In Kate L. Turabian’s "A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Dissertations, and Theses (8th edition)," she suggests that you write your title last. Why? Here are 3 reasons:
Remember our blog post on note taking? One of the key points in those notes was leaving key words at the top of the paper underneath the bibliographic information. These keywords are the words that you are going to want to craft and place carefully in your title. Basically, it wouldn’t really make sense to “guess” what your keywords are going to be and create a title beforehand.
Another reason that Turabian gives for waiting until the end and using keywords to write a title is that people will “feel that its parts hang together” (p. 110). If your title is “Pokémon” and you talk about a wide range of things that are Pokémon related, your readers will think that the title was too weak.
On the other hand, if your title is something like “Pokémon Go: A Fitness Influence,” your reader is going to notice that fitness and influence are keywords that are found throughout your paper. This will make your paper feel like a cohesive whole. Do your best to make an all-encompassing title that is also specific.
A last detail to note about your title is that it should “announce the topic of your report and communicate its conceptual framework” (p. 110). Based on this information, we can definitely improve the second title. If you are focusing on one area, let us know what the subheadings are! For example: “Pokemon Go: A Low-Impact and Low-Intensity Fitness Influence.” Now, your reader is going to understand that your paper will be broken up into two very specific sections.
Waiting till the end is definitely the best time to write your title, but if you can’t wait because it’s distracting you, make a working title that you will replace in the end. If you need help writing a title, make an appointment and come see us today!