Choosing a Dissertation Topic

| May 3, 2020

Having gone through the education system I understand how hard it can be to choose one dissertation topic from the thousand possible ones that are available.

How do you ensure that your dissertation topic is top-notch, interesting and relevant ensuring that research will flow well to eventually have a winning document in the end?

Before you even get to select a topic it is important to know what a dissertation is and below we delve into defining and demystifying some crucial details that will be useful to you as a student in your dissertation writing project. A dissertation is the final piece of the study that is done for the course and from this piece of research, the student compiles an original document that provides the findings while reviewing different viewpoints and then drawing a conclusion. The dissertation is important because it contributes to your final grade and without those marks, one cannot graduate. It shows the students’ capacity in their field of study, research work abilities, and writing skills while following the strict rules of academic writing.

Steps in Choosing a Dissertation Topic

It is important when starting on your dissertation that you select a topic that will stand out, be original and one that will act as a guide throughout your research process. To be able to choose a topic it is essential to follow through a plan and strategy and we have come up with the following seven steps in identifying and choosing a dissertation topic for the win.

  • Step 1: institution requirements

Check what your school requires from you in the topic selection process.

  1. Does the school offer a list of topics or do you have to think of the topic on your own?
  2. Word count minimum and maximum
  • Does your professor need to provide insight on the topic
  1. The timeframe for choosing the topic
  • Step 2: the topic does not have to be unique

What do I mean? It is nearly impossible to reinvent the wheel and one can instead seek to work towards making the content of the paper unique. Many students find themselves on a journey where they want to be unique in their topic and in doing so may end up missing out on great topics that could have been built upon in the body of the dissertation. Even if you find that there is someone with the exact topic as yours this should not dissuade you from pursuing it. This is because the way that you conduct research is different and this will be evident throughout the paper.


  • Step 3: Choose a topic that resonates with you and your career

When choosing a topic I usually recommend to students that it should be one that will help you in your career. This is dependent on what you see yourself in the future and your goals, for instance do you want to get into research? What specialization are you going for? With such consideration this will help you select a topic that makes sense to you and one that is relevant and in line with your future goals. Do not just think of the now think bigger as you choose your topic. This will also help not only in selecting the topic but also with the research work and dedication that you will put into your document.

  • Step 4: pick what is interesting to you and stands out for you

You will come across many potential topics and the key is to ensure that what you pick is interesting to you and stands out so that you will have the motivation to research and not get bored or ran out of ideas. Once you commit to a topic that is interesting to you will be fueled to go the extra mile and be creative in your work because you will be inspired and intrigued to learn more.

  • Step 5: the KISS principle

The KISS principle refers to keeping it simple stupid and is and is borrowed from the navy. It simply means that you choose a topic that is straightforward so that you don’t end up getting into dead ends and roadblocks in your research. Many students think that the more complex a topic is the better outcome they will get, however, this is far from the truth and the reality is that a simple topic will give you a better opportunity for your work because the research will be easy to flow and compile.

For example, a student comes up with the topic “How big is the gap in SATs outcomes between children from middle-class and working-class backgrounds in high school?” this right here is a complex topic that will involve a lot of nerve-wracking buildup in the research. This would make sense if it was a topic for a top academic research and one that has been granted funds to carry it out. However when it is for a student in undergrad or a graduate program then a simpler title would do. Something like “what are teachers’ opinions of the impact of poverty on SAT scores? In this case, because it is straightforward it is possible to immediately outline the focus group as the teachers and have n achievable methodology. This ensures that the task remains achievable and is not intimidating to you as the student and you will, therefore, remain focused and motivated in your research work.

  • Step 6: Liaise with your dissertation professor

Once you get an idea of the topic that you want to undertake, communicate, and make use of your professor because they are one of the most useful resources at your disposal. Liaise with him and be sure to listen to his advice and adjust accordingly. He has gone through many dissertation papers and his opinion will have insight that you may not get anywhere else. Also tell him why you have chosen your topic and let it be an open discussion, ask questions, and raise any ideas you have. It is your paper and you are the one who will research and put it together.

  • Step 7: stick it out

Once you narrow down to one topic and run it by your professor and you have the final topic at hand, be sure to stick it out! There are days when you will question yourself and whether you made the right decision on the topic, you might hit brick walls in your research. However, stick it out with your topic to avoid waiting time by going back and forth on several topics and wasting time only to get done with some research and pick up another topic along the way. This will leave you frustrated and anxious. When you feel like you do not want to go on with it, put it aside and come back to it after some time or enlist the help of dissertation experts who can help you get through with it.

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