Can a Research Paper Title Be a Question?

June 6, 2024

can research paper title be a question

We’ve been writing research papers for long enough to know that the title is one of the most important sections of the assignment. In fact, readers first look at the title of the paper to determine whether the research work is worth reading.

If you want to grab the attention of your lecturer or professor and get them to read the rest of your research work, spare some to write a title that stands out.

A well thought out research paper title is one that summarizes the idea(s) of your study. In the fewest words possible, the title should describe the purpose of the research and make it easy for you audience to know the focus of the research.

Many research paper titles are usually in the form of statements that give readers the clue on what the research work focused on. So can research paper titles be questions or should you stick to statements instead?

Research paper titles can be questions provided they provide enough information on the focus of the work. The questions shouldn’t be long or short. Rather, they should have the right word limit to communicate the central message of the paper.

In other words, readers should read the question title and know immediately what the research paper is.

Can Research Paper Titles Be Questions?

question title for research paper

The title of a research paper can be a question provided it can draw the attention of the reader to the problem you wish to investigate. By looking at the purpose of the research, the tone of the narrative, and the research method used, it should be easy to construct a question title for the research project.

When Should You Write the Title? 

You’ll create two types of titles for your research paper: a working title and a final title.

1. The Working Title 

You’ll create a working title first. Doing so is important because it’s the only possible way to anchor the focus of your study on the specific research problem. With this title, you can as stick to the main purpose of the study and easily find your way back on track should you lose focus a bit.

2. The Final Title 

You will derive the final title from the research you conducted and it’s what you will replace the working title with before submitting your research paper for review.

The following are some of the characteristics of a well-constructed final title for a research paper assignment:

  • Have a word limit of between 10 and 15 words, which is enough to tell what the paper focuses on.
  • It describes the subject under investigation and shows the scope of the study 
  • The title uses impressive words that spark readers’ interest and easily grab their attention to read the rest of the paper
  • It doesn’t use abbreviations
  • The title of the document may identify the most significant independent and dependent variables
  • Title can give a strong suggestion of the relationship between one variable and another and support a particular hypothesis.
  • It doesn’t include “an analysis of”, “a study of”, or similar generic constructions.
  • All the first words of the research paper titles, including adjectives, verbs, and nouns, should be uppercase.

How Long Should a Research Paper Title Question Be? 

length of research paper question title

A research paper title shouldn’t be too long or too short. It should have the right number of words to communicate the intended message.

On the one hand, short titles fail to provide enough information on the focus of the research paper. A two-word title such as “African Politics” would make no sense here.

On the other hand, long titles tend to have unnecessary words that don’t add meaning to the title of the research paper.

Keep in mind that research questions have to be specific. That means your title will be addressing a particular issue within a broad topic.

Can I Use Subtitles in a Research Paper? 

using subtitles in research paper

Subtitles are handy in writing because they break down big chunks of paragraphs and make content east to read. They also break the monotony of reading walls of texts because they transition readers from an issue to another within the subject under investigation.

You can use subtitles (subheadings) throughout your research paper for the following reasons:

1. Provide Additional Content  

Some section of your research paper will need additional context for clarity and coherence. You can use subtitles to provide the additional information, making it easy for your reader to find the information that they would have otherwise thought is missing.

2. Explaining Ideas 

If you have multiple ideas in your research paper and you believe it would make a difference if you provided more information about each idea, consider using subheadings in the research paper.

The subtitles will generally make it easy for you to investigate each idea or theory independently, hence clarity.

Our Take On Research Paper Titles in Question Format 

Our take

Researchers suggest that the title of your research paper should be in the form of statement and informative enough to grab the attention of the reader. The argument is that statement titles are effective in providing accurate overview about your research and the expected outcome.

Another argument is that readers opt to read research papers because they’re looking for answers to questions, therefore making titles that are in question form rather unappealing.

Based on what we understand, however, there are no specific academic guidelines that bar students from using questions as titles for their research papers. So provided the title in the question format captures the essence of your research and engages the target audience.

Get Research Paper Writing Help 

Writing a research paper can be challenging and time consume. Even if you know all the elements of the paper, and you can do research and write the paper, you may still find the work overwhelming given your other assignments.

Don’t worry because we’re here to help. Get our research paper writing service here and let us help you get the work done.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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