Lesson 7: Title Page & Abstract
In this first part of our class, we discuss how to come up with a good title and a good abstract.
- To establish the importance of coming up with a good title.
- To establish the importance of coming up with a good abstract.
- To enumerate things which constitute a good title and a good abstract.
- To provide different tips and tricks which will be helpful when coming up with a title and abstract.
Quick Navigation through the Lesson 7:
The title page and abstract are crucial to the success of your thesis because they’re the first thing which people reading your thesis will notice—it’ll determine whether or not you’re able to attain and keep your audience’s interest. In this lesson, we’ll be discussing how to come up with a compelling title as well as how to write an abstract.
Coming Up With a Good Title
Your title page usually appears on a separate page as the rest of the thesis paper. This is also typically the first page which your reader sees upon reading it—in a way, your title page (and your title in general, as it is also printed on the spine of your paper once its bound) is the face of your study. This will, to a great degree, determine whether or not people pick up your thesis. It is also an indicator of what your thesis contains.
Because of this, it’s important to come up with a title that is catchy, informative and concise. When coming up with your title, it’s best to use the active voice—this makes the title shorter and easier to remember. For example, it’s better to write “A Study on Women’s Emotional Needs in Saudi Arabia” rather than “A Study Conducted on the Emotional Needs of Women in Saudi Arabia”.
Click the image to download Title Page Sample
The way your thesis page is formatted may also depend on the kind of format you’re using—the most commonly used formats are the MLA and APA styles. Although the two formats are different in most aspects of the paper, they are mainly the same for the title page: they utilize the center-alignment and size 12, basic fonts such as Arial and Times New Roman. However, the MLA format includes the course and the teacher’s name whereas APA only requires the title, the student’s name and the name of the institution.
A Running Head or a shortened version of your sentence should be made as a header for your title page and for the entire thesis. Below are two examples of how a title page should look in the APA format. The first utilizes a specific example, whereas the second shows you the generic information which should be included in this portion of the thesis paper.
Coming Up With a Good Abstract
Your abstract should summarize what your study is going to be about without giving too much away—when writing your abstract, make sure that you touch on the essentials of your study: be sure to mention your objectives, your thesis topic, your methodology and your general findings. However, refrain from diving into the details: you have the rest of your paper to discuss that. This first part is just for giving your readers a taste of what they can expect from the rest of your paper.
For example, it’s good to say, “This study aims to identify the different kinds of variables which contribute to the longevity of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through interviews conducted with former war veterans. The study was conducted over the span of a year. Common variables found were good social support, alcoholism and the veterans’ pre-war condition.” In the statement, we were able to include a concise sweep of the study.
However, it is not advisable to say, “This study aims to identify the different kinds of variables which contribute to the longevity of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through interviews which asked the following questions: 1. What year did you go to war? 2. What was your rank? 3. Why were you discharged? 4. Do you live alone? 5. Do you know anyone else who went through the same thing? 50 veterans were interviewed, after which their answers were run through a program which…” This statement is too long and too specific. By revealing too much about the study, too soon it discourages the reader from turning the page and reading the rest of the paper.
An abstract sets the pace for the rest of your paper.
In this class, we learned about the dos and don’ts of writing a good title and abstract for your thesis paper. This helps us entice the reader by giving them an informative but concise look into the study’s objectives, methodology and findings without giving too much away. This is the first step to writing our excellent thesis.