Almost every undergraduate student has to write a dissertation except for those who take up a project or an internship instead of a dissertation. However, such students have to write a dissertation at the Graduate and Post-Graduate level. So, writing a dissertation is an integral part of academic life; therefore, students must acquire dissertation writing skills. One of the primary concerns of students is “how to generate dissertation ideas”. After all, a dissertation idea must be unique and original and must have the potential to add value to the corpus of knowledge. This article will tell you where to find unique dissertation ideas that can add value to the literature.
What are the Steps to Identify Dissertation Ideas?
Step 1: Get Familiar with the Research
Students frequently make the costly error of skipping through the foundational stages and into the ideation phase, even though it may seem painfully clear. Strong dissertation ideas can be found if you go through the foundational stages first. Begin by examining any documents and guidelines you have been provided concerning the standards your department or university has for a dissertation. For instance, the course manual, internet resources, and class discussions.
Naturally, getting right into the brainstorming phase is alluring, but it is crucial to begin with the required reading first. Before you begin the brainstorming phase, you must have a fundamental understanding of the research approach, research methodology, survey options, and analytical approaches; otherwise, you will be unable to effectively evaluate your study. If you are unaware of the different types of research, such as quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research and skip the research process to delve into finding dissertation ideas, you will not be able to set your research on a firm footing.
Step 2: Read Past Research Papers and Dissertations
You can find dissertation ideas by reading recent research papers and dissertations in your area of interest. Past research papers, especially the most recent ones, help you identify the research gaps in your subject area. Researchers also provide recommendations for future research in the recommendations section. Reading past research papers helps you become aware of the recent debates and controversies in your field. Moreover, they help you engage with the overall discourse and develop a unique research topic grounded in research. Review the dissertations of former university students. Every university library showcases the published dissertations of students in their libraries for the benefit of other students. You can find dissertation ideas by reading the dissertations of seniors, and you must ask the following questions:
- What themes were covered in these dissertations, and how were the ideas transformed into questions?
- What was the range or depth of the topics?
- How unique were the topics? Were they actually novel or merely a lingual variation on an old idea?
- Did the authors properly justify the rationale of their studies? Were the research topics significant or just a passing fad?
- Did the authors use ample literature to build their research?
- What was the research design, and how did the research design inform the choice of research methods?
- What research methods were used by the researchers to conduct the research?
- How did the authors analyse the data? How did they justify it within the context of broader literature?
Asking these questions will help you get familiar with the nuances and variations of dissertation writing and help you find strong dissertation ideas for your research.
Step 3: Identify Your Strengths and Read the Literature
Once you are done with getting familiar with the research process and have reviewed the dissertations of former students, the next step is to get into the idea generation process to find dissertation ideas. For that purpose, you must identify your strengths. The idea generation stage encompasses identifying your area of interest and reading the academic literature to become aware of the recent debates and discussions occurring in your field. You can refer to the modules and handouts provided by the instructors during your coursework classes. They must have a list of relevant sources to your subject area, and you can start reviewing them to kickstart the idea-generation process. You can review the course modules that were most interesting for you to read, and you secured good marks in those courses. For example, suppose you are a business student and good at marketing. In that case, you must refer to the reading material of the marketing course module and look out for dissertation ideas in the marketing field. No matter which subject area you select, the most important thing is choosing a subject you are good at. Also, being passionate about a subject stirs curiosity, and you can brainstorm unique topic ideas that match your interests.
After identifying the area of interest, the next step is to read the academic literature to get the hang of the field. You can find dissertation ideas by asking the following questions:
- What is the current state of knowledge in your field of interest?
- What key questions have been addressed, and what critical aspects need to be explored further?
- What kind of questions are being explored in your field of interest?
- What are the agreements and disagreements on the core issues of the subject area?
- What are the different schools of thought and prevalent philosophical approaches?
- Which school of thought do you align with?
- What themes are interesting to you, and which ones annoy you or make you think as if you do not really understand them?
- What aspects of the topic pique your interest and compel you to know more about the topic?
The answered aspects and issues in your field of interest will help you find a unique dissertation idea. However, if you cannot find an original topic idea for your dissertation, you can get dissertation help online from expert researchers.
Dissertation ideas must be based on strong foundations. For that purpose, getting familiar with the research process and current state of knowledge and choosing a subject of interest is crucial.