A dissertation or thesis as you may like to call it is an integral part of the final year of architectural education. It is a compilation of all your learnings from the beginning of architecture school and a project to showcase your prowess as a future architect. The title of your dissertation is your first chance to create an impression; it is a precursor to the dissertation that you have poured your heart into and it must be enticing enough to keep the reader hooked, wanting more. Unlike a novel, a dissertation title need not be mysterious, long, and unclear. It must be intriguing yet crisp for the reader to get a clear idea of what to expect.
We often find ourselves trying to make our title unique and ensure it stands out that we forget to look into the basics.
Naming your dissertation can often feel like a very intimidating and daunting task, but one must understand and bear in mind these 6 tips before starting with the process:
1. Understand your audience
Study, analyze, experiment and explore who your potential audience could be. Your audience could include but may not be limited to only your college professors, peers, and/or college authorities. It could include people solely within the architecture community, local governing bodies or authorities, it could also include laypeople, so on and so forth. Once you have identified who your audience is, your job is half done, because this helps you identify the kind of language you need to use to explain to them the nature of your dissertation via the title.
2. Keep it crisp
Nobody has the time or patience to read dissertations that are a drag, let alone going through lengthy, drawn-out titles. So you must aim to convey the gist of your project through your title crisply yet effectively. Do not mince words or create long, wordy titles, instead just get directly to the point and say what you need to. Also, check with your institution if there is a cap on the number of words you can use for the title of your project.
3. Explain what you mean clearly
Clarity is of utmost importance when it comes to the title of any dissertation. A clear and comprehensible title will not only help the reader understand what you are presenting but also ensure that you have their full attention; whereas a vague title may also result in you losing your audience. An intelligible dissertation name will also help the reader identify if the topic is of their interest and expertise. Avoid the use of acronyms or even complex words; use simple, easy-to-understand language.
4. Identify the kind of emotion you want to elicit
The title of your dissertation may not always be very matter of fact. It could also be such that it evokes specific emotions. For example: A dissertation on a maternity clinic in Maharashtra’ could easily be titled “Maaher”(mother’s home) instead of the usual- Maternity clinic in Dhule, Maharashtra. The cultural significance and meaning of the word Maaher in Marathi aligns with the thought and philosophy of a maternity clinic. Your dissertation title, likewise, could evoke a set of feelings and sentiments and need not always be very technical.
5. Look at other architecture dissertations
It always is a good idea to refer to others’ work and learn from it. Take the time to look through and read relevant research papers, thesis, articles, blogs, and books. Understand the co-relation between dissertation titles vis-a-vis the contents of a portfolio. Then go through your dissertation with this newfound perception and name it likewise. Always remember, drawing inspiration from others’ work can never go wrong as long as you are giving them credit where it is due.
6. Get it proofread
As much as we believe we have read through our dissertation, checked, and rechecked for errors, oftentimes there are minor fallacies we cannot spot since we have been looking at the same content for way too long. Giving your dissertation to a friend, peer, or even a professor to proofread ensures that they can further check if your title aligns with the rest of the content in the dissertation.
7. Take a break
Lastly but most importantly, take a step back, evaluate and go through what you have written. Sometimes stepping away can help put things into perspective. Instead of frantically trying to find a way around it, take a break and let it organically come to you. More often than not, you will have an epiphany when you least expect it and everything will fall into place.
So, remember not to sweat it out and wish you all the luck on this fun yet challenging journey of thesis/ dissertation writing and hope these tips make your life a little easier!