The following is an excerpt from Celia Millward and Jane Flick, Handbook for Writers, Canadian Edition (Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Ltd., 1985), pp. 344–345.

Every paper should have a title, which should specify or at least suggest the contents of the paper. A good title is more specific than simply a description of the general subject area of the paper. That is, if your instructor has assigned a paper on cheating in schools, your title should not be simply “Cheating in Schools.” To avoid overly general titles, it is best to postpone deciding on a title until after you have formulated a thesis statement or, even better, until after you have written your first draft.

Titles should not be long; if you title takes up more than one line on the page, try to shorten it. For example, “A Description of the Old Open-Air Market in Kitchener” can easily be shortened to “Kitchener’s Open-Air Market.” Catchy titles are appealing to the reader but are more appropriate for informal or humorous topics than for serious topics. In any case, don’t spend a great deal of time trying to think of a catchy title; a straightforward descriptive title is always acceptable.

Although a good title does not necessarily reveal the rhetorical type of a paper, it does provide an indication of it. Listed below are three broad subject areas. Possible titles are given for papers in each subject area and for each rhetorical type.

tobacco exposition How To Roll Your Own Cigarettes
argument Why Snuff Should Replace Cigarettes
description The Parphernalia of a Pipe-Smoker
narration My First Encounter with Chewing Tobacco
automobiles exposition Developing a Nonpolluting Engine
argument Teen-agers Make the Best Drivers
description My New Datsun 200 SX
narration Tragedy on the Trans-Canada
fires exposition Arson: The Fastest-Growing Crime
argument Smoke Detectors Are Worthless
description Our House After the Fire
narration The Great London Fire of 1666