Probably one of the most difficult task in starting a new thesis is the development of its title. It may sound easy at first but you will probably find it challenging as you start. A thesis title should provide the reader an exact understanding of what you research is focused on and should not create ambiguity in their minds.
In fact, for my own thesis, I took a few tries before I got it approved by my supervisor. It may be worthwhile noting that different supervisors may have differing views to the formulation of a thesis even with the same title!
However in general, a thesis title should provide the reader an exact understanding of what your research is focused on and should not create ambiguity in their minds.
A title such as
“The influence of leadership in small businesses”
will create ambiguity and will lead to the reader asking question such as “What kind of leadership?” or “In what location is this research focus on?”. Essentially a title should have a particular context or focus, if not, it would appear too broad. On the other end of the spectrum it cannot appear too narrow of specific either such as
“The influence of Autocratic Leadership in small businesses in the fishery industry in Carrey Road, Singapore”
Sometimes the title of a thesis will provide guidance as to the particular research methodology that is used for example, the title above “The influence of education on the success of an automative business in Singapore” may suggest that the researcher is testing the influence of education on the success of a business. This would suggest that the research is testing a theory which falls under the ambit of a quantitative research.
In short any form or questions that invokes the how much, how many or when will likely be a quantitative research while questions which invokes the how or why is likely a qualitative research.
Before you begin to develop your thesis title, there should be a number of things you have to consider:-
- Ensure that the topic meets the objective of what you want to achieve eg.is it to gain deeper knowledge in a particular field?
- Is it aligned to your work experience?
- Does it make easier to complete your thesis?
- Are you able to find the relevant literature?
- Are you able to find the relevant sampling group?
- Is it too broad or too narrow?
- It is testable?
At the end of the day, remember that making a thesis title too difficult will cause you pain as you progress. So you may want to tone down on the ambition and look at what is realistic
Some sources of references where you could get potential thesis titles would be:-
- Look for the section under ‘Further studies’ or ‘Potential Studies’ or something similar in theses of other graduates. This section will usually inform you where you could potentially extend the study that was previously conducted
- Any potential research gaps may be opportunities for research. This may be a using a different research methodology of a similar topic, using a different sampling set or even different research instrument. Using different methods or samples may result in different results which will also contribute to the body of knowledge
- Particular observable phenomena could also be sources for research. These observable phenomena could be because of a particular circumstance or event which will provide an opportunity for study
I hope that you like the above. Granted for some of you it may be too simplistic but I do hope that it provided those just starting on their post-graduate some perspective to consider.