• 3-minute read
  • 4th August 2015

Picking the Perfect Title for Your Work

Choosing a good title for your Master’s dissertation or PhD thesis is important because a good title makes a good first impression. You thus need your title to be clear and informative, telling the reader everything they need to know from the moment they pick up your work.

However, since nobody has ever earned a degree on the strength of a title alone, the last thing you want to do is waste more time than necessary agonising over what to call your project. So here at Proofed, we’ve thought of a few key factors to keep in mind when coming up with a title.

What’s It All About?

The first thing you should consider when formulating a title is how to capture the essence of what you’re writing about. One way to do this is to break it down into the topic and focus of your research:

Topic = The general area of your research

Focus = The specific thing being investigated

So in an essay called ‘Marketing Strategy and the Influence of Social Media: A Case Study’, the topic of the research is marketing and the focus is how social media impacts upon this.

Research Approach

Your research approach has a major influence on your study design, the methods you’ll use and the kind of results you’ll achieve. It can therefore help to reference this in your title.

For instance, the essay in the example above could be adapted to:

Marketing Strategy and the Influence of Social Media: A Qualitative Case Study

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This would then immediately tell the reader something about what to expect from the research.

Research Outcomes

Think about what your research has achieved. Mentioning research outcomes in the title helps to make it more specific, which gives the reader a better sense of what to expect. For example, we could call an essay:

Marketing Strategy and Social Media: How Viral Marketing Increases Revenues

This would instantly draw attention to what your study has achieved: in this case, identifying how to use social media to increase revenues.

Clarity and Focus!

It’s important to include some detail in the title, but very long titles (particularly those packed with technical terms) can become confusing. As such, you should take care to make your title clear and focused.

The best way to do this is to ask someone else, such as a fellow student or a lecturer. If they can understand the nature of your work from the title alone, you’re on the right track!

Additional Considerations…

One thing you shouldn’t forget is to check your university’s style guide! Some institutions have particular conventions you’ll be required to follow for capitalisation, formatting, etc.

You could also add a dash of humour to the title of your work to help make it stand out. But remember that this should never come at the expense of clearly communicating important information about your work.

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