How to select a Topic for Thesis or Dissertation
Selecting a Topic From a Set List
In some modules, you will be offered a list of questions from which you can choose. Remember that those who have set these questions have done so with great care, and the setter will have a clear notion of the ideas and content you are expected to cover in responding to the particular question. But this is not to say that there is a predetermined ‘right’ answer to the question, though there are limits on the range of responses legitimately available. You cannot re-write the question to suit your own preferences. In selecting a question from a set list, consider the following:
1. What is the general area of content demanded by the question?
2. What are the specific concepts on which the topic is focused?
3. What conclusions are to be drawn? You will almost always be asked to make a judgment on a topic.
4. What aspects of the discipline are being covered?
Bearing in mind your reaction to the above issues, choose a title which reflects your own interests and the time and resources at your disposal to complete it. Keeping in mind the notions of topic area, focus, and instruction will help you to answer the question set, and to sustain an appropriate sense of relevance in your answer. Topic area refers to the broad area or areas of the syllabus you are being invited to consider. The focus of the question will indicate how you are being asked to present your knowledge of the topic area or areas. The instruction will specify what you are expected to do with your knowledge in applying it to the question set.
CHOOSING YOUR OWN TITLE
In some modules, and for the dissertation help UK, you will be able, or may be required, to select your own title. This is an opportunity for you to define your own research question reflecting your own particular interests. The first constraint is that the title must be relevant to the degree programme and module for which it is being prepared. All research papers should be answering a question. Try to formulate your question concisely; but try also to convey the area of enquiry. Twelve or fifteen well-chosen words are better than several rambling lines of text. The title need not be in question form; it should seek to encapsulate your area of enquiry. You may also be asked to prepared a brief outline providing a little more detail than your title. Dissertation proposals include rather more formal presentation of a proposal than a research paper in a taught module. We will appreciate that, at the proposal level, some of what you say will be tentative, but a proposal should be worked through at a sufficient level to go well beyond simply identifying a vague area of enquiry. Where a module offers the opportunity, or requires you, to choose your own title, keep a note during the semester about topics which interest you and seem to offer the possibility of further enquiry beyond what was considered in one or more seminars. This way, you will have a fund of ideas, when the time comes to put in your proposal.