Your dissertation is one of the most important aspects of your Masters degree, so choosing the right topic is absolutely crucial! Your dissertation topic is something that you are going to be spending a massive amount of time immersed in, so the last thing you want is to have regrets about what you have decided to research! That’s why we have put together some tips about how to choose a dissertation topic.
Where to Find Your Dissertation Topic
Your dissertation topic is something that you are going to be focussed on for a very long time. It will consume your every waking moment and may even stay with you long after you complete your degree. This means that it has to be something that you are interested in. You need to look inside yourself for your topic. In fact, a dissertation is not something you can find – you have to create it. Think about research that has interested you in your earlier studies that you might want to explore in more detail? Ideally, your dissertation should be on a research topic that you might want to continue working with after graduation. Start making a list of options and see which one feels like the right fit.
How Do I Know If It’s The Right One?
You know how when it comes to dating people talk about ‘The One‘ as in the perfect partner for you that you will fall in love with forever? It is something everyone strives for, but no-one can really tell you exactly how you can tell if you have found ‘the one’ or not – you are just supposed to know! Well, choosing your dissertation topic is a lot like that! It can be hard to decide whether or not your chosen topic is ‘the one’ or not! If you have come up with a topic that you think feels right, then you can evaluate it in order to really determine if it is in fact ‘the one’. You can do this by honestly answering the following questions about your topic :
- Is this topic something that you feel passionate about?
- Is there a good amount of literature and research available to you on this topic?
- Given your schedule and time frame, is this a manageable topic?
- Does the topic fall within your own range of competence and capability?
- Is this topic significant in practical and/or theoretical terms?
- Is your topic original (or at least a fresh approach) or has it been done 100 times before?
If you can honestly answer yes to all of these questions, then you may well have decided upon your dissertation topic!
The 3 Most Common Mistakes When Choosing a Topic in Dissertation
When it comes to choosing a dissertation topic, there are a couple of big mistakes that we see students making over and over again. These are things that really need to be avoided otherwise you are pretty much guaranteed to run into trouble down the line!
- Trying to Please Everybody – You are going to seek advice when you choose your dissertation topic, but this can mean hearing a lot of opinions from various people some of which are bound to clash. Many students end up trying to please everyone from their tutors and advisors to their peers, but ultimately end up pleasing no-one. You are the person who will spend every waking hour with this topic, so you need to be the one who is happy with it – provided of course, that it is also a viable topic that your advisor approves.
- Being Too Ambitious & Failing to Keep Control of The Topic – There are 2 mistakes that sort of go hand in hand in terms of choosing a dissertation topic. The first is being too ambitious. At the end of the day, what is important is actually completing your dissertation on time! If you opt for a topic with too many variables then you are likely to get caught up in endless research because you have been too ambitious. Hand in hand with this is failing to keep control of your topic and allowing it to grow to epic proportions! If you really fall in love with a topic that could get out of hand then make sure you restrict it to a very specific area of that topic and do not deviate from it.
- Choosing a Topic With a Lack of Available Data – One of those evaluation questions that we highlighted above was whether or not there was research and data available relating to your chosen topic. This is so important, and yet one of the most common mistakes that students make when selecting their dissertation topic is opting for one that does not allow them the opportunity to gather – or create – enough data to complete their research. You must be able to access a substantial amount of literature, or carry out practical research to obtain data if you are to successfully research your topic. If you haven’t thought this far ahead when choosing a topic then you are going to run into trouble – don’t get too carried away with what seems like a good idea without fully exploring the practicalities of researching it.