You only get once chance to make a first impression, so when writing a dissertation it helps if you pick a good title. And while the title of your paper won’t determine whether you pass or fail, the information you provide therein can make your work easier to follow for the reader.
To make sure you set out on the right foot, the title of your dissertation should be clear and informative. It helps to think about what you want your reader to know from the moment they pick up your work (unlike a good novel, your dissertation doesn’t need a twist ending). So here are a few things to consider when picking a title for your dissertation.
1. What Is Your Research About?
The most vital thing that any dissertation title can do is communicate the topic and focus of your research. This includes the general area you’re researching and the specific aspect of this being investigated.
For instance, in a dissertation called “Barriers to Using Social Media in Marketing a Luxury Fashion Brand,” the topic is the marketing of luxury fashion brands and the focus is the factors preventing the use of social media.
2. Your Research Approach
Your research approach has a major impact on the results you achieve and it can help to include this in your title. For example, if you have conducted a large-scale survey of management strategy, you might pick a title such as “Management Strategy: A Quantitative Study of Current Practice.”
3. The Outcomes of Your Research
More specific is better when it comes to the results of your research.
Rather than calling your dissertation “Factors Influencing Recovery from Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries,” it makes sense to specify the kind of factors being investigated. Are they success factors? Factors which impede recovery? Stating this in the title means your reader will know immediately.
Find this useful?
Subscribe to our newsletter and get writing tips from our editors straight to your inbox.
Seeking a second opinion on your title can be helpful. Try asking a friend or professor to check it for clarity. If they can tell what your work is about from the title alone, you’re doing a good job. If not, think of how you can make it clearer. It is also advisable to avoid acronyms in titles for this reason.
Overly long titles can be confusing or off-putting. Regardless of how good the work is, for instance, only the most dedicated are going to want to read a paper called “In silico exploration of the fructose-6-phosphate phosphorylation step in glycolysis: genomic evidence of the coexistence of an atypical ATP-dependent along with a PPi-dependent phosphofructokinase in Propionibacterium freudenreichii subsp. shermanii.”
Check your college’s style guide for how to format your title. Different institutions have different requirements when it comes to factors like capitalization, so you’ll need to make sure you get your formatting right.
7. Uniqueness and Humor
Generally, it is good if your title makes your dissertation stand out. It is also tempting to use a humorous title, though this is best saved for when writing for a popular audience. Neither uniqueness nor humor, however, should come at the expense of communicating important details about your work.
Hopefully these tips will have helped you come to a decision over your dissertation title. But if not, then our expert proofreaders can let you know of any issues to do with the title and headings in your dissertation, as well as providing a variety of services to ensure the quality of your work. For more information about writing a dissertation or thesis, read our full dissertation writing guide.