In many ways, coming up with a high quality dissertation title is the most exciting part of the project. This is because, at this early stage of development, nothing is set in stone and there is a world of new possibilities in front of you. This is your chance to be creative, to explore the various possibilities available to you. This means playing around with various ideas and seeing what engages you. The point is to find a title which speaks to you, which sparks your interest and which you feel excited about. Really, the title serves to encapsulate the overall idea of the thesis. It is consequently essential that you find the right title for you. After all, you will be spending much time and energy in its presence. However, you cannot expect a suitable title to just fall into your lap. Rather, you need to be actively engaged in looking for a good title.
Finding a good dissertation title page is a lot to do with selecting a good thesis topic. The two items are of course intrinsically related. Again, the central idea is what counts. So, how do you find that one great idea? There is no single answer to this question but certainly there are a few simple steps you can take to set you in the right direction. First of all, read widely. See what piques your interest. One very useful step is to go into your university library, browse the thesis and dissertations section, looking in particular at recent dissertations. This will be useful in giving an indication of the kinds of dissertations which your particular institution produces as well as the kinds of theses' titles which attend them. Further, more importantly, almost all dissertations will have a conclusory section which includes suggestions for future research: which is precisely what you are looking for. Recent journal articles likewise give suggestions for further research (though, bear in mind, journal recommendations may be somewhat over-complex for graduate level work).
The next essential piece of advice is to talk with as many people as possible. This includes potential supervisors, fellow students, friends and other people that have completed a thesis. Why would you want to talk to all those different people? So you can make any informed decision about what you are going to study and write about. You can profit from other people's experience and knowledge.
The next practical step is seeking your supervisor's assistance. In this regard there are two obvious approaches. Firstly, you can approach your supervisor with your own ideas for the topic and see what they think. Secondly, you can ask them for suggestions as to a suitable topic. Usually, the optimal solution is a combination of both. Perhaps you come with some ideas about a title page for your dissertation, and they will come back with suggestions on how to improve or refine that dissertation title. Do not be worried if initially you have no ideas. Your supervisor will almost certainly be able to suggest some – that is what they are there for.
Once you have done all of the above, you should be situated to start playing around with potential ideas. Jot down some possible research questions. Now, try to make these look like essay titles. So, for instance, here is a research question: “How is identity constructed in post-colonial literature?” Now, here is that same question rearranged into a title: “An Examination into the Construction of Identity in Post-Colonial Literature”. Experiment with a range of questions/titles until you alight upon a couple of options that you think might work. Consult with your supervisor again. Narrow down the list until you find one title that is the most interesting to you, relevant to the discipline and amenable to the supervisor.
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