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Can an Essay Title be a Question? How to Write Good Titles

Writing essay title

Coming up with a good essay title can be an issue for many students. This is because students are required to come up with a creative and catchy title that summarizes everything that is going to be discussed within the paper. 

Essay titles can take various forms depending on the contents of your essay and the perspective you want to create in regards to your readers. What do you want them to think about while reading the rest of your paper? 

Can an Essay Title be a Question?

Most students want to use creative essay titles but sometimes lack creativity. One of them is using questions. If you have an essay that you are sure it thesis is arguable in two ways, then using a question for your essay is a creative idea. But is it possible?

An essay title can be a question if it is well-framed to suit the topic that one is writing about. The question should be relevant to the arguments made in the essay and reflective of the thesis that the writer proposes to prove. However, if the essay is more argumentative or persuasive, it is advisable to use a statement that summarizes the thesis.

While good essay titles usually take the form of a phrase, they can also be in the form of a question. However, when an essay title is in the form of a question, make sure that the question is relevant to the essay’s contents. 

Example of a title

As aforementioned, essay titles, be they phrases or questions, should summarize the main ideas of your study.

They should contain the fewest possible words that effectively and adequately describe the purpose and/or contents of your essay.

The title is read first by the reader and it is the text that is read the most. 

As such, it should be concise to avoid including too much unnecessary information.

On the other hand, if the title is too short, it will be too general. This is because it will not narrow down the scope of your study.

Therefore, if you follow the required parameters when coming up with an essay title, you are good to go even when the title is in the form of a question. That being said, it is important to understand how to write good essay titles. 

How to Write Good Essay Titles

1. Use Relevant Keywords

The first step in writing good essay titles is to find the correct or appropriate keywords that describe what your essay is all about.

At times, your instructor can provide research questions that you are required to adhere to. You can use some of the keywords here.

writing a title

However, the best method of finding the appropriate keywords is through your thesis statement.

How come this is the case?

Well, it is advisable to title your essay after you have written the essay.

As such, you will come up with a better topic based on the content.

You will also have the main claim of your paper or the thesis statement of your paper. 

If you have already written your thesis statement in the last sentence of your research paper, you can select the keywords and include them in your title. You can even format the title as a question as long as it communicates the keywords. 

2. Focus your Title to the topic

The second step in coming up with a good title for your essay is to focus on it. This should come after you have decided on the keywords to be included. This can be found in the introduction part. Read how to start an essay well and know the way to get off to a good start.

You should include further detail that instantly communicates to the reader what the essay will be about. The title should be in line with the rest of the essay.

For example, the title “Decriminalizing Marijuana” is not focused. However, if you rewrite it into “The Social Impact of Decriminalizing Marijuana”, the title will be more focused. 

3. Format the Title well

When formatting the title, make sure that you capitalize the keywords. However, some words do not need to be capitalized unless they begin the title or appear after a colon within the title.


Those words include articles (a, an, the), prepositions (with, of, in, besides), coordinating conjunctions (and, for, but, nor, so, or, yet), and the word to in infinitives (to be, to love).  

You can transform a phrase title into a question if you feel experimental.

For example, if the title is “The Social Impact of Decriminalizing Marijuana”, it can be rewritten in question form like: “Decriminalizing Marijuana:

Does it have a Social Impact?” or “Does Decriminalizing Marijuana have a Social Impact?”

Also, it is good to remember that some titles may be written in italics if they meet certain criteria. Read such criteria in our guide on how some essay titles can be italicized to learn more about how it is done.

In summary, when writing essay titles, write the title after you have written the essay, base the title on your thesis, create short and precise titles that are focused, avoid abbreviations and jargon, and avoid negative themes if possible. 

Unique Examples of College Essay Titles

  1. Does Decriminalizing Marijuana have a Social Impact?
  2. An evaluation of how antioxidants work in our bodies?
  3. Is there an association between viewing violence on television and the display of violent acts?
  4. What motivational climate should a coach employ to achieve optimal performance in athletes?
  5. How does the X hormone affect human behavior?
  6. What role did economics play in the unification of Germany from 1834 to 1871?
  7. How does the sugar concentration affect the refractive index of water?
  8. What factors influence the location of industries in country/city X?

Argumentative Essay Title Examples

  1. Marriage is becoming old-fashioned
  2. Money is the key to happiness
  3. Consumerism is negative
  4. Social media is changing how we communicate
  5. Education is the key to reduce crime
  6. Parents should choose the careers for their children
  7. Brexit is a mistake.
  8. There is no other life in the universe