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Thesis Title


The primary objective of a thesis title is to convey succinctly the subject and argument of one's thesis. Because one does not entirely know the course of a thesis's argument until the thesis has reached completion, one should consider writing the thesis title last.

Thesis titles may often seem long in comparison to other types of titles, such as novel titles or newspaper headlines. Whereas headlines probably only contain a few words, thesis titles may legitimately contain several dozen words, as long as they fit together syntactically and make sense as a title. In most cases, the thesis writer should avoid writing a title that asks a question, because the title should claim authority over the subject. For example, the title Samuel Clemens, the Man Behind the Pen: A Closer Look at the Non-Literary Life of Mark Twain seems much more authoritative than the title Who Was Samuel Clemens, and Why Did He Choose a Pseudonym? The distinction between declarative and interrogative titles may seem subtle, but declarative titles usually do seem stronger, and the reality exists that readers will decide the thesis writer's competence based at least partially on the writer's ability to write a strong title.

The example above also illustrates another method writers use to create strong thesis titles. That method is the use of the colon. Before the colon, one may write a witty phrase related to the subject of the thesis in order to grab the reader's attention, and after the colon, one may explain that witty phrase academically in order to show what precisely the thesis discusses.

Writing a thesis title is an art form, and one should craft a title carefully. Thesis writers should try to generate several possible titles and choose the one that most aptly describes the thesis. If a writer cannot develop a usable title, he or she should certainly enlist the help of the instructor or classmates who are willing to read the thesis and brainstorm possible ideas.


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