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Determining a topic for your dissertation is one of the toughest decisions you'll make in your university life. It is a critical piece of work that accounts for a large number of credits in a scholar’s degree program. Selecting a suitable topic for your dissertation is the foremost step to make sure your research goes smoothly and steadily. It is quite similar to an author thinking about a new book but the grounds might differ extraordinarily.

The research topic should be something that allows you to produce an elegant piece of work within an adequate amount of time and cost. It might seem like an easy task but can make you ogle the blank walls for hours. Thinking about a good topic is the first step yet the most critical one. Each scholar wants to find a topic that is interesting, demonstrates his academic strengths, and impresses the examiner as well as the potential employers. You might have to explore areas that haven't been studied before, look for gaps in the previous research papers, or find a different angle to discover.

Ways to select the right dissertation topic

Choose what study area interests you the most: Writing a dissertation will be less intimidating if you choose an area and topic that you are most passionate about. This process will require a lot of time and preliminary research from your end. Frequent visits to library and inspiration from course modules will motivate you to get over with this tedious process of writing a dissertation.

It is recommended to select a topic that will benefit in your future so that you can get a better and in-depth understanding of your study and professional field. It will also provide you with additional strength while writing your future job application.

Do extensive research: You might have to spend long hours in front of your computer screens, read numerous archived papers, and watch documentaries to gain valuable knowledge for selecting the right topic. These references will provide you with a wide range of options to choose from. You would have to be smart and choose the one that has never been explored before. Research is the key to ensure that you’re choosing the right subject and topic for your dissertation.

Avoid being too vague or narrow: A dissertation project is a professionally written academic piece of writing which massively contributes to your degree program. Each sentence of your dissertation project should contribute effectively to the construction of your research argument. The entire piece should follow a concise structure.

If you choose a broad topic, it will become impossible for you to explore it thoroughly and ultimately prevent you from drawing clear conclusions at the end of your dissertation. However, on the other hand, if your selected topic is too narrow your dissertation might not even reach the finishing point due to inability to expand the arguments.

Be realistic: It is important to understand and analyze the selected topic from an outsider's point of view. Many times, what might look like a brilliant idea to you may have no scope in future. Determine all the weaknesses of your topic and then decide your final take on it. Make sure you spare enough time to find and work on a different topic if required.

Seek advice from the experts: Your professors, tutors, and mentors are always there to guide you while writing your dissertation. They can help you with any question, no matter how big or small. Once you’re done with your preliminary research, schedule an appointment to discuss your idea with your professors or mentors. With their years of experience, you are sure to get some amazing recommendations.

Select something you can manage: Keep in mind that you are on your own while writing this research project. Over enthusiasm might lead you to choose a topic that you believe will impress the examiners but will eventually become overwhelming in the long run. This will not only cost you your final grade but the skill set as well.

Evaluate the job market and your career path: Take a look at the skills required by the employers in your study area and choose your topic accordingly. You can select a topic which satisfies your career expectations. If your dissertation is effective enough and you’ve average grades throughout the program, the employers surely won’t let you go.

Choose what is feasible: Make sure that you do not choose a topic that is not plausible. The topic should be able to fit in with the available time constraints, resources, and the word count limit.

Keep these points in mind when trying to narrow down to a suitable topic for your dissertation

  • The requirements of your institution or program department.

The foremost step is to be aware of the requirements of your institution and degree program. This will help you to narrow down your list of topics effectively. The factors affecting your research areas cab be the word count, deadline, orientation of the dissertation, restrictions, and viable methodologies. Not all programs are the same therefore, it is important to know what is expected of you.

  • Different areas of your interest and knowledge.

Think practically about the selected topics and align them with your degree discipline. Choose a topic that is unique as well as familiar to you. Expertise on the theme is not required but existing knowledge can help you to gain a quick start in your dissertation project. This will also help you to avoid changing the subject every now and then.

  • Look for something in trend.

Skim through the latest issues of journals, books, and articles related to your field for appropriate topic inspiration. This will help you to shortlist the topics that are suitable for the latest ongoing.

  • Determine the type of research you can conduct.

With the availability of multiple research methodologies, it becomes a little confusing to determine which procedure can work with which topic. Note down all the practically feasible research options and choose the approach for your own dissertation.

Formulating the complete research design is not required at this stage. All you need to do is to focus on the ways required to collect, measure, and interpret data. This will influence your choice of topics and narrow down the list for you.

  • The social, practical, and scientific relevance of your topic.

Choosing a relevant topic is very essential for a scholar in all the terms.

Academic relevance refers to the point that your dissertation should be able to fill up the gaps in any debate or issue linked to your study area.

Social relevance relates to the fact that your research topic should be the one that advances your understanding of society and informs social change.

Practical relevance means that the topic of your dissertation should lead you to find conclusions that can be applied to improve life processes.

  • Availability of the data sources.

Make a list of all the available sources from where you can gather data for your dissertation. The collected data should be enough to fulfill the requirements of the topic. Also, check about the availability of funds and practical access to travel different places to collect primary data. If your topic is too fresh, there may not be enough reference materials to look upon while writing the dissertation, whereas, if your topic has been exhaustively researched upon you may not find anything new to base your dissertation on.

  • Timeframe required to complete your dissertation.

Determine your schedule according to the other assessments of your degree program. Question yourself, if you will have enough time to read all the important literature on the selected topic or can the information load will be tackled in the given time frame or not. This will further help you to narrow down your topic list.

After working so hard for selecting an appropriate topic for your dissertation project the time is to get it approved from the assigned mentor. This process will require you to submit a brief description of your topic and wait for the approval. If, unfortunately, your topic is not received as strongly as you thought it would be, then don't be disheartened and accept the criticism sportingly. Resist the temptation to hurry and focus on the theme, arguments, and details of the dissertation.

Dissertations are challenging but remember not to think too hard about selecting the best topic for the project. It is necessary to distract yourself every now and then to prevent the panic from settling in. Always start with thinking out of the box look for something that is well-grounded in the scholarly terms and within your range of capability. The topic won't appear from thin air but the best ones are always unexpected. Your genuine interest will lead the path for you. It is ok if you change your mind and switch focus on your dissertation topic. Just make sure you have enough time to start working on a new topic. Once the elected a topic matches your needs and meets the requirements of the institution, you’re all set to start working on your dissertation with full throttle.

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