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Choosing your dissertation topic: Where to begin?

Choosing your dissertation topic: Where to begin?



If you are a third year, or coming to that time, at university right now then there is a great chance that you will be asked to think about your dissertation pretty soon. A lot of people feel as though this is something to be afraid of, however there is no need to be, as you will have done similar projects before; this is just on a larger scale. It is vital however that the topic that you choose is the right one for you.


Think about the scale


If you think about it, this is something that you’re going to have to work on for the best part of a year. Some universities insist on starting even earlier than this. With this being the case, it is vital that the topic that you choose is something that you’re going to enjoy writing about. If it isn’t, then the time will drag, and the minimum of 6,000 words is going to seem very hard to achieve.


Ensure it’s realistic


Usually, you will have to do some of your own research in order to complete a dissertation. With this being the case, it is vital that you think about how long this research is going to take. While it might be great and very informative to interview 1,000 people from 10 different countries it isn’t something that you’re going to be able to achieve in the short time that you have to do it.


Read around the literature


Although a dissertation should be a unique piece of work, there is no need to base it on something that nobody has ever even thought about in the past. One of the bad things about people who do this is that they’re never able to find enough existing research on which to base their study, because it just doesn’t exist. You need to find something that is unique enough to make it interesting for both yourself and your supervisor, but something that is known about enough to mean that you are able to find the information that you need to about it.


Stay within your capabilities


A lot of the time, when people are planning to write a dissertation, they can get carried away by people telling them that they should be doing something that is interesting and complicated. Although this might well look impressive if you did it properly, there is an even bigger chance that you wouldn’t be able to cope and it would then just get too much for you to deal with. If this were to happen, then you may well find that you have to abandon a project part way through, and this could be incredibly detrimental to your overall success.


Ultimately, your dissertation is a huge chunk of the marks that you’re going to get for your degree overall. With this being the case, it is important that you choose your topic wisely, for it is one that is going to take up an awful lot of your time from the time that you start it to the time that you hand it in.

Written by Gemma

Gemma is a 22 year old graduate in Psychology and freelance writer who has been writing online since she was 16.