How to Write a Report Title

Side profile of a woman working at a computer
... Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

A report title is an important part of any research paper because it can leave a lasting first impression. Report titles should intrigue readers, so they want to read more. An effective title clearly describes the purpose of the paper in a single statement or question. You should Include necessary capitalization, correct grammar and keywords that show up in Internet searches.

1 Explain Your Hypothesis

Choose a report title that clearly explains the purpose or angle of your topic. Opt for a title that defines the scope of your research, so readers can quickly determine if your paper is one they want to read. You should include important variables that support your hypothesis, according to the University of Southern California Libraries Guides website. For example, if your research paper is about a coal mine disaster, your report title might say, "Hasty Drilling and Disregarded Safety Precautions Led to Chilean Mining Accident."

2 Capture Readers' Attention

A powerful title can catch your readers' attention. Choose your words wisely, so they make a strong first impression. Brainstorm possible titles that have descriptive adjectives and clearly defined nouns. Rewrite, revise and reword your title until it accurately represents your sentiments and views. Effective report titles set the tone for the rest of the paper. For example, if your research is about the ill effects that waste has on the environment, your title might say, "Overindulgence and Irresponsible Behavior Make for an Unhappy Earth."

3 Provide Structure

You should make sure your title is clear and descriptive but isn't too long; 10 to 15 words is sufficient -- according to the USC Libraries website. Your report title could be a question or a statement as long as it clearly explains the purpose of the paper. Avoid using words such as, "study of," "analysis of" or "research paper on" in your title. It's important to use correct grammar and capitalize nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs and the first and last word. You should avoid abbreviations.

4 Include Keywords

It's important to include keywords in your title that will show up in an Internet search, advises the University of Minnesota's Center for Writing. This is especially important if you or your professor plan to post your paper on social networking or academic websites. If you choose key nouns, readers who are looking for your paper can find it online. Avoid generic terms and be as specific as possible. For example, if your paper is on Ronald Reagan's position toward Russia, include words such as Ronald Reagan, Cold War, communism, foreign policy or mutual deterrence in your title.

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.