how to find a phd dissertation topic

  • How to Choose a PhD Research Topic
  • Finding a PhD

Introduction

Whilst there are plenty of resources available to help prospective PhD students find doctoral programmes, deciding on a research topic is a process students often find more difficult.

Some advertised PhD programmes have predefined titles, so the exact topic is decided already. Generally, these programmes exist mainly in STEM, though other fields also have them. Funded projects are more likely to have defined titles, and structured aims and objectives.

Self funded projects, and those in fields such as arts and humanities, are less likely to have defined titles. The flexibility of topic selection means more scope exists for applicants to propose research ideas and suit the topic of research to their interests.

A middle ground also exists where Universities advertise funded PhD programmes in subjects without a defined scope, for example: “PhD Studentship in Biomechanics”. The applicant can then liaise with the project supervisor to choose a particular title such as “A study of fatigue and impact resistance of biodegradable knee implants”.

If a predefined programme is not right for you, then you need to propose your own research topic. There are several factors to consider when choosing a good research topic, which will be outlined in this article.

How to Choose a Research Topic

Our first piece of advice is to PhD candidates is to stop thinking about ‘finding’ a research topic, as it is unlikely that you will. Instead, think about developing a research topic (from research and conversations with advisors).

Consider several ideas and critically appraise them:

  • You must be able to explain to others why your chosen topic is worth studying.
  • You must be genuinely interested in the subject area.
  • You must be competent and equipped to answer the research question.
  • You must set achievable and measurable aims and objectives.
  • You need to be able to achieve your objectives within a given timeframe.
  • Your research question must be original and contribute to the field of study.

We have outlined the key considerations you should use when developing possible topics. We explore these below:

Focus on your interests and career aspirations

It is important to choose a topic of research that you are genuinely interested in. The decision you make will shape the rest of your career. Remember, a full-time programme lasts 3-4 years, and there will be unforeseen challenges during this time. If you are not passionate about the study, you will struggle to find motivation during these difficult periods.

You should also look to your academic and professional background. If there are any modules you undertook as part of your Undergraduate/Master degree that you particularly enjoyed or excelled in? These could form part of your PhD research topic. Similarly, if you have professional work experience, this could lead to you asking questions which can only be answered through research.

When deciding on a PhD research topic you should always consider your long-term career aspirations. For example, as a physicist, if you wish to become an astrophysicist, a research project studying black holes would be more relevant to you than a research project studying nuclear fission.

Read dissertations and published journals

Reading dissertations and published journals is a great way to identify potential PhD topics. When reviewing existing research ask yourself:

  • What has been done and what do existing results show?
  • What did previous projects involve (e.g. lab-work or fieldwork)?
  • How often are papers published in the field?
  • Are your research ideas original?
  • Is there value in your research question?
  • Could I expand on or put my own spin on this research?

Reading dissertations will also give you an insight into the practical aspects of doctoral study, such as what methodology the author used, how much data analysis was required and how was information presented.

You can also think of this process as a miniature literature review . You are searching for gaps in knowledge and developing a PhD project to address them. Focus on recent publications (e.g. in the last five years). In particular, the literature review of recent publications will give an excellent summary of the state of existing knowledge, and what research questions remain unanswered.

If you have the opportunity to attend an academic conference, go for it! This is often an excellent way to find out current theories in the industry and the research direction. This knowledge could reveal a possible research idea or topic for further study.

Finding a PhD has never been this easy – search for a PhD by keyword, location or academic area of interest.

Discuss research topic ideas with a PhD supervisor

Discuss your research topic ideas with a supervisor. This could be your current undergraduate/masters supervisor, or potential supervisors of advertised PhD programmes at different institutions. Come to these meetings prepared with initial PhD topic ideas, and your findings from reading published journals. PhD supervisors will be more receptive to your ideas if you can demonstrate you have thought about them and are committed to your research.

You should discuss your research interests, what you have found through reading publications, and what you are proposing to research. Supervisors who have expertise in your chosen field will have insight into the gaps in knowledge that exist, what is being done to address them, and if there is any overlap between your proposed research ideas and ongoing research projects.

Talking to an expert in the field can shape your research topic to something more tangible, which has clear aims and objectives. It can also find potential shortfalls of your PhD ideas.

It is important to remember, however, that although it is good to develop your research topic based on feedback, you should not let the supervisor decide a topic for you. An interesting topic for a supervisor may not be interesting to you, and a supervisor is more likely to advise on a topic title which lends itself to a career in academia.

Another tip is to talk to a PhD student or researcher who is involved in a similar research project. Alternatively, you can usually find a relevant research group within your University to talk to. They can explain in more detail their experiences and suggest what your PhD programme could involve with respect to daily routines and challenges.

Look at advertised PhD Programmes

Use our Search tool , or look on University PhD listing pages to identify advertised PhD programmes for ideas.

  • What kind of PhD research topics are available?
  • Are these similar to your ideas?
  • Are you interested in any of these topics?
  • What do these programmes entail?

The popularity of similar PhD programmes to your proposed topic is a good indicator that universities see value in the research area. The final bullet point is perhaps the most valuable takeaway from looking at advertised listings. Review what similar programmes involve, and whether this is something you would like to do. If so, a similar research topic would allow you to do this.

Writing a Research Proposal

As part of the PhD application process , you may be asked to summarise your proposed research topic in a research proposal. This is a document which summarises your intended research and will include the title of your proposed project, an Abstract, Background and Rationale, Research Aims and Objectives, Research Methodology, Timetable, and a Bibliography. If you are required to submit this document then read our guidance on how to write a research proposal for your PhD application.

