How to Choose a Dissertation Title

Does a title really make that big a difference when it comes to anything? In truth, it truly does make a difference. The right title for a book, movie, or even a song can be the determining factor on whether or not someone decides to look further at the particular item. A title that does not elicit any interest in the reader is going to leave them moving on to the next book, movie, or song.

The same rules apply to the title of your dissertation. Regardless of your title, at least one person will read your dissertation upon completion, for grading purposes. If your title is lacking in its ability to gain other readers interest, you are almost guaranteeing that no one else will take the time to read the result of all your hard work.

Creating the perfect dissertation requires a bit of thinking. It is also a process. When choosing your dissertation title you will want to start with a working title.

The Purpose of a Working Title:

You might ask yourself, why start with a working title? Why not create a title, stick with it, and use it upon finalization of your dissertation. The reason you want a working title is that depending on your research, you need a working title that is not too broad, nor too narrow. You need freedom to do the necessary research to develop the best dissertation your abilities allow. Furthermore, if you create a dissertation title that is too specific from the outset you are severely limiting topic and research freedoms.

You might determine you want to do your dissertation on Northern European Art of the 15th and 16th Centuries. Upon doing research narrow your focus to the influence of Northern European painters on modern art. Remember, once you have submitted your proposal and your title, you cannot deviate from that area of exploration. In one respect, you can use your working title as a means by which you maintain interest and stay focused on piecing together your dissertation.

Your Final Title

Your final title differs from your working title in that it is not providing you with motivation and a source of focus. Your final title placed on the dissertation offers your reader with a summary of your dissertation topic and your argument. Furthermore, the dissertation should grab the attention of the reader and the desired audience. Your final title should cause people to react with enthusiasm to your dissertation and want to explore it further.

Tips for Picking a Good Title

  • When starting with your title selection there are two things you must remember from the outset interests and research focus.
  • Area of Interest – As previously mentioned your title could start broad, reflecting your area of interest or study. This allows you the initial ability to research a vast area of study before narrowing your focus.
  • Focus of Research – While doing your research you will determine what area you want to focus on directly. This focus dwells within your area of interest but is more in depth.
  • An example of both would perhaps be Publishing Literature: A Study of Self-Publishing E-book Authors. The first is the area of interest; the latter is the focus of your research.
  • Be Clear – Ensure you pick a title that is clear and not misleading.
  • Be compelling and informative – You want provide the reader with enough information to draw them in, but not give too much away.

When choosing your dissertation title, do not rush the process. Take your time and think things through by starting with your working title. Upon completion of your dissertation use your final dissertation title.