Selecting Proper Dissertation Topic
Posted date: September 15, 2017
When deciding whether to write a dissertation or not, it might seem that it is the most difficult choice of one’s life. However, those who dared to become a real researcher know that the biggest challenge of choice is yet to come. Selecting an appropriate topic is what indeed complicated. It should be in line with his/her qualifications and interests. It should be adequate and attainable, meaning that research questions formulated can actually be answered. Besides, the topic should be moderately researched in order for the aspirant to have some information to rely on and, at the same time, enjoy the possibility to offer a unique perspective on it. Obviously, to choose a topic is not an easy task but it is doable with our tips.
Avoid Uncharted Territories
Being overwhelmed with a possibility to study everything, researchers tend to choose a topic in which they are interested but not versed. Then, they spend years writing a dissertation simply because they need to learn much new material before even starting to write. Nevertheless, the topic should concern the field and aspects that you are familiar with. The point of a dissertation is to deepen the knowledge in the sphere with which you are acquainted, not to get a limited grasp of something absolutely new. Not to waste own efforts and time, pick a topic that you enjoy and can handle thanks to own specialization.
Set Realistic Goals
Select a topic that can actually be researched within the deadline. It should be neither too broad nor too specific. In the former case, you will not be able to process even a half of the material available, answer your research questions in an exhaustive manner, and complete the paper on time. In the latter situation, you will face the problem with finding relevant literature and probably will not be able to test or formulate proper hypothesis at all. You are likely to run out of what to write very soon. So, assess the availability of literature critically and define that scope of the research. If both allow writing a dissertation within the established timeframe, stick with the topic.
Do Not Reinvent the Wheel
If you have already been working on a certain topic and written some articles or other works on it, do not look for another one. There is no need to do extra work if you already have a solid ground to build the dissertation on. Instead of searching for new material, expand what you have and look at the same issue from a different angle. In other words, you do not do extensive research only to choose a topic but rather resort to a readily available option. Then, use the time and efforts saved on making own ideas more profound and detailed. Search for inspiration in yourself.
Be Specific and Organized
The topic should be clear and focused so that you could organize relevant materials. You should understand what should be researched, what the variables are, what links should be checked, etc. Then, you will be able to arrange the information. The suggestion here is to create a filing system on your computer that would reflect the chapters or aspects to be studied. Fill in the folders created with the literature and be sure to back up them occasionally. Besides, ensure to organize literature that you have in hard copies. Unlike with data on a computer, you will not be able to use CTRL+F to find a necessary quote. In this case, you need to know precisely where you should look for what is necessary. Finally, you need to make a schedule for research and strictly follow it. Otherwise, the deadline will be definitely missed.
Unfortunately for you, you are not the only person who was ever willing to obtain Ph.D. Many of your alike thinkers have already reached the aim and wrote a dissertation. Of course, they were trying to study the topic that is urgent and interesting, which is likely to be what you are searching for. Therefore, before deciding on a certain topic, be sure to check whether your choice had not been researched fully yet. You need to introduce something new to the field, show the uniqueness of your thinking, and be innovative. You will be able to do it only if the topic is not being discussed by the hundreds of others in their dissertations. Your task here is to find a gap in the existing knowledge and make an attempt to fill it in. Only if you make a groundbreaking revelation, you will be fully satisfied with your own work. Moreover, in this case, you will never face a difficulty with finding a job.
Calm Down and Be a Researcher
The last tip has little to do with choosing a topic, but it is probably the most helpful out of all. Relax! Where there is a will, there is the way. Since you definitely have a strong desire to write a dissertation, you will find your way, topic, and a writing strategy. You just need to calm down and stop panicking. Remember that, in fact, only a handful of people will read your work. All you need to do is not to try to sound complicated and follow the guidelines set by the university and your supervisor. If you have a right attitude, the writing process will be enjoyable and pleasing. You will be happy to create something on your own and benefit from a strong sense of achievement upon completing a dissertation. Take pleasure in writing and changing science.
To sum up, a proper choice of topic will set the mood for the entire writing process. Make sure you write about something that is exciting for you as a person and professional. Do not write about something that will not allow you to bring something innovative and original to the field. Try to make a real contribution. Only then, you will be truly satisfied with what you do in your life.