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How to Choose a Good Research Topic for Your PhD

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Choosing the right research topic is quite often a daunting task, especially for PhD students. However, developing a good research question has a positive impact on students’ research careers. Thesis advisors offer help during this initial stage. Later on, PhD students are expected to choose their own research topic for subsequent studies.

When navigating through several interesting research topics, it becomes necessary to strike the right balance between curiosity and societal needs. Moreover, funding agencies fund compelling research proposals based on meaningful and highly relevant research topics. Selecting a good research topic can, therefore, increase the odds of academic success.

PhD Research Topic and Your Career

Performing a meticulous literature survey helps researchers identify existing research gaps and devise novel strategies for addressing them. Once the research gap is identified, it becomes imperative to choose a meaningful research question. A well-chosen research question can lead to a compelling research proposal. In fact, doctoral researchers can positively shape their entire career by finalizing a good research proposal. Researchers are expected to choose topics that can potentially lead to impactful publications. Good publications fetch good citations. Well-published and well-cited researchers can easily find satisfying jobs in academia or industry. Choosing the right research topic, thus, can open doors to satisfying job opportunities worldwide.

Pathway to Success

There are several ways to ensure success in research. When in graduate school, students need to undertake several measures to identify a compelling research topic. Although conducting a thorough literature survey certainly facilitates this process, it is virtually impossible to choose the right research topic solely based on literature surveys. Students and early-stage researchers, therefore, need to brainstorm thoroughly with their advisor, talk to experts, and attend research seminars/conferences to listen to (and network with) established researchers. Quite often, taking up the relevant coursework (especially for interdisciplinary research areas) simplifies the process of research topic selection.

Choosing the right research question helps researchers stay focused and motivated throughout their career. Meaningful research questions eventually lead to meaningful discoveries and inventions. Robert Smith presented in Graduate Research: A Guide for Students in the Sciences (ISI Press, 1984) a list of 11 research questions to consider:

  • Can you enthusiastically pursue it?
  • Can you sustain your interest while pursuing it?
  • Is the problem solvable?
  • Is it worth pursuing?
  • Will it lead to other research problems?
  • Is it manageable in size?
  • What is the potential for making an original contribution to the literature in the field?
  • Will the scholars in your field receive the results well if you solve the problem?
  • Are you (or will you become) competent to solve it?
  • By solving it, will you have demonstrated independent skills in your discipline?
  • Will the necessary research prepare you in an area of demand or promise for the future?

Keeping these questions in mind while developing a research question can set the stage for a productive and fulfilling career.

Common Mistakes

There are several mistakes that students and early-stage researchers commit during the process of research topic selection. Some of the most common mistakes include:

  • Extending thesis work even after graduate school : If researchers choose topics that are direct extensions or clear derivatives of their thesis work, then they do not make significant value addition to the respective field of study. Choosing a radically new research topic, while still embarking on the broad area of specialization is indeed the key to success.
  • Choosing an obscure, irrelevant, or non-compelling research topic : This can adversely affect the researcher’s motivation levels and can drastically decrease their odds of attaining success.
  • Letting PhD advisors choose research topics for you : Although researchers often pursue work within the same field even after earning their PhD, they are less likely to conduct research on the same exact topic. For this reason, letting your advisor tell you what to study rather than you developing a question based on your own reading and experiences in the laboratory is another common mistake that can have lifelong consequences.

Finally, scientists should work in an environment that nurtures the natural chaos of developing a research direction. PhD advisors should also make it a point to thoroughly groom and mentor their PhD students. A good thesis advisor enables his/her students to choose good research topics.

Did your thesis advisor choose a research topic for you? Did he/she train and mentor you well? Were you able to choose your own research topic? Are you happy with your chosen research topic? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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Research topics for science or literature: Deep knowledge and a keen interest in any subject with a scholarly attitude are the prerequisites for any research work.

I am allowed to choose my research topic.

i want research topic for p.hd

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Thank you for posting your query. Selecting a good research topic is the first step towards carrying out a successful and impactful research study. A good research topic can help you attract funding and also help you to successfully publish in a prestigious journal. Unfortunately we are not aware of your field of research and hence will not be able to suggest you research topics. However, we can share few tips that might be helpful in selecting an appropriate research topic for your PhD. While choosing a research topic, you must carry out a thorough literature survey in your field or genre of research and look for a research gap. Identifying the research gap makes it easy to select a research topic and an appropriate research question. Once you have selected a research topic, you can check through our checklist available here .

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How to choose a PhD topic

How to decide on a PhD topic

Study tips Published 5 Apr, 2022  ·  4-minute read

Whether you’re diving right into your doctorate after a master’s degree or honours year, or you’re returning to study after a few years out in the field, working out how to choose a research topic for your PhD is an essential first step. We got some tips from two of our PhD candidates, Sarah Kendall and Chelsea Janke.

Some Doctor of Philosophy candidates are lucky. They start a PhD having already discovered their niche interest area, which means they never need to wonder how to choose a PhD topic.

Does this mean there’s something wrong with you if you don’t already have your thesis locked in?

Not at all.

Many students start their PhD journey with just a pure passion for research – a love for testing theories and making new discoveries – and figure out their specific research topic while working on their proposal . If you’re in this camp, or if you haven’t refined your thesis just yet, these tips can help you get there.

Sarah Kendall quote

Your PhD will take 3-4 years, so it's important that you choose something you're genuinely interested in.

