Here are some tips on titles and abstracts that might help in getting your journal article accepted. There is no magic formula of course but you might find some of these ideas helpful and inspiring.
How do you develop your title?
Ideally you would like your research to be read by many other scholars and hopefully cited as well, right? This is where your title can help attract readers. Wouldn’t it be great if your research could reach a wide audience of scholars and, with any luck, be referenced by them? The London School of Economics has released a complimentary guide titled Maximizing the Influence of Your Research to help you achieve this goal. This is a huge document. One key point in the executive summary is: “Academics who wish to improve the citation rate of their journal articles should ensure that title names are informative and memorable, and that their abstracts contain key ‘bottom line’ or ‘take-away points’”. The first few pages of Chapter 4 include some practical tips. Page 100 shows examples of titles ranging from very good to poor, with explanations of why.
How do you write a good abstract?
You have probably designed more abstracts, introductions and summaries than you can remember. Maybe one of the best approaches is to try to step away from your abstract and title. Try looking at them from the point of view of other researchers. This is easier to write about than to do. For me, a good break and some physical exercise help to develop a fresh perspective. Sometimes also what has been at the back of my mind can emerge into clarity after some time away from the process.
Is there any better time to submit your article?
Sending it during the working week might be better than on a weekend. James Hartley’s article gives some strong evidence for this, though it is limited to three research articles involving six journals.
How do you know when you are finished?
There is a lot of value in taking breaks, then returning to your research and writing. This helps you come back with fresh eyes. Then rather than reworking the information again and again, you might find it easier to move forward to that conclusion and keep some information and ideas in reserve for the next research project.