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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Three Vital Points in Choosing Your Thesis/Dissertation Topic

So, you are now in your final year in grad school. But before you finish your degree, comes the final rite of passage: your thesis or dissertation.

Have you come up with your desired topic then? Are you having trouble conceptualizing what direction your research will go into?

Some would give you a large list of suggestions on how to choose your research topic. However, it all boils down to three essential factors in your choice of topic. For me, it must be something you know, like, and can.

What You Know
It’s important that you choose a topic that you are very well versed on. This could be on a subject that you are very familiar with for several reasons (e.g. your line of work, your favorite subject, related to your hobby, etc.). Don’t dwell on a topic in which you still have to learn or read more or have limited reference.

You know what I’m talking about: Your knowledge on a certain topic gives you one leap of advantage in terms of time spent in formulating your research outline than having to learn something first before deciding what to write.

What You Like
It’s not enough that you know a great deal about a certain topic. What usually matters is your interest in it. The topic must be something that can grab your 100% commitment. Never choose a topic in which you have the slightest hint that you’ll get bored with it in a short while.

Remember this: If you do something you like and enjoy doing, you can’t stop until you finish it.
What You Can
The tendency for people who are too excited to start on something is that they overestimate. What I mean is that sometimes when we feel we know so much about one thing and at the same time extremely enjoy doing it, we seem to think of goals which are way over the roof and eventually impossible to realize. So, what I really meant is to think of a research project which you can implement within your capability.

Hint: Time, Money, and Effort are limiting factors for what type of research you are going to undertake.

I know these three points are not enough to make you finish your thesis or dissertation on time. But it’s a good way to start. Any way, you can share your own thoughts by adding other important points I might have forgotten.


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