How to choose a PhD topic

Sarah is the first to admit that choosing a PhD thesis topic is daunting. Her thesis examines lawyers’ approaches to prosecuting and defending domestic and family violence cases, but this topic didn’t come to her overnight.

“This can be really hard,” says Sarah.

“It took me years to decide on a PhD topic, and even then, it continued to change after starting my PhD.”

Chelsea, whose research explores ways to keep soil healthy while reducing environmental impact, agrees that your initial thesis may not necessarily stay the same throughout your PhD.

“Keep in mind that, as you progress through your PhD, your topic may change as you make new findings and discover some interesting things,” she says.

“This is fairly normal and is often why PhD topics aren’t always set in stone at the start.”

Remember this if you find yourself getting frustrated with how long it’s taking to pin down your research topic. You’ll be spending significant time ( at least 3 years ) researching this topic, so it’s reasonable to take a while on this decision. Make sure you land on a topic that truly inspires you, as you’ll need that inspiration to keep you motivated for the long haul.

With that said, though, there’s nothing wrong with picking a topic you’re 99% sure of and getting started sooner. As Sarah and Chelsea both say, adapting your thesis along the way is often part of the PhD journey.

Read, read, read

Chelsea Janke quote

Identify the things that really spark your interest and where you can find research gaps – that is, where there are still things we don't know.

Chelsea believes choosing your research topic begins with, well, research .

“Read widely on the general field that you’re interested in,” she says.

“Identify the things that really spark your interest and where you can find research gaps – that is, where there are still things we don’t know.”

Sarah agrees and acknowledges that sometimes this prior research can even translate into a separate project or even a degree.

“Do some research into the areas that interest you – this could take the form of an honours or other research project, or even a mock project that you do in your spare time,” she says.

“This will help you to decide your level of interest in the topic.”

Consider your subjects and speak with academics

Sarah recommends thinking about the courses from your current or previous program, as these can shine a light on what aspects of your field ignite your curiosity.

“Consider the subjects that you really enjoyed in your previous studies or those topics that you find really enjoyable to just learn about in your spare time,” she says.

“Narrow this down to a few areas, even if these are still pretty broad, then talk to as many academics as possible who do research in those areas. This is a really great way of finding out more about what’s topical in the area and what a potential project could look like.”

If you already know who you’d like to be your PhD supervisor, they are the obvious person to speak with first about refining your research topic. If not, learn how to find the right supervisor .

Check for openings on existing projects

Sometimes the best way to choose a PhD topic is to let the PhD topic choose you instead. Many academics keep open spots in their research projects for potential candidates to fill, providing opportunities for students to pursue their own thesis while assisting in a larger research team. We call these earmarked PhD projects .

In fact, this is what ended up helping Sarah select her thesis topic.

“Keep an eye out for projects that are being advertised by academics,” says Sarah.

“You might find one that fits with your area of interest, saving you much of the trouble of having to decide on your specific topic – this is how I came to be doing the project I’m currently doing!”

View available earmarked PhD projects at UQ

Ready to start researching your chosen topic? Discover the next steps for your PhD application.

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  • Dissertation

What Is a Dissertation? | Guide, Examples, & Template

Structure of a Dissertation

A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program.

Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you’ve ever completed. It requires solid research, writing, and analysis skills, and it can be intimidating to know where to begin.

Your department likely has guidelines related to how your dissertation should be structured. When in doubt, consult with your supervisor.

You can also download our full dissertation template in the format of your choice below. The template includes a ready-made table of contents with notes on what to include in each chapter, easily adaptable to your department’s requirements.

Download Word template Download Google Docs template

  • In the US, a dissertation generally refers to the collection of research you conducted to obtain a PhD.
  • In other countries (such as the UK), a dissertation often refers to the research you conduct to obtain your bachelor’s or master’s degree.

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Table of contents

Dissertation committee and prospectus process, how to write and structure a dissertation, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your dissertation, free checklist and lecture slides.

When you’ve finished your coursework, as well as any comprehensive exams or other requirements, you advance to “ABD” (All But Dissertation) status. This means you’ve completed everything except your dissertation.

Prior to starting to write, you must form your committee and write your prospectus or proposal . Your committee comprises your adviser and a few other faculty members. They can be from your own department, or, if your work is more interdisciplinary, from other departments. Your committee will guide you through the dissertation process, and ultimately decide whether you pass your dissertation defense and receive your PhD.

Your prospectus is a formal document presented to your committee, usually orally in a defense, outlining your research aims and objectives and showing why your topic is relevant . After passing your prospectus defense, you’re ready to start your research and writing.

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how to find a phd dissertation topic

The structure of your dissertation depends on a variety of factors, such as your discipline, topic, and approach. Dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay , building an overall argument to support a central thesis , with chapters organized around different themes or case studies.

However, hard science and social science dissertations typically include a review of existing works, a methodology section, an analysis of your original research, and a presentation of your results , presented in different chapters.

Dissertation examples

We’ve compiled a list of dissertation examples to help you get started.

  • Example dissertation #1: Heat, Wildfire and Energy Demand: An Examination of Residential Buildings and Community Equity (a dissertation by C. A. Antonopoulos about the impact of extreme heat and wildfire on residential buildings and occupant exposure risks).
  • Example dissertation #2: Exploring Income Volatility and Financial Health Among Middle-Income Households (a dissertation by M. Addo about income volatility and declining economic security among middle-income households).
  • Example dissertation #3: The Use of Mindfulness Meditation to Increase the Efficacy of Mirror Visual Feedback for Reducing Phantom Limb Pain in Amputees (a dissertation by N. S. Mills about the effect of mindfulness-based interventions on the relationship between mirror visual feedback and the pain level in amputees with phantom limb pain).

