Can I use a question mark in the title of my APA paper


Answered By: Linda Kern
Last Updated: Dec 12, 2016     Views: 17244


The APA Manual doesn't specifically address punctuating the title of an article. It calls for the title to be a "concise statement" (p. 23) of the ideas under investigation. The title should stand alone in conveying a summary of the article and not be dependent on the abstract. The recommended length of an APA style title is no more than 12 words. Abbreviations should not be used.

However, the APA Style Blog anticipates that authors will use question marks in titles and instructs us that the question mark will take the place of the period following the title in a reference entry. "Correct: Raftopoulos, A. (2009). Cognition and perception: How do psychology and neural science inform philosophy? Cambridge, MA: MIT Press." (

Given the evidence, I'd say it is OK to use a question mark as long as the title meets the requirements above.

Thanks for asking a librarian.

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