Choosing an Effective Dissertation Title

Choosing an Effective Dissertation Title

A dissertation title requires considerable deliberation.  Every academic paper must have an interesting and informative title, and dissertations are no different.  Without exception, every dissertation should be clearly identified with a compelling, suggestive title that both informs prospective readers about the general topic of the document and incites reader interest.

A dissertation title is different from a research paper title in that it must not only be indicative of the content of the text, but also assist researchers in locating the document.  Unlike research papers, which typically go unpublished unless transformed into journal articles, most dissertations are published via a dissertation and thesis database known as UMI.  UMI gathers dissertations from most universities in the US and many universities from around the globe so that researchers can browse through the scholarship of doctoral candidates from around the world.  UMI requires that each dissertation in its database has a brief abstract that indicates what the document is about; it is through that abstract and the dissertation title that researchers determine if the thesis is one that is relevant to their search.  Therefore, dissertation titles should clearly indicate what the document's focus is so that researchers have a general idea about the content.  Not surprisingly, dissertations with clear titles get downloaded and read more often.  

In order to be both compelling and informative, dissertation titles often make use of a two-part structure: a primary title that cleverly names the work, and a sub-title that details what the thesis is truly about.  These two elements are frequently separated with a colon.  Therefore, a standard format for a dissertation title can be [compelling title]:[indicative sub-title].  Typically, the indicative sub-title will be considerably longer than the compelling title, as it must inform the reader of the content of the report, which may be quite complex.  Furthermore, the sub-title should strive to include words that reflect the type of document the thesis is (analysis, research study, etc.) and the primary object of its investigation.  For instance, if the dissertation were a literary analysis of Henry James' The Golden Bowl that focused primarily on symbolism in the novel, then the sub-title would be something like "An Analysis of Symbolism in James' The Golden Bowl."  That way, if a researcher were seeking literary analyses focusing on symbolism, they would immediately know that the report in question was related to their search.  Other researchers who were simply interested in analyses of The Golden Bowl or discussions of work by Henry James would also know that such a dissertation is prime reading for them.

Making a dissertation title compelling is much less formulaic.  This will require the writer to think creatively to determine a catchy title that will attract prospective readers.  Sometimes, the best way to come up with such a title is to solicit feedback from other students and advisors in order to generate creative ideas.

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The thesis title is a very important part of all thesis documents, as it introduces readers to the nature.  Many professors recommend that students create their theses titles only after they have completed writing their theses so that they can be sure that the title accurately reflects the content of the theses document.  Other professors recommend that students begin the entire thesis with the thesis title and use the title as a method of directing the content.

In order to understand the nature of the thesis title, it is important to understand what a thesis is, in general.  A thesis is a written work that a learner will create after researching a particular subject in depth.  Most students spend an entire semester working on their article papers.  In some cases, such as in a graduate degree program, the thesis is the single document that may help a learner to graduate or that may require that a student stay in a particular course longer.  

Thesis titles are important because they rest on the homepage of every thesis and introduce the reader to the report's subject matter.  In many cases, thesis titles also have to be located on the top right corner of every page of the thesis just in case the reader loses the thesis binding and has to reassemble the thesis.  

Some professors require that thesis titles are descriptive.  In such a case, the thesis title may be many words or lines, including a main title as well as a sub-title.  Other professors merely want a simple thesis title that is easy to read.  Students can discuss thesis title options with their professors in advance before they work on their own thesis titles.  

Just like a report, thesis titles often have to be edited for accuracy and consistency.  In some cases, students may spend days trying to decide on just one thesis title.  In such a case, the student may want to conduct a survey to decide which thesis title best resonates with readers.  

While the thesis title describes the content of the thesis, the title of the thesis is not the same as the topic.  Of course, thesis titles may hint at the topic, but the topic is a broad idea or set of ideas about which the entire thesis will be written.  The thesis titles do not necessarily summarize the topic, but they incorporate the topic so that readers will know that the article is related to the topic in some way.

Viewpoint of Author #3

For many learners, writing the report title is one of the most difficult parts of the writing process.  An essay title introduces the reader to the topic and the nature.  Essay titles are also the first things that readers will see when the look at an article.  Therefore, the report title should be well-written after thoughtful consideration into the topic.  

There are several steps that students should take as they try to find the perfect essay title.  First, learners should be sure that they understand the project requirements before they even begin the research and writing process.  Often, the report title will come directly from the project requirements and instructions.  

For example, if a student needs to write an essay on the ubiquitous of the Fibonacci sequence in nature, then the student should focus on nature and mathematic correlations as they relate to the specific Fibonacci sequence.  The title should reflect this specific project requirement, but it can only reflect this project requirement if the student has actually written a paper on the Fibonacci sequence in nature.  

Next, the student needs to do an adequate amount of data collection.  Often, learners will refine their document topic even further into one sub-topic.  If a student does refine his or her assignment topic to a sub-topic, then the title should reflect the sub-topic.  However, the pupil can only write an appropriate title after he or she has performed his or her research.  

Because of all of the requirements involved with developing an essay title, many professors believe that students should only create the title after they have written the document.  However, some professors also believe that students should create the title after they have created an outline, but before they have written the document.  These professors believe that the title will influence the direction and focus.  

Even though the report title may influence the direction and focus of the report, learners should not confuse the title with the thesis statement.  The thesis statement is a one-sentence statement that provides the basis for the document and states the point of the research.  While the title provides the basis for the report, it does not necessarily provide any indication of the conclusion, like a thesis would.  

The essay title also appears first on the cover page.  However, the thesis appears in the introduction as the first or last sentence.  Therefore, the thesis is part of the integral body of the document, whereas the title only appears once on the cover page.

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