How To Choose The Best Title For A Term Paper: Helpful Suggestions


Choosing a title for any piece of work can make or break the initial interest of the reader. You may have started your term paper with a general idea of the content and direction that your work would take but building an effective title may be a bit of a stumbling block.

Essentially the title needs to capture the depth and breadth of your work, it must tempt the reader to engage with your work. The words that are used need to be both meaningful and appropriate as well as precise.

Put this process in perspective. If you are producing a dissertation or thesis then it is very rare if you start the work with the same title on completion of the work. The focus of the title stays the same throughout but the words used become more directed and engaging.

The following tips should help you choose the correct title for your work:

  • Plan and write your term paper, but as you write make a point of any phrases and ideas that come to mind as you work. Don’t rely on remembering the phrases. Write all of your title ideas in one place.
  • When you started to write your paper, you may have intended it to answer questions that you already had about the subject area. What were those questions? Could the title of the paper be a question/s with the answer found within your work?
  • Going back to the idea of the way that a thesis or dissertation statement develops, apply this to your paper. If your paper answers a question, then develop that as your title. To do this you need to make sure that the title fits your statements in the conclusion.
  • Write down a title that you feel is the most appropriate, then using the thesaurus section of your word processor package look for alternatives. Or you could run a few ideas past a few of your colleagues or friends and get their opinions.
  • Your title will set the tone of your work. Try using a quote as your title. Use a quote that is either from an author or a piece of work that is linked to the area of work you are covering or use an inspirational or motivational quote.
  • Keep it simple. If it is too complicated or too obscure, the reader (mainly your tutor) will be wondering if you are actually taking the task seriously or whether the content of your work will be accurate. Make sure your title is no longer that 20 words.