The very first page of your document contains your dissertation title, your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date. Sometimes it also includes your student number, your supervisor’s name, and the university’s logo.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional and gives space for you to thank everyone who helped you in writing your dissertation. This might include your supervisors, participants in your research, and friends or family who supported you. In some cases, your acknowledgements are part of a preface.

Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

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The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150 to 300 words long. Though this may seem very short, it’s one of the most important parts of your dissertation, because it introduces your work to your audience.

Your abstract should:

  • State your main topic and the aims of your research
  • Describe your methods
  • Summarize your main results
  • State your conclusions

Read more about abstracts

The table of contents lists all of your chapters, along with corresponding subheadings and page numbers. This gives your reader an overview of your structure and helps them easily navigate your document.

Remember to include all main parts of your dissertation in your table of contents, even the appendices. It’s easy to generate a table automatically in Word if you used heading styles. Generally speaking, you only include level 2 and level 3 headings, not every subheading you included in your finished work.

Read more about tables of contents

While not usually mandatory, it’s nice to include a list of figures and tables to help guide your reader if you have used a lot of these in your dissertation. It’s easy to generate one of these in Word using the Insert Caption feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

Similarly, if you have used a lot of abbreviations (especially industry-specific ones) in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meanings.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

In addition to the list of abbreviations, if you find yourself using a lot of highly specialized terms that you worry will not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary. Here, alphabetize the terms and include a brief description or definition.

Read more about glossaries

The introduction serves to set up your dissertation’s topic, purpose, and relevance. It tells the reader what to expect in the rest of your dissertation. The introduction should:

  • Establish your research topic , giving the background information needed to contextualize your work
  • Narrow down the focus and define the scope of your research
  • Discuss the state of existing research on the topic, showing your work’s relevance to a broader problem or debate
  • Clearly state your research questions and objectives
  • Outline the flow of the rest of your work

Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant. By the end, the reader should understand the what, why, and how of your research.

Read more about introductions

A formative part of your research is your literature review . This helps you gain a thorough understanding of the academic work that already exists on your topic.

Literature reviews encompass:

  • Finding relevant sources (e.g., books and journal articles)
  • Assessing the credibility of your sources
  • Critically analyzing and evaluating each source
  • Drawing connections between them (e.g., themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps) to strengthen your overall point

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing sources. Your literature review should have a coherent structure and argument that leads to a clear justification for your own research. It may aim to:

  • Address a gap in the literature or build on existing knowledge
  • Take a new theoretical or methodological approach to your topic
  • Propose a solution to an unresolved problem or advance one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework. Here, you define and analyze the key theories, concepts, and models that frame your research.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter describes how you conducted your research, allowing your reader to critically assess its credibility. Your methodology section should accurately report what you did, as well as convince your reader that this was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • The overall research approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative ) and research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment )
  • Details of where, when, and with whom the research took place
  • Any tools and materials you used (e.g., computer programs, lab equipment)
  • Your data analysis methods (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • An evaluation or justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses , or themes, but avoid including any subjective or speculative interpretation here.

Your results section should:

  • Concisely state each relevant result together with relevant descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Briefly state how the result relates to the question or whether the hypothesis was supported
  • Report all results that are relevant to your research questions , including any that did not meet your expectations.

Additional data (including raw numbers, full questionnaires, or interview transcripts) can be included as an appendix. You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results. Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is your opportunity to explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research question. Here, interpret your results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. Refer back to relevant source material to show how your results fit within existing research in your field.

Some guiding questions include:

  • What do your results mean?
  • Why do your results matter?
  • What limitations do the results have?

If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. It’s a good idea to consider alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your dissertation’s conclusion should concisely answer your main research question, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your central argument and emphasizing what your research has contributed to the field.

In some disciplines, the conclusion is just a short section preceding the discussion section, but in other contexts, it is the final chapter of your work. Here, you wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you found, with recommendations for future research and concluding remarks.

It’s important to leave the reader with a clear impression of why your research matters. What have you added to what was already known? Why is your research necessary for the future of your field?

Read more about conclusions

It is crucial to include a reference list or list of works cited with the full details of all the sources that you used, in order to avoid plagiarism. Be sure to choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your dissertation. Each style has strict and specific formatting requirements.

Common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA , but which style you use is often set by your department or your field.

Create APA citations Create MLA citations

Your dissertation should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question. Documents such as interview transcripts or survey questions can be added as appendices, rather than adding them to the main body.

Read more about appendices

Making sure that all of your sections are in the right place is only the first step to a well-written dissertation. Don’t forget to leave plenty of time for editing and proofreading, as grammar mistakes and sloppy spelling errors can really negatively impact your work.

Dissertations can take up to five years to write, so you will definitely want to make sure that everything is perfect before submitting. You may want to consider using a professional dissertation editing service , AI proofreader or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect prior to submitting.

After your written dissertation is approved, your committee will schedule a defense. Similarly to defending your prospectus, dissertation defenses are oral presentations of your work. You’ll present your dissertation, and your committee will ask you questions. Many departments allow family members, friends, and other people who are interested to join as well.

After your defense, your committee will meet, and then inform you whether you have passed. Keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality; most committees will have resolved any serious issues with your work with you far prior to your defense, giving you ample time to fix any problems.

As you write your dissertation, you can use this simple checklist to make sure you’ve included all the essentials.

Checklist: Dissertation

My title page includes all information required by my university.

