How to Write a Dissertation Title: Tips That Reveal the Secrets of Professional Writers

Dissertation Title Writing

A book is judged not only by its cover but by its title too. The more striking it is, the more chances an author has to sell a book to the target audience. No wonder educators want to get a dissertation that starts with a proper title. Unfortunately, not all students know how to write a dissertation title. That is why we decided to write this article to help students worldwide to succeed with their college assignments, especially such complex as thesis papers and dissertations.

Tip #1. The Title Says What Your Dissertation Is About

The title of a research paper must tell the target readers what its topic and idea are. A good title usually tells not only the purpose but also gives hints about the paper’s content and even the received outcomes. It highlights the importance of the provided research. 

If a title is not good enough, it can mislead a reader who might think about the wrong goal and results of research. Sometimes, students get low grades because of that. Educators expect to read about one discovery but get disappointed when revealing quite the opposite or nothing of the promised. 

So, the first rule to follow is to make it precise and meet the guaranteed expectations.

Tip #2. Things to Do to Meet the Reader’s Expectations

The first thing to do is to convey the content and your research success with the help of words. To do that, you should follow several rules, which are:

  • make it to-the-point
  • specificity is what you need
  • each word must be logically used
  • shortened words must not be used
  • the language must be official

Let’s talk about each point in detail to become aware of all tips to know how to write a dissertation title.

Generalizing does not fit

A title must be descriptive and explain the things you have investigated in your thesis paper. It means each word used must be meaningful and significant for the idea presentation. Each word must help a reader focus on the aim of your research. So, it must let an educator or target reader:

  • get the idea of your paper
  • learn about the theories that form the basis for your scientific research
  • understand the things you have tested or examined
  • learn the used methods and theories (qualitative/quantitative/both)
  • get a hint about the studied group of people/ papers/ documents, etc.

Stay Concrete 

It’s a bad idea to write a long title trying to explain everything you have achieved in your dissertation. You should be picky about selecting the best words to describe the goal of the paper with the fewest words possible. So, you should experiment with word combinations and expressions to sound briefly and precisely. 

Compare: The users of Twitter vs. Twitter users (the second-word combination is shorter)

Be logical

You can be successful in the language used but fail to convey the core idea and the result of your research. For example, you have interviewed people to find out some valuable information.  So, the readers will expect the words like qualitative research methods or structured/ semi-structured/unstructured interviews in the abstract, introduction, and research sections. Other interview types can also be included, such as stress, behavioral, group, panel, technical, and case interviews. 

Shortened variants of words are good only for the content

If you know how to write a title for a dissertation, you will never use abbreviations, initials, and acronyms. They are misleading because some abbreviations have several meanings. However, you can use them in the body and explain them in the appendix or in the table of contents at the very beginning of your paper. 

You should be official

Cute, soothing, and teasing words do not suit the official style of the paper you are writing. A dissertation is not a fairy tale or a selling article. It must be informative, official, and hooky due to the innovation it brings. 

Tip #3. Let Your Readers Learn as Much as Possible from the Title

It’s better to think about the title as a receipt with several ingredients. Each ingredient must add a specific flavor to the dish without spoiling its taste. Generally, it consists of two ingredients:

  • the first part informs the reader about the focus of your research (the goal or idea)
  • the second part should inform about the way you got this information (interview/ hypothesis/ case study, etc.)

In short, one title must include two short word combinations or sentences to complete each other. For example, “Problems with Lyme disease treatment: Lessons from the ILADS case study” is good because it consists of the following convincing components.

“Problems [focus] with Lyme disease  treatment [area of interest]: Lessons [proposed outcome]from the ILADS [situated nature of the study] case study [methodology]”

So, each title must have a focus, area of interest, and the results of your research. 

In the above-introduced title, you focus the reader’s attention on the word “problems”. So, the written dissertation describes the problem people face when diagnosing and curing Lyme disease. 

The area of interest is concentrated around the treatment of the disease because the existing methods are not effective enough. 

Speaking about the results, the dissertation shows the results of the ILADS case study that are successful, judging by the mentioned importance of its outcome.

To conclude, this title contains everything a reader needs to know about a dissertation, its importance, value, focus, and outcomes. However, it preserves the intrigue because it does not retell the whole case study and its impact on Lyme disease treatment in the world. So, the target readers (educators, sick people, doctors, scientists, etc.) feel inspired to read it and learn valuable information. 

Tip #4. Your Writing Style Must Be Appropriate

Each academic assignment has its stylistic or writing requirements. As a rule, the style depends on the scientific area you chose to write your dissertation. For example, ASA is typical for Medicine and Psychology and MLA is typical for Humanities. 

Typically, educators ask their students to use the following styles for their dissertations:

  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago
  • IEEE
  • ASA

How to write a dissertation title without guidelines describing the requirements in detail? One can hardly do that because each writing style has its requirements that concern the chosen font, space, margins, word order, punctuation, capitalization, and other details. You should be aware of them to format your paper correctly. It is necessary either to study the requirements by heart or use a good-quality generator that automatically transforms the sentence into a well-formatted title.

Nevertheless, all styles include several common rules:

  • never capitalize conjunctions, prepositions, interjections, and particles
  • do not use quotation marks
  • avoid acronyms and abbreviations
  • never use hard-to-read fonts
  • pay attention to the word order and proper punctuation

Tip #5. Do not Make It Too Long

How to write a good dissertation title with a limited number of words and signs? It is a hard task to complete because word selection is significant to those who need to tell so many things with a single sentence. 

Traditionally, you should use not more than 40 words, even though it is too many words for a good title. The best variant is to use from 8 to 15 words because most of the dissertations are uploaded on the Internet due to the demands of time. Searching engines reflect only the first 12 words, not more. However, some colleges have different demands and can ask for longer titles. Generally, they either mention the number of words or the number of symbols. 

Tip #6. Search and Compare

It is a great idea to look for similar examples of approved dissertation titles on the Internet or ask your supervisor to give some good samples. Be sure your online resource is trustable because scams and selling websites make lots of mistakes because their only purpose is traffic flaws and attracting as many visitors as possible. So, experts recommend choosing educational platforms like the ones from Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, etc. 

Another thing to ensure is to check if the chosen title meets your college requirements. It must be of the same writing style and the assigned length. If you spot a long and complicated title, you should definitely not copy it. Educators hate when you trick them or use long sentences that take several lines and have too many punctuation marks. A brief and concise title is the thing you must create.

The Final Tip

If you still doubt that your dissertation title is good enough, you should read it out loud or ask someone to criticize it. The best variant is a private tutor, a professional editor, or a freelance writer who is experienced in dissertation writing. If you cannot find one, you should at least ask senior students or your supervisor. The educator’s job is to teach you. Even if you are afraid to sound foolish, your teacher can suggest corrections but do that in advance to have enough time for the content enhancement. 

Note! And, what is more, important never write a title without research. Otherwise, you risk failing the task because of the inability to provide the described contribution.

About Terry Qin

Terry Qin is a 27-year-old R&D engineer from Shenzhen currently living in the US. He is interested in programming, new trends and blogging.