How to choose a descriptive doctoral dissertation title?


It is always the title that demands a reader’s attention, or deters him/her from pursing further. So yes, a title has the power to mark your doctoral dissertation up by several points, or make the scores plummet. How then, do you choose a title that will work in your favor? The answer lies in making sure that your dissertation title has certain key attributes, such as those discussed further.


Clear title:

A dissertation title must be clear as crystal, leaving no doubt in the mind of the reader as to what the thesis intends to discuss. Most of the time, clarity in the title is compromised in the name of fancy, lavish headings. This leaves little room for a defining title that conveys exactly what lies further down in the dissertation. A clear title has the benefit of serving a good impression on the very first take. And a good first impression can work wonders.


Accurate title:

A good title must also be accurate. Accuracy is that attribute which ensures that the title aligns with the subject matter. An accurate title must disclose the essence of the dissertation, and disclose the crux of the thesis, while at the same time keeping the conclusion of the doctoral dissertation a mystery, so that all is not revealed in one go.

Accurate titles must not resemble the research question itself word-for-word. Hence, the originality required in a dissertation title must not be compromised for accuracy.


Concise title:

‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’ So it has been said ages ago. Till this day, it stands out true. This is exactly why a doctoral dissertation title must be concise, brief, and to the point. Concise titles do not bore the reader. They possess the right aura to grip a potential reader, and draw them into the thesis.

Most universities, as the common knowledge, grant an average upper limit of fifteen words in a title. That leaves just enough room for getting your point across quickly, and concisely.


General Do’s in a descriptive doctoral dissertation:

  • Do ensure that the title is a sensible one.
  • Do check that the title looks and sounds good.
  • Do use a title that is clear, accurate, and concise.

General Don’ts in a descriptive doctoral dissertation:

  • Do not use abbreviated forms of words.
  • Do not use periods in your title, or make it a complete sentence.
  • Do not utilize the given research question itself as the title.