I have included acknowledgements thanking those who helped me.

My abstract provides a concise summary of the dissertation, giving the reader a clear idea of my key results or arguments.

I have created a table of contents to help the reader navigate my dissertation. It includes all chapter titles, but excludes the title page, acknowledgements, and abstract.

My introduction leads into my topic in an engaging way and shows the relevance of my research.

My introduction clearly defines the focus of my research, stating my research questions and research objectives .

My introduction includes an overview of the dissertation’s structure (reading guide).

I have conducted a literature review in which I (1) critically engage with sources, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of existing research, (2) discuss patterns, themes, and debates in the literature, and (3) address a gap or show how my research contributes to existing research.

I have clearly outlined the theoretical framework of my research, explaining the theories and models that support my approach.

I have thoroughly described my methodology , explaining how I collected data and analyzed data.

I have concisely and objectively reported all relevant results .

I have (1) evaluated and interpreted the meaning of the results and (2) acknowledged any important limitations of the results in my discussion .

I have clearly stated the answer to my main research question in the conclusion .

I have clearly explained the implications of my conclusion, emphasizing what new insight my research has contributed.

I have provided relevant recommendations for further research or practice.

If relevant, I have included appendices with supplemental information.

I have included an in-text citation every time I use words, ideas, or information from a source.

I have listed every source in a reference list at the end of my dissertation.

I have consistently followed the rules of my chosen citation style .

I have followed all formatting guidelines provided by my university.

Congratulations!

The end is in sight—your dissertation is nearly ready to submit! Make sure it's perfectly polished with the help of a Scribbr editor.

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Tips for writing a PhD dissertation: FAQs answered

From how to choose a topic to writing the abstract and managing work-life balance through the years it takes to complete a doctorate, here we collect expert advice to get you through the PhD writing process

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Embarking on a PhD is “probably the most challenging task that a young scholar attempts to do”, write Mark Stephan Felix and Ian Smith in their practical guide to dissertation and thesis writing. After years of reading and research to answer a specific question or proposition, the candidate will submit about 80,000 words that explain their methods and results and demonstrate their unique contribution to knowledge. Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about writing a doctoral thesis or dissertation.

What’s the difference between a dissertation and a thesis?

Whatever the genre of the doctorate, a PhD must offer an original contribution to knowledge. The terms “dissertation” and “thesis” both refer to the long-form piece of work produced at the end of a research project and are often used interchangeably. Which one is used might depend on the country, discipline or university. In the UK, “thesis” is generally used for the work done for a PhD, while a “dissertation” is written for a master’s degree. The US did the same until the 1960s, says Oxbridge Essays, when the convention switched, and references appeared to a “master’s thesis” and “doctoral dissertation”. To complicate matters further, undergraduate long essays are also sometimes referred to as a thesis or dissertation.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “thesis” as “a dissertation, especially by a candidate for a degree” and “dissertation” as “a detailed discourse on a subject, especially one submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of a degree or diploma”.

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The title “doctor of philosophy”, incidentally, comes from the degree’s origins, write Dr Felix, an associate professor at Mahidol University in Thailand, and Dr Smith, retired associate professor of education at the University of Sydney , whose co-authored guide focuses on the social sciences. The PhD was first awarded in the 19th century by the philosophy departments of German universities, which at that time taught science, social science and liberal arts.

How long should a PhD thesis be?

A PhD thesis (or dissertation) is typically 60,000 to 120,000 words ( 100 to 300 pages in length ) organised into chapters, divisions and subdivisions (with roughly 10,000 words per chapter) – from introduction (with clear aims and objectives) to conclusion.

The structure of a dissertation will vary depending on discipline (humanities, social sciences and STEM all have their own conventions), location and institution. Examples and guides to structure proliferate online. The University of Salford , for example, lists: title page, declaration, acknowledgements, abstract, table of contents, lists of figures, tables and abbreviations (where needed), chapters, appendices and references.

A scientific-style thesis will likely need: introduction, literature review, materials and methods, results, discussion, bibliography and references.

As well as checking the overall criteria and expectations of your institution for your research, consult your school handbook for the required length and format (font, layout conventions and so on) for your dissertation.

A PhD takes three to four years to complete; this might extend to six to eight years for a part-time doctorate.

What are the steps for completing a PhD?

Before you get started in earnest , you’ll likely have found a potential supervisor, who will guide your PhD journey, and done a research proposal (which outlines what you plan to research and how) as part of your application, as well as a literature review of existing scholarship in the field, which may form part of your final submission.

In the UK, PhD candidates undertake original research and write the results in a thesis or dissertation, says author and vlogger Simon Clark , who posted videos to YouTube throughout his own PhD journey . Then they submit the thesis in hard copy and attend the viva voce (which is Latin for “living voice” and is also called an oral defence or doctoral defence) to convince the examiners that their work is original, understood and all their own. Afterwards, if necessary, they make changes and resubmit. If the changes are approved, the degree is awarded.

The steps are similar in Australia , although candidates are mostly assessed on their thesis only; some universities may include taught courses, and some use a viva voce. A PhD in Australia usually takes three years full time.

In the US, the PhD process begins with taught classes (similar to a taught master’s) and a comprehensive exam (called a “field exam” or “dissertation qualifying exam”) before the candidate embarks on their original research. The whole journey takes four to six years.

A PhD candidate will need three skills and attitudes to get through their doctoral studies, says Tara Brabazon , professor of cultural studies at Flinders University in Australia who has written extensively about the PhD journey :

  • master the academic foundational skills (research, writing, ability to navigate different modalities)
  • time-management skills and the ability to focus on reading and writing
  • determined motivation to do a PhD.

