The first step is to choose a feasible dissertation topic

By Abhinash on August 29, 2022

Presenting a dissertation is the final step of a degree program in higher education. It is challenging but rewarding that helps to attain specialization in the field of interest. A crucial step before starting the dissertation work is to come up with a feasible dissertation topic. Choosing a dissertation topic is a multi-step process that involves an extensive literature survey and review of existing information. Therefore, this process can become cumbersome and demotivating over time. In this article, we have listed some of the challenges commonly faced and the way around overcoming these challenges.

Choose your area of interest

Many subjects cover a large scope during the coursework with the purpose to introduce you to a variety of areas that may offer scope for improvement.

EXAMPLE

Marketing as a subject of specialization is further broken into multiple streams such as:

  • Product development,
  • Promotion,
  • Sales & customer relations,
  • Branding & communication,
  • Supply chain, etc.

As you keep reading to cover as many streams as possible you will hit a wall, where you may not want to read any further due to lack of interest. However, the trick here is to look back and find a stream that might have intrigued you. Follow this pattern until you find an area where you can bring a change and would like to argue about it in the paper.

TIP

Keep note of important keywords, facts, authors, terms, sources etc. as you read and review existing information. This helps in keeping track of where you should fall back when you hit the wall.

Navigating through the plethora of information

Now, that you know your area of interest, it is still too early to pursue it as a topic. The key to refining an area of interest into a topic of interest is to identify certain variables that you would focus on during the investigation. The variables are the focus points in a complex phenomenon that you wish to study. Variables in a study are the elements that your investigation will revolve around and keeps changing in different scenarios. Most importantly, make sure you choose the ones that are relevant and that you can mathematically measure. Moreover, these variables also help in addressing concerns and arguments to drive the curiosity and attention of the reader.

EXAMPLE
  • Comparison of performance based on scores
  • Level of emission
  • Amount of change
  • Number of incidents
  • Growth over a period of time
  • Number of people
  • Amount of dissolved chemicals

Is your dissertation topic doable?

Don’t yet conclude that your area of interest is the topic that you would like to pursue. Considering all the responsibilities that ride your shoulder, prioritise answering whether you can deliver a convincing justification to your topic of interest. Take a break from reviewing information and start reading your university guidelines to answer these questions.

  • Can you complete your paper within the allotted time?
  • Can you complete your paper within the specified word limit?
  • What are you going to contribute to the existing knowledge?
  • Are you going to offer practical recommendations?
  • Is your dissertation topic socially relevant?
  • Is your area of interest aligned with your curriculum?
  • Is your supervisor familiar with your area of interest?

Above all, make sure that your University and supervisor’s expectations and ideologies do not collide with your area of interest.

Conceptualize your dissertation topic and proceed

Subsequently, when you have the topic, study the variables furthermore to find relationships. Ascertain the type of research i.e a primary or a secondary or both will be required. Now that you already have done a preliminary study to get your topic, likewise, you can go back to the sources to speculate your topic’s plausibility.

Most programs will also require you to submit a brief about the chosen topic. This brief is supposed to introduce the topic and your interest. This does not have to be thorough but can be within 300 – 500 words. In short, it’s always a good idea to discuss the topic with your supervisor with a brief before finally submitting it.

Here are a few broad areas that might interest you

I am currently working as a Research Associate. My work is centered on Macroeconomics with modern econometric approach. Broadly, the methodological research focuses on Panel data and Times series data analysis for causal inference and prediction. I also served as a reviewer to Journals of Taylor & Francis Group, Emerald, Sage.

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