When writing, the first hurdle you must cross is choosing or deciding a topic for your research. For your research and dissertation, writing to go well is dependent on your dissertation topic. It would be best if you considered the following when choosing a topic:
- Your department and institution’s requirements
- Your area of interest
- The scientific and social relevance
- The availability of data, information, and sources
- The length of your dissertation
If you do not have a dissertation topic or ideas to pick from, yet, getting started with writing can be hard. To narrow down your thoughts, follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Check the requirements
Checking your program and course requirements is the first step in determining the scope of what you can research and how far you can get with your research.
The requirements in different academic programs differ and are stricter than others. For instance, your department may give you just the required word count and a deadline, while other times, you have a restricted list of topics to choose from. However, if you are confused about anything, always ask your department’s coordinator for further clarification.
Step 2: Pick a wide research field
The second step involves choosing your area of interest in the course you are studying. Examples of broad ideas you can choose from include:
- Twentieth-century literature
- Economic history
- Health policy
- Online marketing
Choosing from a field or subject you are familiar with is a good idea because that way, you don’t have to begin your research from scratch. You do not have to be an expert on the subject, but if you know the topic or read a few articles, you are already off to a good start.
Step 3: Explore books and articles
Don’t start writing your dissertation without taking a look at some recent articles, journals, and books in your field, as well as reading some of their most cited and referenced articles. Your university library is also another resource you can take advantage of.
Step 4: Find a niche
The next step involves narrowing down your broad area to get your topic more specific when you finish reading. When limiting your general scope, try to find a niche that not many people have researched yet, especially a neglected period or author or a question currently in debate.
Note that if there is an abundance of research and a strong consensus on the topic of choice, it will be impossible for you to justify the relevance of your work. But you should also ensure that no matter how unique your topic is, there should be enough literature on the subject to provide a strong basis and backing for your research.
Step 5: Consider the type of research
Since there are different types of research, it is good to start thinking about what kind of approach you will use on your topic. Your options include:
- Experimental or field research (collection of original primary data)
- Analyzing existing data (such as archives and national statistics)
- Interpreting cultural objects (such as films, novels)
- Comparison of scholarly approaches (such as theories and methods)
Most times, your dissertation will combine more than one of these approaches. You don’t have to finalize your research methods and procedures yet, but the type of research will greatly influence which aspect of the topic you will address. Therefore, considering this to help narrow down your address is a really smart move that helps you get ahead.
Step 6: Determine the relevance
Do not venture into writing a dissertation if your topic is not interesting to you. Nowadays, you can buy dissertations online and avoid struggling with the text you don’t feel like writing. More importantly, do not start your dissertation writing if your chosen topic is not academically, socially, or practically relevant.
The simplest way to ensure that your research is relevant is to choose a topic connected to current issues or debates, either within your academic discipline or society. You must state the relevance of your study when you define your statement of the problem.