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意得輯觀點 Editage Insights - Tips to write informative and logical headings
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論文撰寫
如何撰寫資訊充足及條理分明的標題

雖然許多研究報告依照IMRaD格式(IMRaD:Introduction, Material and methods, Results, and Discussion)為章節標題,您可以選擇適合的副標題幫助讀者快速了解您論文的範圍與架構。一般而言,讀者通常先閱讀論文標題,若標題引起他們的興趣,他們會快速瀏覽過內容、圖表及章節標題,若以上內容十分精彩,讀者便會接著閱讀摘要。因此,章節標題提供讀者一個很有參考價值的文章切入點。以下為幾個訣竅,幫助您了解如何撰寫好標題:

畫組織結構圖:
組織結構圖通常用來表示一個組織架構、部門如何依照層級安排。章節標題也有著同樣的功能,請試著以組織結構圖的方式畫出您的論文架構,主要章節標題放在第一或最上方,副標題則說明主章節標題如何被配置,小標題則對應副標題進一步說明副標題的配置。當您畫出組織結構圖後,撰寫論文時可將之作為大綱參照。

將章節標題限制在三個階層: 對於典型的研究論文而言,大綱安排三個階層已經足夠,然而對於評論文章、書籍篇章、或一份報告則可能安排更多階層。研究論文限制在三個階層可幫助讀者在瀏覽論文時快速掌握討論範籌,反之,若論文涵蓋太多階層,則令人難以清楚了解論文的概念。

在每個副標題中使用一致的文法架構: 有時又被稱為「平行架構」,一致的文法架構意指所有標題都一致為名詞、片語或句子,以此篇文章為例,所有副標題都為完整句子,以一篇描述農作物科學實驗的論文為例,「方法」主章節標題下的副標題可為:品種、播種、肥料、殺蟲、豐收,「播種」以下的次標題可包含:播種日期、播種深度及播種間距。

請切記章節標題之於論文如同路標之於道路:運用適切的標題將能引導讀者順利地了解論文重點。
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Tips to write informative and logical headings


Although many research papers that follow the so-called IMRaD format (Introduction, Materials and methods, Results, and Discussion) use these words as their main headings, you can choose appropriate subheadings to help your readers get a quick overview of the scope of your paper and its structure. Typically, readers see the title of a paper and, if that interests them, skim through the paper, looking at tables and figures and headings. And if these look promising, the readers will probably read the abstract. Therefore, headings offer a useful entry point into a paper, and it is important to write them so that they are effective. Here are a few tips.


Draw an organogram:
Organograms are typically used to show how an organization is structured and how its parts are arranged in a hierarchy. Since headings serve the same purpose, try drawing an organogram to show the structure of your paper. The main headings will be the first or the top tier; the subheadings will show how a given main heading is divided; and the minor headings will show how each topic that corresponds to a subheading is divided further. Once you have the organogram, use it as an outline while writing the paper.

Limit the number of levels to three: For a typical research paper, three levels of headings are usually enough, although a review paper, a chapter in a book, or a report may have to use more levels. Limiting the levels to three makes it possible for those who skim through the paper to get an idea of the scope of the paper. If there are more levels, the overall picture beings to fade.

Use a consistent grammatical structure for every set of subheadings: Sometimes referred to as “parallel structure,” a consistent grammatical structure means writing all headings under a given heading as nouns or phrases or sentences. In this post, for example, all the subheadings are complete sentences. A paper describing a field experiment in crop sciences, for example, may use the following as subheadings under the main headingMethods: Cultivar, Sowing, Fertilizers, Pest control, and Harvesting. The subheadings under Sowing may include Date of sowing, Depth of sowing, and Spacing.

Do remember that headings are to a paper what signposts are to a route: choose your headings well and your readers will have a smooth ride.

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