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Select a Dissertation Topic That Inspires You

Your dissertation is the culmination of your academic career. It is the final and crowning achievement. It is also probably the hardest work you’ll ever do. A large percentage of students who begin their dissertation never finish it. This doesn’t have to be you! A key factor in self-motivation goes back to the topic selection stage. You must choose a topic for your dissertation that inspires you and this will keep you motivated.

The topic you choose also plays a big role in where your career will advance to, after the dissertation has been achieved. You must put a great deal of thought into the selection process. Here are 10 tips for choosing your dissertation topic:

  • Read a lot and take notes of everything you read. Don’t just underline a title. You won’t remember later why you marked it. You need to have some detailed thoughts. Write down what intrigues you about this article. What stands out?
  • Start as early as you can. The more time you have to think about the topic, the better. If you are a student just starting graduate school, start looking for a topic now.
  • Stay organized and systematized. Keep everything filed, sorted, alphabetical.
  • Talk to others. They may have ideas you didn’t think of. Run your ideas past your advisor and other students.
  • Read through some dissertations completed by former students in your department.
  • If you find a topic you love but need to add some unique features to it, work on it. Take the time to make it what you want and what will be accepted. This is your work. You have to like it or it will be almost impossible to finish it.

Look through your previous course notes. What was something that inspired you or stuck out to you as being something you would love to learn more about? This can lead you on a trail toward your perfect dissertation topic. Don’t leave any stone unturned. Don’t reject any ideas until you’ve found the one that ignites you. You never know how or where you’ll stumble upon it.

When you are excited about something, it shows up in your writing. If you are bored and uninterested in a topic, you’ll have a hard time wanting to spend the next few years of your life surrounded by it. If you have tried all these suggestions and still can’t find a topic, speak to several instructors in your subject and see what ideas they can give you.



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