Skip to Main Content

++

FUNCTIONS

++

Titles of biomedical journal articles have two functions: to identify the main topic or the message of the paper and to attract readers.

++

CONTENT OF TITLES FOR HYPOTHESIS-TESTING PAPERS

++

Stating the Topic in the Title

++

The standard title of a biomedical research paper is a phrase that identifies the topic of the paper. For a hypothesis-testing paper, the topic includes three pieces of information: the independent variable(s) that you manipulated, if any (X), the dependent variable(s) you observed or measured (Y), and the animal or population and the material on which you did the work (Z). The animal studied must always be included in the title, whether or not the animal studied is included in the question and the answer. If necessary, two other pieces of information may also be included in the title: the condition of the animals or subjects during the study and the experimental approach.

++
Titles for Papers That Have Both Independent and Dependent Variables
++

For studies that have both independent and dependent variables, the standard form of the title is

+

Effect of X on Y in Z.

++

Example 11.1

Image not available.

++

Note that in this standard form, the animal, population, or material studied comes at the end of the title.

++

When humans are studied, they are often omitted from the title, as in Example 11.2, though it is clearest to include "humans" in the title, as in Example 11.22 below.

++

Example 11.2

Effect of Membrane Splitting on Transmembrane Polypeptides

++

However, when a subpopulation of humans was studied, the subpopulation is always included in the title.

++

Example 11.3

Effects of Esmolol on Airway Function in Patients Who Have Asthma

++

For the negative implication to work (no population in the title implies that the population is humans), the animal must always be included in the title when the work was done on animals.

++
Titles for Papers That Have Only Dependent Variables
++

For hypothesis-testing studies that have only dependent variables, the standard form of the title is

+

Y in Z,

++

where Y is the dependent variable(s)—that is, the variable(s) observed or measured—and Z is the animal or population and the material on which the work was done. For examples, see the revisions of Examples 11.25 and 11.27 below. Also see Example 11.36 below.

++
Other Information in the Title
++

In addition to these essential pieces of information (X, Y, and Z), the title of a hypothesis-testing paper may sometimes include the condition the subjects or the animals were in during the experiments (Example 11.4) or the experimental approach (Example 11.5), if these details are important.

++

Example ...

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.