CRLS Research Guide
Making a Title PageTip Sheet 20
Ask these questions:
Why is this so important?
The title page is the first thing teachers see and it makes a big impression on them. Even if you write a great paper, an incomplete or messy title page will give your teacher the impression that you aren't very careful. Then they'll be looking for mistakes and problems instead of being open to how good your work might be.
What do I need to put on a title page?
If they don't let you know, here is some standard information that is usually required:
Small School #
Date of turning in the project
Title of your project
Title of the class
Period of your section
The teacher's name
What should the title page look like?
1. Use only one or two fonts. More than two can be confusing to read.
2. Use a clear font that is easy to read.
3. Keep it simple. Too many words or pictures can have a distracting or confusing effect.
4. Keeping all of the lines starting on either the left or right margin is easier to read and creates a stronger visual impression than centered text or random placement. The first example shows the text lined up on the left margin and the second shows the text lined up on the right margin.
Here are some examples of clean, strong, simple title pages:
The Amazon Rain Forest:
Principles of Science
Is Harmony in Our Future?
Predictions on the future of Race Relations in America for the 21st Century
If you would like to add a graphic (picture), use one that doesn't overpower the text because it is too big, or so small that it isn't clear.
Or, you could do a large background graphic in a lighter colored ink. That would also be attractive and appropriate.
Just make sure there is contrast between the background and the words so that the words are readable.
The title page is the first page of your psychology paper. In order to make a good first impression, it is important to have a well-formatted title page in proper APA format that clearly represents your paper.
The following format should be used in both psychology lab reports and research articles. Your instructor may also request that you use a similar format for other types of psychology writing.
Elements of a Title Page
- Article title
- Author’s name
- Author's school affiliation
- Running head
- Page number
How to Choose a Good Title
One of the most difficult tasks is choosing a good title. Your title should be as specific as possible. Notice the titles used in the following examples:
- [Specific] "Second-order Beliefs and the Use of Self-Presentational Explanations for Behavior"
- [General] "Cognitive Abilities and Social Understanding"
The best way to structure you title is to look at your hypothesis and experimental variables. For example: "The Effects of [Independent Variable] on [Dependent Variable]"
The official APA publication manual notes that your title should be brief, yet it should communicate the main topic and variables of interest. Your goal should be to craft a title that can stand alone and be fully explanatory without further elaboration. A reader browsing through paper titles in an online database should be able to quickly read your title and know exactly what your paper is about.
You should also avoid words that serve no real purpose or that do not communicate essential information. Some examples of such words and phrases include “An Experiment on…,” “A Study of…”, “method,” or “results.”
How Long Should a Title Be?
The APA publication manual suggests that your title should be no more than 12 words long.
Author’s Name and School Affiliation
The next element of your title page is the byline, which lists the author’s name as well as their institutional affiliation. Listing your first name, middle initial(s), and last name is the recommended format. Do not include abbreviations of titles or degrees such as Dr. or Ph.D.
The institutional affiliation should be the location where the research was conducted, most often a college or university. In some cases, research may have been supported by more than one institution. For these instances, only include two affiliations if both schools offered substantial support to the research and only list two affiliations for every author. What should you do if you were not affiliated with an academic institution when the research was conducted? In this instance, the APA suggests listing your city and state of residence in place of the academic affiliation.
- A running head should be included in the upper left-hand corner on all pages, including the title page.
- All pages, including the title page, should also have a page number in the upper right-hand corner.
- The first line of your title page should be left-aligned at the top of the page, using the following format:
Running head: PAGE TITLE
Note that the running head should be listed as no more than fifty characters, including letters, spacing between words, and punctuation of your title in uppercase letters.
- Your title, name, and school should be double-spaced and centered on the page.
A Quick Title Page Checklist:
- Does your title page contain a title, your name, your school affiliation, a running head, and a page number?
- Is your title clear, specific, and does is accurately describe what your paper is about?
- Is your running head in uppercase format and no longer than fifty characters in length?
- Is the title, your name, and school affiliation centered on the page and double-spaced?
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Author: Washington, DC.