research proposal title page

research proposal title page

The Importance of a Well-Designed Research Proposal Title Page

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1. Introduction

An important part of the proposal is its title. A good title is easily accessible by the average reader and it should reflect the main thrust of the study. It is usually a good idea to provide a word or two indicating the key variable. But keep in mind that the title should be a statement. Many students make the mistake of writing a title that has two parts. The first part is a general statement and the second part is a new statement that adds details to the first statement. Typically, the second part is the most important, but there is no reason to have two parts to the title. The key point can be well stated in a single sentence. A title should be informative, but look at a variety of published articles to see how various authors have employed ideas that go beyond simply stating the problem. The title is the first part of your proposal that the readers will normally see. Therefore, it is crucial to capture their interest by making the title informative, interesting, and compact. An effective title will not contain superfluous words. The title is the aspect of your paper that will create an image of your work in the reader’s mind. A well-worded and well-thought-out title tells readers that they are about to read a well-thought-out and competent study.

2. Components of a Research Proposal Title Page

A well-written title page will also offer some insight into the method and design of an intended study. Included after the introduction to the study with the statement of the problem should be a detailed description of the nature of the study, research question(s), hypotheses, and an explanation of the type and the appropriateness of the method(s) used. This may serve as a useful point of reference for the investigator during the study to ensure that the research follows the initially intended outlines and to avoid any shifting in focus to unrelated topics or inclusion of irrelevant data, reducing the resources availability for conclusions on the intended issues.

Adequate development of a title page allows an individual the opportunity to afford the investigator an overview concerning the stated problem the researcher seeks to solve. A good title page should include “the title, an introduction to the study, usually one to three paragraphs in length, the statement of the problem, a concise explanation of what is to follow, and specific objectives, usually noted in point form” (p. 14). These components create a clear picture of the issues at hand and the nature of the study and allow a reviewer a chance to decide whether the research aligns with areas of concern or funds availability. (NDP)

In one of the book’s opening chapters, “Components of a Research Proposal Title Page,” the author asserts the importance of title page details by offering examples where details from the title page have influenced the outcome of a study. This chapter therefore offers an excellent tool in identifying the various elements that comprise a comprehensive research proposal title page, thus providing the first insight of opportunity for a student or researcher to develop a well-constructed research project.

3. Guidelines for Creating an Effective Title Page

Guideline 4: Avoid the use of a rhetorical question in the title. Using a question to represent the study is not effective, as the results of the question will most likely be inconclusive. According to Grewal & Levy (2008), the purpose of a title is to provide an overview of the study, but a question will arouse curiosity and cause people to assume the results. This will most likely lead to the question being answered or theorized incorrectly and could turn readers away from the study. An example given is an ethnographic study of a group of Australian Muslims, where the author has used the title “Are Muslim Australian Youth torn between two cultures?” The use of a question assumes that there is an issue and the youth are confused, a point that was not proven by the results of the study. Instead, the question should have been stated as a fact, and it is clear the title would have been more effective as “An Examination into Acculturation Issues Faced by Muslim Australian Youth.”

Guideline 3: Avoid using jargon and abbreviations in the title. Jargon and abbreviations should be avoided in a title, as not everyone will understand it. According to Hartley (2008), potential readers outside the author’s target audience may miss the point of the title and assume the study is on something different. This may convince them not to read the abstract. This could have serious implications in the cases of doctors misinterpreting medical study titles. Jargon can also make the title less readable. A good title is always readable and clearly represents the paper, drawing readers to read the abstract.

Guideline 2: Finding the balance between conciseness and informativeness in the title is crucial. While there is a suggested title word limit of 8-15 words, it is possible to sum up the study in less. Turtle suggests using a maximum of two sentences in the title, but it is essential that the information is clear and accurately represents the study. Potential readers will initially be drawn to the title as it is an overview of the paper; thus the title has to be informative enough to represent the contents of the paper. An informative title will interest people in the topic. An example of a bad title would be “A study into participation rates in sport for Australian women.” According to Turtle, this is too brief and does not represent the results. A better title would be “Australian women: do they play sport? An investigation into participation rates.” This title is more interesting and informative and sets a clearer context for the study.

Guideline 1: Use a persuasive tone in your response. A successful title should persuade readers to read the abstract. Wordplay is important, as is the association between the title and the topic. Turtle suggests using alliteration in the title to make it more memorable, but warns against overuse, as it can become irritating. An example of alliteration would be to use words like “created” and “colorful” in a title for consumer research on food. It is also important that the title clearly presents the results and draws attention to them. This must be done without being too provocative, or the title will be deemed inappropriate and may have to be changed. An example given is instead of using a title like “Are teachers necessary?” a title like “An examination into the necessity of teachers in the 21st century” would be more appropriate and draw attention to the results without offending anyone!

When considering the top qualities of an effective research paper title, the author can be confident that their title will meet the criteria, offering more impact. According to Turtle (2007) in “A Guide to Research Writing Papers and Dissertations,” the following elements are crucial in an effective title:

4. Examples of Well-Designed Research Proposal Title Pages

The Bluest Eye Research Proposal Title: An Investigation of the Evolution of Self Worth of African American Children. The title of the project is very important. A good title will spark interest in the content of the paper. By reading the title, one should get a feel or sense of what the project is about. This title clearly indicates what the thesis will be focused on, the self-image of African American children and how their worth is. It is a very broad topic. The word “investigation” suggests that this is a topic which has received little or no attention at all. This is true, since the children of the minority have been overlooked in many critical issues. One main asset to the title is the question of “how and why.” These are words that give life to any topic, since they are asking for a course of action and an explanation. Readers will be captivated at this point, seeking why the children have low self-image and worth, and how it occurred in the first place. The title basically sets the whole theme for the project, and what readers can expect over the next 50 or so pages.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, we believe that the title page is one of the most important aspects of the proposal. The title page not only tells the reader what the study is about, but it focuses attention on the proposal. Title page format is often dependent on the major that the proposal is being done for and/or the professor’s preference. Nonetheless, there are shared expectations for the basics of a title page. Keep in mind that the title page is generally the first thing that the reader will look at with the intent of determining whether or not the proposal is worth his/her time. Therefore, when an individual’s work is being evaluated the first thing the evaluator will be considering is value. It is important to give the title page great attention, time, and effort in order to ensure that the reader is fully interested in the proposal. This will only happen if the writer is interested in attracting readers to the proposal. This will successfully lead the proposal into the evaluation phase with the reader, and perhaps, more effectively so. With respect to the reader, the writer should be sure that the title page shows that it is targeting a specific audience. An effective title will reflect this. And finally, remember that all this may be done in given format contexts. Follow specific instructions first, but even then it may not hurt to ask the professor if slightly exceeding the expectations might produce a more effective title page.

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