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.
By Anthony Diaz de la Vega, eHow Contributor
A thesis title is the first thing a reader will encounter upon picking up your paper. It should provide a concise view of the topic your paper will address, as well as give a sense of what angle you are approaching the issue from. Titles will need to be crafted very carefully and might change many times over the course of writing a thesis paper, as the focus of your writing shifts and you tease out different nuances of the subject. Give yourself a chance to make a positive first impression with your title by making it descriptive representative of your overall work.
Your thesis title most importantly should not be a bland statement on the topic your paper covers, no matter how specific. Thesis titles should generally be as carefully worded as the arguments and researched contained in your paper. Make an effort to come up with multiple possible titles that reflect your work.
Make sure you have the exact format required for your work or assignment. The most basic format for a thesis title includes a shorter main title that generally describes the work and a longer subtitle that explains the finer details of your research; these are often separated by a colon. If the guidelines for your thesis call for the title to be organized differently, follow them as closely as possible.
Conduct a survey using your possible titles to determine which one is the best. Present your classmates and teachers with a short list of your three favorite titles and ask them which appeals to them most. Once you have a clear choice, go back through your paper to make sure that your title is consistent with the tone and point of view of your thesis.
If your paper deals specifically with a time period, make sure to mention this in the title. Include the dates or years at the end of the subtitle, following a colon. As an example, if your thesis addressed the last years of World War II, your title might read "Ending the Conflict: Warfare in Central Europe, 1943-1945."
Tips & Warnings
- Look through professional journals and college essays to see which titles grab your attention while still giving you a good idea of what to expect in the paper.
- Do not attempt to write a thesis title before you have at least a rough outline of what the body of your paper is about. A thesis that is not targeted to the information in your work will leave the reader confused as to what your paper is about. In addition, do not simply write a dry description of your essay and assume it will work as a title. Titles should be informative, but including a bit of humor or levity (depending on the subject) can help your paper's appeal expand.