I am about to submit and don't have a title! Or rather I have a title but it was always provisional and I thought that along the way I would come up with something more intellectual-sounding, snappier, and generally sexier! Unfortunately that doesn't seem to have happened.... So how did you come up with your title? What is "in" in titles this year? And what makes your heart soar/sink?
I began by making a list of the key concepts in my thesis. Then I considered how I could use my title to convey my most interesting findings and link my work to the academic field I want to move into after my PhD. Finally, I combined these elements into 4 or 5 different titles and discussed them with a few colleagues and my supervisor. I have no idea what kind of titles are 'in' (probably depends on your field), but I noticed it's very common to have titles consisting of two parts divided by a colon, so my title also has a colon. I'm very happy with my final choice :-)
Thanks. Just found this and thought it was quite helpful:
Mine was highly descriptive of what I had done - what kind of analysis using what kind of data on what kind of subjects.
I used to like a nice pun/witty title but now I work in policy and scan vast quantities of literature for relevant evidence, I find them quite annoying as it means extra effort is involved to check the relevance of a piece of work. This is more of a gripe I have with papers though, and as theses have a far more selective audience I don't think it matters so much so long as you are comfortable with it. Just make sure it doesn't lead your examiners to think your thesis is about something different to what it is!
I have not finalised my thesis title yet, but in the past I have always used a colon, and I find using quotes very effective (for qualitative work). I am wondering if I can find a quote that captures the essence of my thesis but I am not sure I can without it being a paragraph long!
I had a provisional one throughout my PhD and kept it at the end. It's more important that it's informative than "sexy". Don't try to be too clever with it or you might come across as flippant. As my supervisor says, finishing a PhD is very much about impression management. By all means if you come up with something that is informative *and* sexy go for it, but just make sure that yo know which one is the more important one.
Using a colon is definitely a good idea. The first part should be clear, concise, compelling and snappy. The second part (the indicative subtitle) can be slightly longer and more descriptive. Using keywords is also useful for conveying theory, scope, case studies. (Using keywords also ensures that your thesis is searchable when you deposit it into the repository.)
I changed my title during the editing period (last three months before submission), and it really brought the entire thing together. Also, while I was editing, I found myself constantly referring to the title to make sure everything was neatly tied up.
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