Quality dissertations require proper planning at all stages. Although each step carries equal weight in ensuring the quality of your paper, topic selection ranks chief among various considerations for a dissertation.
Poor topic selection runs the risk of getting stuck down the road or failing to exhaust arguments within the prescribed word count. Even worse, the plethora of topics for dissertations in various fields might make it hard for you to select an appropriate topic.
In this article, we will share some tips on how to choose a dissertation topic and highlight some vital steps to consider as you choose a topic. The tips covered are the result of various hits and misses along our academic journey and are thus great to overcome common stumbling blocks.
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How to come up with a dissertation topic
Often, students struggle to establish an idea on which to base their dissertation. With the variety at your disposal, you might feel overwhelmed by the prospect of narrowing your choice to a single topic.
Some of the steps to ensure that you select a relevant topic are:
- Consult the faculty requirements
Your topic choice should be determined by the provided word count range, the timeline for writing, and guidelines on acceptable methodology. Before you select a topic, highlight all the guidelines from your faculty and later use these as a criterion for sifting through various topics at your disposal.
- Select a broad topic
After familiarizing yourself with various requirements, select a broad topic in line with your niche. This topic should outline a problem in the field without honing in on a particular aspect of the argument.
For instance, if you were in the education field, your overall topic might be:
- Technology in education
- Effectiveness of teaching methods
- Factors affecting college students
These topics highlight the overall idea and can serve as a search phrase when seeking out further ideas for your topic selection.
- Perform preliminary research
Before you begin writing your dissertation, research various journals, publications, and dissertations related to the search phrase. This step allows you to immerse yourself in a vast range of topic information and identify new research perspectives.
As you consult various sources, check for knowledge gaps that are yet to be addressed. This will allow you to identify the areas you can analyze and yield meaningful insight within your field. Also, search for emerging issues within your field to identify unique ideas for your dissertation.
We recommend that you jot down the summary of each source and highlight its strengths and weakness for an easier time with your literature review.
- Narrow your topic down
After the preliminary research, you are better placed to analyze a specific topic that piques your interest. When forming your topic, formulate a research question that you intend to answer in your dissertation.
Also, gauge the methods of data collection and the duration it might take to examine your idea and yield meaningful results.
- Prepare an outline
The development of an outline is a vital step in how to pick a dissertation topic. The outline allows you to bring your argument into perspective and to determine how well arguments within your paper exhaust your topic.
- Submit your topic for approval
Many institutions recommend that you submit a dissertation prospectus to the faculty committee before writing your paper. This allows them to gauge the feasibility of your study and guide you on relevant changes.
This helps prevent confusion down the line and also helps guide your research efforts to yield quality results.
Tips on choosing a dissertation topic
- Don’t select a very complex topic. A complex topic might be hard to exhaust with various resource constraints, available time, and word count.
- Select a dissertation topic that is relevant to your career. This offers you an upper hand in future interviews as it speaks of your prowess within your field.
- Ideally, select a dissertation topic that evokes your interest. Like a marriage, dissertation writing calls for you to spend tons of time working on your selected topic. A boring topic may wear you out and inspire procrastination or promote poor research, yielding subpar insights.
- Settle for a current idea in your field to pique the interest of a wide audience and also overcome the risk of limited arguments as a result of the exhaustion of your topic.
- Prepare an outline before you settle on a topic to gauge its feasibility and to check how well it meets faculty requirements.
- Check various ideas for dissertation to gain inspiration during topic selection.
We hope that this guide on how to find a dissertation topic sticks you out of the topic selection rut. Feel free to consult our team for guidance on challenging bits you encounter in your paper.