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How do I choose the topic for my PhD dissertation or thesis?

It’s important to find a topic that will sustain your interest for the years it will take to complete a PhD. “Finding a sustainable topic is the most important thing you [as a PhD student] would do,” says Dr Brabazon in a video for Times Higher Education . “Write down on a big piece of paper all the topics, all the ideas, all the questions that really interest you, and start to cross out all the ones that might just be a passing interest.” Also, she says, impose the “Who cares? Who gives a damn?” question to decide if the topic will be useful in a future academic career.

The availability of funding and scholarships is also often an important factor in this decision, says veteran PhD supervisor Richard Godwin, from Harper Adams University .

Define a gap in knowledge – and one that can be questioned, explored, researched and written about in the time available to you, says Gina Wisker, head of the Centre for Learning and Teaching at the University of Brighton. “Set some boundaries,” she advises. “Don’t try to ask everything related to your topic in every way.”

James Hartley, research professor in psychology at Keele University, says it can also be useful to think about topics that spark general interest. If you do pick something that taps into the zeitgeist, your findings are more likely to be noticed.

You also need to find someone else who is interested in it, too. For STEM candidates , this will probably be a case of joining a team of people working in a similar area where, ideally, scholarship funding is available. A centre for doctoral training (CDT) or doctoral training partnership (DTP) will advertise research projects. For those in the liberal arts and social sciences, it will be a matter of identifying a suitable supervisor .

Avoid topics that are too broad (hunger across a whole country, for example) or too narrow (hunger in a single street) to yield useful solutions of academic significance, write Mark Stephan Felix and Ian Smith. And ensure that you’re not repeating previous research or trying to solve a problem that has already been answered. A PhD thesis must be original.

What is a thesis proposal?

After you have read widely to refine your topic and ensure that it and your research methods are original, and discussed your project with a (potential) supervisor, you’re ready to write a thesis proposal , a document of 1,500 to 3,000 words that sets out the proposed direction of your research. In the UK, a research proposal is usually part of the application process for admission to a research degree. As with the final dissertation itself, format varies among disciplines, institutions and countries but will usually contain title page, aims, literature review, methodology, timetable and bibliography. Examples of research proposals are available online.

How to write an abstract for a dissertation or thesis

The abstract presents your thesis to the wider world – and as such may be its most important element , says the NUI Galway writing guide. It outlines the why, how, what and so what of the thesis . Unlike the introduction, which provides background but not research findings, the abstract summarises all sections of the dissertation in a concise, thorough, focused way and demonstrates how well the writer understands their material. Check word-length limits with your university – and stick to them. About 300 to 500 words is a rough guide ­– but it can be up to 1,000 words.

The abstract is also important for selection and indexing of your thesis, according to the University of Melbourne guide , so be sure to include searchable keywords.

It is the first thing to be read but the last element you should write. However, Pat Thomson , professor of education at the University of Nottingham , advises that it is not something to be tackled at the last minute.

How to write a stellar conclusion

As well as chapter conclusions, a thesis often has an overall conclusion to draw together the key points covered and to reflect on the unique contribution to knowledge. It can comment on future implications of the research and open up new ideas emanating from the work. It is shorter and more general than the discussion chapter , says online editing site Scribbr, and reiterates how the work answers the main question posed at the beginning of the thesis. The conclusion chapter also often discusses the limitations of the research (time, scope, word limit, access) in a constructive manner.

It can be useful to keep a collection of ideas as you go – in the online forum DoctoralWriting SIG , academic developer Claire Aitchison, of the University of South Australia , suggests using a “conclusions bank” for themes and inspirations, and using free-writing to keep this final section fresh. (Just when you feel you’ve run out of steam.) Avoid aggrandising or exaggerating the impact of your work. It should remind the reader what has been done, and why it matters.

How to format a bibliography (or where to find a reliable model)

Most universities use a preferred style of references , writes THE associate editor Ingrid Curl. Make sure you know what this is and follow it. “One of the most common errors in academic writing is to cite papers in the text that do not then appear in the bibliography. All references in your thesis need to be cross-checked with the bibliography before submission. Using a database during your research can save a great deal of time in the writing-up process.”

A bibliography contains not only works cited explicitly but also those that have informed or contributed to the research – and as such illustrates its scope; works are not limited to written publications but include sources such as film or visual art.

Examiners can start marking from the back of the script, writes Dr Brabazon. “Just as cooks are judged by their ingredients and implements, we judge doctoral students by the calibre of their sources,” she advises. She also says that candidates should be prepared to speak in an oral examination of the PhD about any texts included in their bibliography, especially if there is a disconnect between the thesis and the texts listed.

Can I use informal language in my PhD?

Don’t write like a stereotypical academic , say Kevin Haggerty, professor of sociology at the University of Alberta , and Aaron Doyle, associate professor in sociology at Carleton University , in their tongue-in-cheek guide to the PhD journey. “If you cannot write clearly and persuasively, everything about PhD study becomes harder.” Avoid jargon, exotic words, passive voice and long, convoluted sentences – and work on it consistently. “Writing is like playing guitar; it can improve only through consistent, concerted effort.”

Be deliberate and take care with your writing . “Write your first draft, leave it and then come back to it with a critical eye. Look objectively at the writing and read it closely for style and sense,” advises THE ’s Ms Curl. “Look out for common errors such as dangling modifiers, subject-verb disagreement and inconsistency. If you are too involved with the text to be able to take a step back and do this, then ask a friend or colleague to read it with a critical eye. Remember Hemingway’s advice: ‘Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.’ Clarity is key.”

