Choosing a dissertation topic

Choosing a topic for your dissertation, thesis, or research project goes a long way to ensuring that you have a smooth running. Consider the following points before you choose a topic:

  • Area of interest and knowledge,
  • Departmental/ institutional requirements,
  • Practical, social, or scientific prevalence,
  • Availability of sources and data,
  • The duration is available for writing your dissertation.

The following are steps you can take to narrow down some ideas you may have.

Check the requirements.

You first need to know what the practical requirements are for your educational program. Henceforth, you can get a picture of what you can do in your research. Programs differ in terms of requirements, and when in doubt, feel free to express your concerns with the departmental coordinator.

Choose a large field of research.

It’s only safer for you if you choose from a list of a wide area of interest amongst the subjects you are studying. Be sure to pick a field you are familiar with to save on time you will use to do research. Knowing a few points on a particular topic is a good foundation for a topic or research.

Look for articles and books.

Go through recent issues and journals in the field you are in, not forgetting articles that are most cited. Go the extra mile by perusing the library’s resources in your university. Use a reference list for additional info and sources. Make notes as you go through these documents to use in your article.

Find a gap.

Narrow down to a particular area after reading on a bigger scale. It may take time but be objective in your topic as you seek to address a specific area. If possible, look for a controversial issue or one that sparks interest and doesn’t have much research done on it yet. It’s also advisable to have a backup plan if you get stuck at some point in your research.

Consider the research type.

After finding a gap, think about the type of research you need to get the correct information. Some ways of gathering information may be expensive and time-consuming. Choose a method that you are well suited for and within the proper time frame. Also, make sure the research bears authentic and factual data.

Determine relevance.

Having an exciting topic is important but ensure it is practically, socially, and academically relevant. Choose a topic that connects to current debates and issues in terms of academic discipline and society. When defining the research problem, clearly state the relevance.

Make sure it is plausible. 

There are a few elements one should consider before making a final say on their topic, including the length, timeframe, and the practicalities needed in their research. All the above factors should be in your favor and the area of interest.

Getting approval

As a requirement in most courses, you should submit a simple description of your supervisor’s topic. Make a habit of discussing with your supervisor before writing the entire dissertation proposal. In case your topic is weak, you can opt for another early enough during your dissertation process. Ensure there’s enough time at your disposal and often check in with the supervisor in your department.


Choosing the correct dissertation topic is entirely up to you. These points will help you choose the best one for you. All the best.