Syntactic Structures in Research Article Titles from Three Different Disciplines: Applied Linguistics, Civil Engineering, and Dentistry

Document Type: Research Paper


Sheikhbahaee University


Deducing what a paper is about, titles are considered as the most important determinant of how many people will read the article. Therefore, studying the use of different syntactic structures and their rhetorical functions in titles is of great significance. The current study was set to investigate these structures used in research article titles in three disciplines of Applied Linguistics, Dentistry, and Civil Engineering.  To this end, 420 research articles were randomly selected from four reputable journals in each field and their titles were analyzed based on Dietz’s (1995) taxonomy for syntactic structure of article titles. The findings of the study indicated that, although there are some similarities in title structures, there are some discipline specific differences. Such differences observed not only in title components, but also in title length and style. These differences reflect the academic conventions of title construction in different disciplines; moreover, they show communicative or rhetorical features emphasized in characterizing the nature and content of research in that discipline. These findings suggest several courses of action for different members of the English for Specific Purposes community.


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