How often should a PhD candidate meet with their supervisor?

Since the PhD supervisor provides a range of support and advice – including on research techniques, planning and submission – regular formal supervisions are essential, as is establishing a line of contact such as email if the candidate needs help or advice outside arranged times. The frequency varies according to university, discipline and individual scholars.

Once a week is ideal, says Dr Brabazon. She also advocates a two-hour initial meeting to establish the foundations of the candidate-supervisor relationship .

The University of Edinburgh guide to writing a thesis suggests that creating a timetable of supervisor meetings right at the beginning of the research process will allow candidates to ensure that their work stays on track throughout. The meetings are also the place to get regular feedback on draft chapters.

“A clear structure and a solid framework are vital for research,” writes Dr Godwin on THE Campus . Use your supervisor to establish this and provide a realistic view of what can be achieved. “It is vital to help students identify the true scientific merit, the practical significance of their work and its value to society.”

How to proofread your dissertation (what to look for)

Proofreading is the final step before printing and submission. Give yourself time to ensure that your work is the best it can be . Don’t leave proofreading to the last minute; ideally, break it up into a few close-reading sessions. Find a quiet place without distractions. A checklist can help ensure that all aspects are covered.

Proofing is often helped by a change of format – so it can be easier to read a printout rather than working off the screen – or by reading sections out of order. Fresh eyes are better at spotting typographical errors and inconsistencies, so leave time between writing and proofreading. Check with your university’s policies before asking another person to proofread your thesis for you.

As well as close details such as spelling and grammar, check that all sections are complete, all required elements are included , and nothing is repeated or redundant. Don’t forget to check headings and subheadings. Does the text flow from one section to another? Is the structure clear? Is the work a coherent whole with a clear line throughout?

Ensure consistency in, for example, UK v US spellings, capitalisation, format, numbers (digits or words, commas, units of measurement), contractions, italics and hyphenation. Spellchecks and online plagiarism checkers are also your friend.

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How do you manage your time to complete a PhD dissertation?

Treat your PhD like a full-time job, that is, with an eight-hour working day. Within that, you’ll need to plan your time in a way that gives a sense of progress . Setbacks and periods where it feels as if you are treading water are all but inevitable, so keeping track of small wins is important, writes A Happy PhD blogger Luis P. Prieto.

Be specific with your goals – use the SMART acronym (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely).

And it’s never too soon to start writing – even if early drafts are overwritten and discarded.

“ Write little and write often . Many of us make the mistake of taking to writing as one would take to a sprint, in other words, with relatively short bursts of intense activity. Whilst this can prove productive, generally speaking it is not sustainable…In addition to sustaining your activity, writing little bits on a frequent basis ensures that you progress with your thinking. The comfort of remaining in abstract thought is common; writing forces us to concretise our thinking,” says Christian Gilliam, AHSS researcher developer at the University of Cambridge ’s Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Make time to write. “If you are more alert early in the day, find times that suit you in the morning; if you are a ‘night person’, block out some writing sessions in the evenings,” advises NUI Galway’s Dermot Burns, a lecturer in English and creative arts. Set targets, keep daily notes of experiment details that you will need in your thesis, don’t confuse writing with editing or revising – and always back up your work.

What work-life balance tips should I follow to complete my dissertation?

During your PhD programme, you may have opportunities to take part in professional development activities, such as teaching, attending academic conferences and publishing your work. Your research may include residencies, field trips or archive visits. This will require time-management skills as well as prioritising where you devote your energy and factoring in rest and relaxation. Organise your routine to suit your needs , and plan for steady and regular progress.

How to deal with setbacks while writing a thesis or dissertation

Have a contingency plan for delays or roadblocks such as unexpected results.

Accept that writing is messy, first drafts are imperfect, and writer’s block is inevitable, says Dr Burns. His tips for breaking it include relaxation to free your mind from clutter, writing a plan and drawing a mind map of key points for clarity. He also advises feedback, reflection and revision: “Progressing from a rough version of your thoughts to a superior and workable text takes time, effort, different perspectives and some expertise.”

“Academia can be a relentlessly brutal merry-go-round of rejection, rebuttal and failure,” writes Lorraine Hope , professor of applied cognitive psychology at the University of Portsmouth, on THE Campus. Resilience is important. Ensure that you and your supervisor have a relationship that supports open, frank, judgement-free communication.

If you found this interesting and want advice and insight from academics and university staff delivered direct to your inbox each week, sign up for the THE Campus newsletter .

Authoring a PhD Thesis: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Dissertation (2003), by Patrick Dunleavy

Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis (1998), by Joan Balker

Challenges in Writing Your Dissertation: Coping with the Emotional, Interpersonal, and Spiritual Struggles (2015), by Noelle Sterne

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626 Dissertation Topics for Ph.D. and Thesis Ideas for Master Students

If you are about to go into the world of graduate school, then one of the first things you need to do is choose from all the possible dissertation topics available to you. This is no small task. You are likely to spend many years researching your Master’s or Ph.D. topic and writing the text. This means that choosing a dissertation topic should not be taken lightly.

