Creating A Winning Research Paper Title Page: Simple Rules

Although it is often overlooked by students, the research paper title page is an important element of a well-written assignment that can help set the right mood and make a positive first impression on a reader. Most disciplines follow a specific formatting style (the two most common being APA and Chicago), so it is a good idea if you check with your department office or instructor to learn about any requirements. But if you are allowed to use a generic style, the following simple rules should be enough to create a winning research paper title.

  • Rule #1: Use a Formatted, Standard 8.5 x 11-inch Paper
  • Unless your instructor requires you to do otherwise, you should always use a standard, normal stock, 8.5 x 11-inch paper. Most word processing programs today have fairly simple formatting functions you can easily apply to your entire paper with just one push of a button. Make sure your paper is formatted with 1-inch margins all around and is double-spaced. You can make all of these changes manually as you type, but why make it harder than it has to be.

  • Rule #2: Always Use a Keyword-Rich, High Impact Title
  • Like most students, you have probably left this page for last, and that is okay. It actually is a lot easier to come up with research paper title ideas after you have written the assignment and know exactly what your paper is about. Use your thesis and main discussion points to brainstorm title ideas. Consider something that is keyword-rich to make it easier for others to find on a library database.

  • Rule #3: Include all Pertinent Course Information
  • Next, make sure you include all pertinent course information. This includes your instructor’s name, the course title and section number, the institution’s name (if required) and the assignment due date. All of this information goes at the bottom of the page, well below the title, sub-title (if present), and your name.

  • Rule #4: Always Proofread the Before Submitting
  • Finally, always be sure that you completely proofread the title page just like you would the main text of your research paper. Just because it contains a small amount of text, doesn’t mean that it is any less likely to contain mistakes. Even the smallest grammatical, punctuation, or spelling error can cause a bad first impression. Do your due diligence and check for errors with a critical eye.