3 Golden Rules Of Choosing Dissertation Topics To Keep In Mind

When you finally reach the time in your academic career where you’re expected to write your dissertation, choosing a topic can be a difficult task. You want to select something that interests you, and that has enough information for you to commit a whole project to. Though it may seem like there’s nowhere to begin, if you follow these 3 rules, you’ll select a topic that takes your paper to an A, no matter the subject:

  1. Take your time: The most obvious, and most often overlooked step in selecting a topic is taking your time to brainstorm between ideas. This isn’t a project that’s meant to be rushed, and is a huge undertaking so be sure that you are pacing yourself correctly. Narrow your potential ideas down to maybe 3 or 5, and then write brief outlines on them. These outlines will help you decide which topic is meant for you.

  2. Talk to your teachers: Consult your professors, advisors, peers, etc. These people can give you an unbiased perspective on your topic and can sometimes make you realize that the topic you thought was strong, is actually quite weak. They can also point out any pitfalls you may encounter or fall victim to, so be sure to take notes of the advice they offer.

  3. Be sure that your topic does not a pose a simple “yes” or “no” question: If your topic’s question can be answered with a one-word response, it is not strong enough. You are seeking a topic that is interesting and innovative; seek original ideas, things that will have your audience comment on how unique this perspective is.

Although dissertations can be extremely stressful, these three pieces of advice should always help keep you in check. Don’t lose yourself to any personal biases, and be sure to maintain a clear head. Even if you find yourself attached to an idea, separate yourself from it and judge how sound it really is. Is this something people want to read about? Is this something I would want to read about, let alone write about? Ask yourself these questions before committing to a topic so that you don’t wind up with something you hate. When you turn in your final project, it should be something that you are proud of and excited to share. If you wrote about something boring that you chose at the last minute, would you feel great allowing that to represent you?


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