So there are some strong opinions about paper titles. Some are very much against cheeky, “cute” paper titles. Some hunt for the most memorable ones. Some argue that the paper title should actually deliver the bottom line of the paper up front. There’s even a Twitter account called “Cliffhanger Paper Titles” (@SayWhatYouFound) that is “[s]narking on papers with uninformative titles since 2018.”
Some great titles in this “tell us what you found already” camp would be
- Mummolo, Jonathan. 2018. “Militarization Fails to Enhance Police Safety or Reduce Crime but May Harm Police Reputation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115(37): 9181–86.
- Lockhart, Mackenzie et al. 2020. “America’s Electorate Is Increasingly Polarized along Partisan Lines about Voting by Mail during the COVID-19 Crisis.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(40): 24640–42.
My opinion is: why not both? In a lot of cases, paper titles are better plain and informative. Some can afford to be memorable by having some elements of fun. Use such strategies sparingly, though.
So what are some fun, memorable paper titles in social sciences? Here’s my pick in no particular order, subfields classified by journal:
- Munger, Kevin. 2017. “Tweetment Effects on the Tweeted: Experimentally Reducing Racist Harassment.” Political Behavior 39(3): 629–49. This one takes the cake for now.
- Wand, Jonathan N. et al. 2001. “The Butterfly Did It: The Aberrant Vote for Buchanan in Palm Beach County, Florida.” American Political Science Review 95(4): 793–810.
- Theodoridis, Alexander G. 2017. “Me, Myself, and (I), (D), or (R)? Partisanship and Political Cognition through the Lens of Implicit Identity.” The Journal of Politics 79(4): 1253–67.
- Dil, Shaheen F. 1977. “The Cabal in Kabul: Great-Power Interaction in Afghanistan.” American Political Science Review 71(2): 468–76.: this was Bill LeoGrande’s suggestion.
- Mason, Lilliana. 2015. “‘I Disrespectfully Agree’: The Differential Effects of Partisan Sorting on Social and Issue Polarization.” American Journal of Political Science 59(1): 128–45.: this was John V. Kane’s suggestion.
- Kane, John V., and Ian G. Anson. 2022. “Deficit Attention Disorder: Partisanship, Issue Importance and Concern About Government Overspending.” Political Behavior.
- Anson, Ian G., and John V. Kane. 2022. “Ought It Audit? Information, Values, and Public Support for the Internal Revenue Service.” Journal of Experimental Political Science: 1–12.
- Gray, Julia. 2018. “Life, Death, or Zombie? The Vitality of International Organizations.” International Studies Quarterly 62(1): 1–13.: this was Le Bao’s suggestion.
- Krehbiel, Keith. 1993. “Where’s the Party?” British Journal of Political Science 23(2): 235–66. And in a similar vein, Whiteley, Paul F. 2011. “Is the Party over? The Decline of Party Activism and Membership across the Democratic World.” Party Politics 17(1): 21–44.
- Fowler, Anthony et al. 2022. “Moderates.” American Political Science Review: 1–18. A one-word title! This was Josh McCrain’s suggestion.
- Neumayer, Eric, and Thomas Plümper. 2016. “W.” Political Science Research and Methods 4(1): 175–93. A real power move. Trouble is, this one-letter title makes it impossible to find via Google Scholar and Zotero.
And my own, if I may:
- Kim, Seo-young Silvia. 2022. “Automatic Voter Reregistration as a Housewarming Gift: Quantifying Causal Effects on Turnout Using Movers.” American Political Science Review: 1–8.
- Wollmann, Thomas G. 2020. “How to Get Away with Merger: Stealth Consolidation and Its Effects on US Healthcare.” mimeo.
- Davies, Ronald B., Julien Martin, Mathieu Parenti, and Farid Toubal. 2018. “Knocking on Tax Haven’s Door: Multinational Firms and Transfer Pricing.” The Review of Economics and Statistics 100(1): 120–34.
- DellaVigna, Stefano, and Ulrike Malmendier. 2006. “Paying Not to Go to the Gym.” American Economic Review 96(3): 694–719.
- Dube, Oeindrila, and S. P. Harish. 2020. “Queens.” Journal of Political Economy 128(7): 2579–2652.
- Kremer, Michael, and Charles Morcom. 2000. “Elephants.” American Economic Review 90(1): 212–34. This was Ryan Briggs’ suggestion. More about one-word titles: https://twitter.com/JustinSandefur/status/1408526421560025091?s=20
And some more for the jokes:
- Goodman, Allen C., Joshua Goodman, Lucas Goodman, and Sarena Goodman. 2015. “A Few Goodmen: Surname-Sharing Economist Coauthors.” Economic Inquiry 53(2): 1392–95.
- Smith, Gregor W. 2008. “Japan’s Phillips Curve Looks Like Japan.” Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 40(6): 1325–26.
- Gilbert, E., T. Bergstrom, and K. Karahalios. 2009. “Blogs Are Echo Chambers: Blogs Are Echo Chambers.” In 2009 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, , 1–10.: this was Aaron Veenstra’s suggestion.
- Van Dyke, Marley C Caballero, Marcus M Teixeira, and Bridget M Barker. 2019. “Fantastic Yeasts and Where to Find Them: The Hidden Diversity of Dimorphic Fungal Pathogens.” Current Opinion in Microbiology 52: 55–63.