• Haeshah Z. Davis

Selecting a Dissertation Topic that’s Interesting to You

Are you at that stage in your graduate studies where it’s time to select a dissertation topic? Have you been exploring topics and seem to be stuck? Let’s be clear… you’re struggling to select a dissertation topic that is interesting to you! Awhile back you thought you had an idea, but you’re not choosing that road anymore, which is totally fine.

The first thing you can do is start with a thorough online search to gain inspiration. You can start with searching scholarly articles for potential topics. Actually searching dissertations will allow you to see the format and structure of what others have done as well. Journals and other articles can help you narrow down topics too.

Once you have narrowed down a few topics, present them to your advisor for feedback. Ultimately this is your choice and your research, but you want to be sure it’s feasible and will be received well by others. Your advisor will be the person to guide you along the way and their feedback will be the most beneficial for you during this process. Your topics can be super specific or broad, this is the time to mold and shape the topic into the most achievable for you.

Will the topic that you select be achievable? Yes, because it will be kept simple and be clear and concise enough to have a methodology that won’t break you at the end of the day. You don’t want to make the mistake of biting off more than you can chew during the selection process, which is why keeping it simple will be beneficial in the long run.

Are you actually interested in the topic or does it seem “easy”? Your topic should be something you are truly passionate about, something you can positively argue about, or something that you are intrigued by. Spend a few minutes each day writing down the things that you are intrigued by, passionate about, or find yourself defending because of your passion behind it. Picking a topic that is “easy” won’t get you anywhere, because you aren’t truly interested in it and it will show in the long run.

Your dissertation topic should be unique, achievable, and relevant to you. Think about all this when selecting a topic that interesting the most to you, because you have to defend it. Use this as a reflection guide to come back to when you are ready to begin the process. Your advisor will be able to help you flush out the details, but you have to start somewhere in order to present topics that are interesting to you.

If you have already successfully selected a dissertation topic, what tips can you share with others? Comment below to share your input with us!

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