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How to choose a dissertation topic

by , on
July 10, 2020

Determining a subject for a dissertation, research, or thesis project is the initial stage in ensuring your research progresses as anticipated. When selecting a topic, it is essential to reflect on the following issues:

  • Your institution and particularly school, faculty, or department requirements
  • Your field of study and interest
  • The social, practical, or scientific relevance
  • Availability of sources and data
  • The duration and length of your dissertation

As you start, if you do not have dissertation concepts, it won’t be easy to figure out how to begin the research process. Follow these guidelines to begin focusing on your ideas:

Check institutional requirements

The initial step is for you to confirm the institutional necessities of your course. It governs the limit of your research throughput.

  • The word count range (possible minimum and maximum)
  • The submission deadline
  • Whether you select from a predetermined topic lists or you come up with the topic yourself
  • Whether the topic will have a professional or academic orientation
  • Whether there are methodological conditions
  • Whether there are any other restrictions

The severity of restrictions will vary from program to program. If you do not understand or in doubt of institutional requirements, feel free to ask the school, faculty, or department coordinator.

Select a wide field of research

Begin by considering your area of curiosity within the course you are pursuing. To ensure your research work is more straightforward, always choose a familiar field of study. You need not be a topic specialist; however, if you have gone through some articles, then that is the starting point.

Look for articles and books

Skim through a few current issues from popular journal articles in the field of study and the most exceptional cited articles. To get encouraged, you can also look at topic-specific databases, the University library resources, and Google scholar. Check the reference list of articles you have already read in your field for more useful sources. While reading these sources, note down specific areas that you find exciting and generate a brief list of possible dissertation research areas.

Find a niche

From the initial reading, start focusing on specific areas from the vast area. The focussing can be a steady procedure, and your topic will get more specific with time. Find a particular niche with less ongoing research or one with actual debate questions on present practical issues.

Consider the research type

Many kinds of research exist; at this point, consider the kind of research approach you will take for your topic. You will focus on one or more of the following strategies:

  • Gathering original data
  • Examining existing data
  • Inferring cultural objects
  • Comparing academic approaches

Several dissertations will blend several of the above approaches.

Determine the relevance

The topic you choose must be exciting to you; however, ensure it is socially, practically, or academically applicable. To ensure that research is appropriate, a select topic that links to the present debates or issues, either in your field of study or in the contemporary world. Clearly state your research relevance, when you outline the research problem.

Ensure it is plausible

As you decide on your topic kindly, consider the following: the duration to finish, realities of conducting research, and length of the dissertation.

Get the topic approved

The majority of the courses will need you to submit a concept paper for your topic before the supervisors’ allocation. Discuss and brainstorm your thoughts with a supervisor before you embark on writing a research proposal.

Finally, if you find out that the topic is not strong enough, you can change it if the remaining time is adequate, but consult with your institutional department and supervisor.