Naming your research project can be tricky, so we find out whether an online acronym generator tool can help you come up with an acronym with impact
Acronyms – love them or loathe them – are vital language tools in our everyday lives.
We use acronyms to disguise long-winded descriptive names with snappy and fun abbreviations. But sometimes we feel like they are just there for the sake of it.
You might say the space industry is the connoisseur of creating snappy acronyms. For example, the DART mission – the recent Double Asteroid Redirection Test to determine, if we were in a Deep Impact or Armageddon-like situation with an asteroid heading to Earth, whether we might be able to prevent mass extinction!
As an acronym DART is simple, catchy, and describes exactly what they were planning to do – fire a dart into an asteroid – genius! And as a mission name to stick in the minds of the general public, this is the best option (besides Shooty McAsteroidface…)
How do you come up with an acronym?
There are some helpful auto-generating tools out there to help you find an acronym, but are they any good or do they just spit out a jumble of letters?
So let’s put them through their paces…
Here is an example random project name we are going to try and get a good acronym for:
Promoting equity in science higher education
Acronym generator 1: Acronymify
On the Acronymify site, all you need to do is type words into the search bar and press ‘Search’ to find an acronym.
It quickly returned 690 suggestions in 2.46 seconds, proudly stated at the top of the search page.
At the top of the results page is a slider to control how many words the site uses to generate the acronym, automatically set at 3. But you cannot specify which words it prioritises. Then there are three columns, the first being the suggested acronym, then the expanded acronym, and then a score.
It is unclear what this score means, as it increases going down the results. It might be based on whether the first letter of the words are being used in the acronym, or more likely a combination of multiple things that are not explained…
Looking at the top three suggestions PREHEAT, PROMETHEAN and PEEN quickly demonstrate that, with these settings, the suggested acronyms are completely unrelated to the key aspects of the project we would want to abbreviate. None of them include the word ‘science’, but all at least include ‘equity’, but that might just be by accident…
A way to prioritise the words included in the acronym would be helpful.
Scrolling down, acronyms that caught my eye included QUICHE – eQUity In sCience Higher Education (score of 3.6), PICNIC – Promoting In sCieNce hIgher eduCation (score of 7.2), and perhaps ironically REGRET – pRomoting Equity hiGheR EducaTion (score of 6.0).
In fact, some were very inappropriate including OGRE, CHEAT, and RESIGN.
So unfortunately, on this occasion, with this example, an interesting but also relevant acronym was not found. However, this is not to say that a different project name might return better results. As a positive the site was very quick and did provide a lot of suggestions.
Acronym Generator 2: Acronym-generator.com
Acronym-generator.com is the next on our list. The first limitation is that you need to enter between 2 and 5 words to generate acronyms. It might also be worth making sure your ad blocker is switched on, as there are a lot of ads on this site – though as it’s provided for free, we don’t begrudge them making a little income from a useful tool.
There were some useful ideas here among the 300 results, and the tool sticks to the keywords we’d entered. But seeing as the acronyms generated seem to be random sequences of letters, you might need to wade through the results to find anything useful. As one of our keywords contain the letter Q, a lot of the acronyms do too but without the U that would usually go after it.
Acronym Generator 3: NAME – Nice Acronym Made Easy
This site is a little more hands on, because you need to manually select ‘Chosen Acronym’ and ‘Require some’ (then specify up to 4 words to specifically include) or ‘Require All’ to tell the site to generate an acronym from the words you provide. This took a few goes to figure out.
Choosing ‘Require some’, the search ultimately took a few seconds to load and returned six options (it says 15, but these were the same acronyms but had the project name words in a different order).
It comes up with a pop-up to inform you that because it is an unfiltered generator some suggestions may be offensive, and apologies for this. This was appreciated after the previous generator…
However, the acronym suggestions themselves are not great. PENALISE used Nasal…? Some include words that were not even included in the project name, but this can actually help if you’re still brainstorming the project name itself.
We also tried Acrogen and had a bit of a shock…
Acrogen has some really positive comments on its website, but when we tried it, the only options it came up with were rude, or it just came up with an error message. It’s hard to believe that it’s a prank website with the glowing reviews, so maybe it got hacked so that it will only show inappropriate suggestions.
So, if you want a meaningful acronym for serious use, this is not the acronym generator for you. Although, if you are after a risqué acronym to make your project memorable, then this is just right! It may be worth keeping an eye on Acrogen if it starts to work properly again.
So which is the best project acronym generator?
In summary, all three acronym generators suggested real words that could be pronounced, no initialisms. But interestingly, they all presented completely different options, no two proposed the same acronym…
So, reviewing these acronym generators, we’d would actually come back to generator 1 – Acronymify. Because it offers considerably more suggestions where you are much more likely to find one that fits your needs. It also has modifiable parameters to generate different acronyms from the same project name. So, despite the unexplained acronym score, we’d try this acronym generator first.
But there is still considerable scope to improve these generators. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to specify the words to prioritise, to give the generator a theme or genre to concentrate on, and to remove unusable rude options…
We can generate a project acronym for you
Sometimes automatic tools have their limits, and there’s no substitute for a human expert.
Are you finding it hard to make an IMPACT (Innovatively Masterminded, Powerful Acronym to Create Trust)? Save time by using our Project Acronym Creator service. We’ll have a 15-minute call to discuss your project and the relevant keywords.
Then once you’ve sent us the project brief, we’ll send you 3 acronym ideas within 7 working days, along with suggested web addresses that are available. 1 year’s registration of a .uk, .org, .com or .eu (if you have an EU postal address) domain name of your choice is included (not including premium domain names).
Contact us to find out more, or have a look at the other specialist services we provide for academic research projects.