titles that adhere best to the highest standards, as discussed below. It's not even important that you know anything at all about the content of the paper that is headed by the titles. You'll be able to tell the properly constructed titles just by thoughtfully considering the guidelines summarized below.

First, the title tells the reader exactly what is going to be discussed in the paper. A good title narrows, or focuses, the readers’ attention on a specific area of a large topic. This is analagous to good "figure" design...in which the figure is customized by area and content.

Considering this information, it should be obvious WITHOUT knowing the content of a paper or article if a title is properly constructed. For example, which title is acceptable?

a. What Americans See at the Movies
b. Negative Images of Older Adults in Television Commercials
c. Older People in Movies
d. Old People, American Movies, and the Media
e. Mass Media Research about the Old

Second, although not all titles reveal how the paper will be organized, those that do share the method of organization with the reader sometimes helps to limit the topic.

Considering this information, which title is acceptable?

a. The Elderly on Television in the United States
b. Older, Not Better
c. Invisible Old Women in Television Shows in the United States
d. Elderly People in American Cartoons on Saturday Morning
e. Effects of Portraying the Elderly Negatively in Magazine Advertisements

A properly constructed title is grammatically correct.

Considering this additional information, which title is acceptable?

a. Stereotypical Images of a Large Amount of Old People as They Appear in Children’s’ Literature in America
b. Discrimination against the aged appears in children’s literature.
c. Unflattering Stereotypical Images of Elderly People in Children’s Literature in the U.S.
d. An Analysis of the Older in Literature for Children in the U.S.
e. Elderly People as Unproductive, Depressed, and Sick!.