IOE Writing Centre


Titles and Instructions

Students planning

You may be given essay or assignment titles which you will need to interpret. If you are setting your own title, you still need to make sure the writing matches the title.

The title is not simply an invitation to write anything you like about the topic. It will be asking for something specific, and is often closely related to the module content and the module reading. 

What should I read for this assignment?

Reading is a very important part of any assignment.

Start with the recommended reading lists for the module, and for the session(s) which relate to this title (if relevant).

Although you will need to read more widely, do not try to 'start from scratch', or you will risk spending a lot of time searching through unrelated material. Start with your reading list, as the tutors have recommended these articles and books for a reason!

How can I analyse the title?

You can analyse your title using the following questions:

a) Which theory (or theories) is this question asking for?

Can you think of theories from the module which relate to this question?

b) What perspective(s) could you use to answer this question? Which perspective seems most suitable for you to use?

For example, a policy perspective, a critical race perspective, the perspective of the children, the perspective of a researcher.

c) What would you need to add to the question to be able to answer it? 

For example, you may need to add the particular perspective you will use, or any definitions of terms. 

d) Which terms would need to be defined for the purposes of your essay?

The page on definitions may help: Definitions

e) What position(s) could you take with relation to this question? 

How could you actually answer the question? Is it a question where you could say yes/ no/ to some extent? Is it a question asking for a solution, or is it simply asking whether something is a problem? This is another way of saying what is your main thesis, or your main point.

f) Which examples could you use to help illustrate, support or explain your claims? 

You may decide to use a combination of examples from your reading, examples from real-life experience, or even hypothetical examples. Remember that these examples will have different levels of importance within the essay.

Example titles

These example title formats may help you to devise your own title. You can also analyse them using the questions above, to help understand what tutors might expect when they set a title.

  1. "The model of how people make choices presented by Krishnamurthy and Nagpal (2010) is too rational to be useful".  Discuss.
  2. To what extent might marketers be able to affect the decisions which consumers make?
  3. Is there a solution to the problem of our insufficient understanding of how people make decisions?
  4. What is the relationship between the order people view products, and their final choice of product?  Discuss the possible significance of this relationship.
  5. With reference to at least TWO studies, compare approaches to the study of how people make decisions. 
  6. To what extent are you convinced by Bruce's (2011) position regarding approaches to decision making?

^Back to top