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6 Steps to Choosing Thesis or Dissertation Research Topics

6 Steps to Choosing Thesis or Dissertation Research Topics

In the course of completing PhD, Masters or Undergraduate higher education studies, students you will be required to complete and present their thesis or dissertation. However, while some few number of students are certain about the thesis topics or research topics, a lot more students are caught in the dilemma of choosing topic. In order to eliminate all forms of complexity in the process, here are few refined tips in selecting a suitable research topics.


1. Field of study

Your field of study plays a huge role concerning which topic you could choose, if you come from the computer science department, your thesis or research topic cannot be similar to that of business administration or mechanical engineering. Hence, students will need to delve much deeper into what topics are related to their field of study. Mostly, research topics are rejected based on the assumption that it does not fall in the remits of the field of study. Marketing research topics have to be in that field and not fall within accounting or other. To know which topic falls within the department’s remit for thesis writing, go through existing textbooks in the respective department and find out which topics have been recommended for further reading. That’s an awesome area to start with. Also, trying searching on the internet or department libraries which topics have been conducted and then you can have some modifications done. One caveat is, do not pick an existing topic and just modify it as a topic, because, the content differs widely if you are not guarded by the limitation to modifying the topic.


2. Evolving problem to uncover/ Pressing problem

Identifying a specific topic within your field of study helps you to evaluate the existing problems in relation to the prospective topic. For example, engineering department students should look deeply into the challenges being faced in day to day human activities and resolve their idea about how a research topic could help in solving such problems. A topic which does not fulfill specific existing problem is just dormant and passive. Students should look at problems from a different angle in other to escape the trap of sameness to existing or already written topics.

On critical analogy is to look at how boring it will be for readers to be seeing repeated problems and research topics or contents. This will attract poor grades. One clear way is English department students not envisaging the problem that pupils face in their learning abilities. While they can write a topic on corrective feedback mechanisms, there are also problems about distraction out of the school. In this area, psychology students can pick up a topic in this field. Evolving problems comes from the backdrop of usage of modern digital gadgets which hinders student’s performance in small or big ways. These are problems student can take a look at.


3. Passionate interest

After ascertaining the existing challenges and problems in relation to the field of study, there will be a lot of problems to solve. However, the question is which of the identifiable topics extracts you deepest interest from the unfiltered noises? What are you deeply interested in now or in the near future. Due to the level of difficult and time consuming nature of writing research, there is the absolute need to ensure that you look the topic to keep you motivated in conducting the research. In the area of Computer Science, there might be 5 – 6 problems but may be research on Lossless file compression might be so interested to you because you love to save images and other documents in the cloud and always you do not have enough storage space, choosing such a topic as against another problem of cloud security will serve you much better.

 For economics students, evaluating the impact of macroeconomics indicators on standard of living is a growing problems but does it excite your interest and why? One reason could be the use of political parties to either discount economic performance of their opponents. Hence, there are a lot of factors within the passionate interest of students to choose a topic other than it being a problem.

One thing also comes from the fact that a topic which exacts your deepest passion interest tends to be easy in explaining to your supervisor or during defense. In this case, when students are requested to defend the topic they have less difficult time to explain to the panel.


4. Feasible outcome

One of the important factors is outcome, while you should not be too narrowed on what the outcome will be, be cautious of vagueness. Choosing a broad topic could affect the outcome, because it’s imperative that they both have some correlation. Hence, be measurable, student being Undergraduate, Masters or PhD cannot solve all problems and need to be measured by the resources needed to conducted thesis. Thus, time factor and financial constraints. In many ways, a topic which have definite and specific area outcomes tends to be covered so well because of the focus given to the problems without being stretched too thin.

One clear example comes from the fact that studying entire industry like financial institution might be feasible, however, narrowing it down to private investment financial institution and a specific problem they face will do much good to the outcome since they are a niche of the whole industry and gives much of the focus of the problem and outcomes.


5. Preliminary research on the topic

For masters and PhD students there is the need to conduct some preliminary works about the topic you are about to settle on. This is to ensure that if the topic exists, you could modify yours to improve on the objectives and content compared to the others. For undergraduates, restructuring the topic will help in the long run.

Tertiary institution do not want research topics, problems and objectives or outcomes to be similar to existing ones. Even in the unlikely case of sameness, there is the need to evaluate the extra improve additions of your topic. Thus, to know that in comparison your topic will add more to knowledge and delve into other areas which is superior to the existing ones is much important.

 For example, computer science could research into Elliptic Curve Cryptography as a form of encryption on cloud securities if the existing topic focused on using Rivest–Shamir–Adleman (RSA). Thus explaining clearly the benefits of the former over the latter existing ones.


6. Consulting your supervisor

In many instances, the supervisor might ask for thesis topics to be presented, it is important to asked for supervisor’s feedback on why specific topic will be great or not. Consulting supervisor helps in 2 different ways, one of them is that they have supervised various works and are in the pole position to modify or eliminate some level of ambiguity. Secondly, they will some insights about currently unforeseen challenges or hinderance in which you are not prepared for, hence, posing those questions to you, will get you much more prepared in the course of the thesis writing.



With the years of experience in guiding student with their thesis and dissertation constructs, students need to follow these few 6 steps which might be of great and immense help in conducting their research work. The topic you settle on should drive some passion about the need to study it, also, the problems should have some bearing on current situation and your field of study. With all these factors, the path to writing a comprehensive thesis becomes quite smooth.