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More APA Style Guidelines: Titles

Goals of a Title

A title should summarize the main ideas of your manuscript, have style, identify variables or the theoretical issue under investigation, and identify the relationship between the variables. See APA 7, Section 2.4 for more information.

Elements of a Good Title

  • Titles should be concise.
  • Titles should be fully explanatory when standing alone.
  • Titles are used as a statement of content for abstracting and referencing. Include terms that would help a fellow researcher locate your study in electronic databases. For ideas, you might check the keywords or tags appended to articles in your reference list.
  • Titles should not include words or phrases such as “method,” “results,” “study of,” and “investigation of.”
  • Titles should avoid any words that could mislead the reader. Use only abbreviations that are in common use as abbreviations (e.g., MRI, HIV, or IQ).
  • Titles should avoid interrogative phrasing. They should be written as statements instead.
  • Titles do not use end punctuation.
  • In a title, capitalize any word of four or more letters and capitalize all parts of a verb (if it is part of the infinitive, has, or the like).
  • Avoid the use of colons in the title.
  • Titles should be in plain text (this is a Walden-specific variance from APA 7) and be centered on the page.

For specific guidelines and help with title format, check out the program templates.

Examples of Titles

Wordy Title: "A Study of the Effects of Transformed Letters on Reading Speed"

Improved: "Effect of Transformed Letters on Reading Speed"

Vague and Wordy: "An Investigation of the Relationship Between Differentiated Instruction and Student Achievement"

Improved: "Differentiated Instruction's Influence on Student Achievement"