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How to Write a Good Dissertation Title: Tips to Consider

Your dissertation title is the entry point into your research study. It is the first thing the reader usually reviews before going through the contents of your dissertation. Make it interesting and ensure that it provides an overview your research study.

I, therefore, grant you the permission to spend a lot of time on writing a good dissertation title. It’s worth it!

If your dissertation title is not interesting and does not provide an overview of your research study, the reader may assume your dissertation is not worth reading.

I don’t know any reader interested in uninteresting things.

What I’m telling you here is that a good dissertation title thrills the reader to peruse the contents of your dissertation. But, as I hinted before, there is more to it: a good dissertation title also provides an outline of your research study. My emphasis in this blog post is on writing a complete dissertation title that provides an overview of your research study.

Writing a Good Dissertation Title

You may probably have had a question pop in your head for quite some time. How do I write a good dissertation title? Yes, I expect you to ask that question because you would want the title to intrigue readers to read your dissertation.

And if you want to know how to write a good dissertation title, just keep reading. It’s simple.

Writing a Complete Dissertation Title

A complete dissertation title provides the reader with an overview of the entire academic study before they even review the research objectives and research question of your study. That means a good dissertation title tells the reader what your research study is all about.

If your dissertation title is about politics, readers expect to read about politics in your dissertation and probably not about fish farming. Your dissertation title and the contents of your dissertation should align.

The two must always be one!

Three Things a Good Dissertation Title Indicates

Don’t worry much about those three things. What they do is make your dissertation title complete.

Here is the tip:

A good dissertation title indicates at least three things; namely the adopted research methodology, the studied variables or explored concepts, and the scope of the study.

Don’t worry, I'm not ending here. See the example below:

Differences Between an Incomplete and a Complete Dissertation Title

An Incomplete Dissertation Title

a.     Entrepreneurship and job creation

This is an incomplete dissertation title. You should not spend much of your time looking at it because we don't learn from wrong but correct things. So, let's go straight to a complete dissertation title.

A Complete Dissertation Title

b.    Exploring the effects of entrepreneurship on job creation: women-founded SMEs in South Africa.

This is a perfect example of a complete dissertation title. It highlights the adopted research methodology, the explored concepts and the scope of the study, hence the exact opposite of the first title. Remember, I told you that a complete dissertation title indicates at least three things which are:

1.   The Adopted Research Methodology

In this example, the title hints at the adopted research methodology. The word ‘exploring’ implies a qualitative research methodology. As you might know, a qualitative research study can also be referred to as an exploratory research study.

2.   The Explored Concepts or Studied Variables

The given title highlights the explored concepts, which are entrepreneurship and job creation.

In this particular example, you might not want to call entrepreneurship and job creation variables because the title already suggests a qualitative research methodology. While quantitative research studies focus on examining variables, qualitative research studies explore concepts.

3.    Scope of the Study

The title indicates the scope of the study. The study is narrowed down to women-founded SMEs in South Africa.

The study might not explore entrepreneurship and job creation outside the context of women-founded SMEs in South Africa. So, a reader who is looking for research studies that examine how NGOs impact job creation in South Africa might not expect to obtain that information from a dissertation with this title.

A Complete Dissertation Title vs. an Incomplete Dissertation Title

If you want to know whether your dissertation title is complete, you should ask yourself one question. Does the title highlight three things; namely the adopted research methodology, explored concepts or studied variables, and the scope of the study?

Assume that you don't know which of the two dissertation titles is complete and you want to do some tests on each of them to establish a complete dissertation title.

Dissertation Title 1

Entrepreneurship and job creation

Testing:

·       The adopted methodology: the title does not highlight or hint at the adopted research methodology.

·       The explored concepts or studied variable: the title only highlights the studied concepts, which are entrepreneurship and job creation.

·       The scope of the study: the title does not provide the scope of the study.

Dissertation Title 2

Exploring the effects of entrepreneurship on job creation: women-founded SMEs in South Africa

Testing:

·       The adopted methodology: the title hints at the adopted research methodology as the word ‘exploring’ implies a qualitative research methodology.

·       The explored concepts or studied variables: the title states the explored concepts as ‘entrepreneurship’ and ‘job creation’.

·       The scope of the study: the title indicates the scope of the study as ‘women-founded SMEs in South Africa’.

Which of the Two Is a Complete Dissertation Title?

Answer: the tests you have just completed prove that dissertation title number 2 is the complete title. It is complete because it indicates the adopted methodology, the explored concepts, and the scope of the study.

Dissertation title number 1 is an incomplete title because it only highlights the explored concepts and doesn’t hint at anything regarding the adopted research methodology and the scope of the study.

Now that you know how to formulate a good dissertation title, implement what you have just learnt. Best wishes in conducting and writing your research study.