Do declarative titles affect readers’ perceptions of research findings? A randomized trial

Last modified: July 27, 2017

Although many journals rule out the use of declarative titles, little research has been done about the effect of such titles. The assumption among editors seems to be that declarative titles, unlike descriptive titles, tend to influence readers on how they value the strength of the evidence and study conclusions.

This small, exploratory study (144 participants) on the effects of declarative titles on readers’ perceptions, suggest a different view. No evidence was found that the use of such titles has a real impact on readers. The researchers encourage editors, publishers and funders of medical research to look further into the effects of reporting formats and styles on reader comprehension and perception.

Publication

Title: Do declarative titles affect readers’ perceptions of research findings? A randomized trial
Authors: Wager E, Altman DG, Simera I, Toma T P.
doi: 10.1186/s41073-016-0018-3 (2016)

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