Publication details [#66575]

Yang, Wenhsien. 2019. A diachronic keyword analysis in research article titles and cited article titles in applied linguistics from 1990 to 2016. English Text Construction 12 (1) : 84–102.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Due to the competitiveness in academic publication and the emerging heavy reliance on Internet search engines to expand visibility and readership and to promote publications, writing an attractive and appropriate research article title is essential. In addition, titles may be the first aspect of papers evaluated by journal editors in their screening of submissions in order to meet the requirements of the target audience. These demands call for the use of various academic writing skills, and thus make writing titles challenging. Research on structuring journal article titles has been extensively conducted across disciplines, but what keywords (i.e. lexical items highly distinctive of the titles) are employed to reflect current knowledge and receive high citations is still under-researched. To bridge this gap, the present corpus-driven research collected and investigated titles written in leading applied linguistics journals over 25 years to identify their keywords. These were compared to different time spans to study the significance and relevance of the domain knowledge. The most frequently cited articles were also selected to study how their titles relate to keyword use and to investigate their impact on the domain knowledge. The results reveal that keywords vary in accordance with the research trends over time. In addition, while titles are becoming longer, more keywords are employed by authors in order to expand the paper’s visibility and enhance the citations. The pedagogical implications for teaching academic writing, and suggestions for researching this appendant genre are provided.