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No worries! Just read this article by our Custom Writing service , and you’ll find:

  • a collection of great thesis topics on finance, education, management, law, etc.
  • a range of tips on choosing a killing Ph.D. topic.
  • 👍 Top 10 Dissertation Topics
  • 🆚 Thesis vs Dissertation
  • 🔝 Top 10 Thesis Topics
  • 🎓 Thesis Topics List
  • ✅ How to Choose a Topic

👍Top 10 Dissertation Topics

  • Ethical alternatives to animal testing.
  • What’s the future of the Dead Sea?
  • Does accent affect singing ability?
  • The importance of corporate values.
  • Can we regulate influencer marketing?
  • How does inflation affect small businesses?
  • Is homeschooling the future of education?
  • How does Tourette’s syndrome affect one’s daily life?
  • How to conduct market analysis for e-commerce.
  • Has globalization affected cultural appropriation?

🆚 Dissertation vs. Thesis: Is There a Difference?

People often consider a thesis and a dissertation to be the same thing. Yet, there is an important distinction between them. The key difference is that you need a thesis to complete a master’s degree, while a dissertation is necessary for obtaining a doctorate. Keep in mind that it’s vice versa in European higher education.

Here are some other differences:

Despite these differences, theses and dissertations have a lot in common:

  • You need them to complete a degree.
  • Both require certain levels of expertise and writing skills.
  • You defend an argument in both of them.
  • Plagiarism is prohibited in both theses and dissertations.

🔝 Top 10 Thesis Topics for 2024

  • The consequences of obesity.
  • The influence of social media .
  • Economic development and happiness.
  • Feminism in the United States.
  • The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Racism in schools and colleges.
  • Overeducation in the labor market.
  • DNA evidence in criminal justice.
  • Sales forecasting techniques.
  • Wage difference among athletes.

🎓 Thesis Topics & Ideas

Below, you’ll find a collection of excellent topics for a thesis. To simplify the task, it’s not a bad idea to use a topic chooser . We’ve also prepared a checklist that will help you make the right choice. If you agree with the following statements, you’ve chosen a good thesis topic:

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  • You are interested in this subject.  It will be easier for you to work on it if you like your area of research. Remember that you will have to spend long hours looking through various data. You need to stay motivated.
  • The topic is helpful in your career path.  Choose a topic that you can apply to further research if you plan to pursue your career in the academic field. Choose something that you can use in your CV if you decided to work in the industry.
  • There is enough available research data.  Don’t choose a topic that is too trivial or uncommon. It is essential to find enough relevant information. Consult your supervisor to understand if you can proceed with it.
  • The topic isn’t too broad or too narrow.  Otherwise, it will be harder for you to find credible sources and relevant data.
  • You already have an understanding of it . Make a list of thesis topics that include the issues you have researched before. It will save you some time and allow you to evaluate your opportunities.
  • Your topic is unique.  Make sure there are no other papers that explore exactly the same issue. The value of your work is your original contribution to the research. If somebody has already investigated the topic, there is not much sense in proceeding with it.

The picture shows the main characteristics of a good thesis topic.

Wondering where to find the most current topic for your research? We’ve collected them below.

Computer Science Thesis Topics

Computers surround us everywhere. From hospitals to home offices, it’s impossible to imagine life without them. A doctorate in computer science can allow you many career opportunities!

  • The latest developments in AI use for healthcare services . Healthcare in the US is expensive for its citizens. One way to reduce the cost is using computer algorithms. This technology research topic lets you explore how AI helps physicians with their tasks.
  • Computer security for public institutions. Several allegations about hackers stealing data from the US government emerged in recent years. With this dissertation idea, study public cybersecurity. Also, discuss ways to improve cybersecurity practices.
  • Visual recognition system architecture: real-time object detection. Discuss a system based on neural networks capable of detecting objects. Focus on the virtual environment. You can alter this trending topic in computer science for real-life settings.
  • Blockchain application outside financial technologies. Analyze and discuss the implications of using blockchain systems outside of the fintech sector. For example, study its use for public services and in government agencies. This topic allows exploring ways of applying established algorithms.
  • Machine learning and text structures. Discuss ways of visualizing text categorization. Focus on complex hierarchical structures of texts. This topic is suitable for postgraduates.
  • Encrypted search: security, performance, and usage. Discuss the use of encryptions to protect data. Say how we can improve it for effective information search.
  • Use of computers in education . Study how algorithms can improve learning. This topic can be altered for other fields. For example, choose AI in business or agriculture.
  • Graphics and visual computing: current state and the future. By now, CAD programs are an integral part of every engineer’s tool kit. Your thesis can analyze the potential of those programs. What would improve their performance? Is there a chance that they will become obsolete?
  • Multimedia databases parsing and indexing. Netflix and YouTube require technology to search across their multimedia databases. This dissertation can be a survey on best practices. Or, add a company name to the title and focus your research on it.
  • AI Marketing: the use of algorithms to improve advertising. In the previous list of research question examples, you can choose a narrow marketing theme. Then, discuss the implications of such algorithms.
  • Study computation of models for virtual environments .
  • Cybersecurity challenges for automated vehicles.
  • AI and vehicle automation: potential safety gaps.
  • Computer graphics : perspectives for medical imaging.
  • Research the use of computer algorithms for medical analysis .
  • Discuss the role of bioinformatics in healthcare improvement.
  • How is a computer-aided design used in creating automobile parts?
  • Review the best practices for System Level Testing of distributed systems.
  • Agile project management for software engineers .
  • Software development risks analysis for successful employment.
  • Study the security mechanisms for WLAN networks .
  • Malicious botnets and network worms: an overview.
  • What are the best practices in ICT systems development?
  • Web-based document management systems using XML.
  • Best algorithms for cluster generation.
  • Methods for improving Open Web Architecture.
  • Analyze software solutions for the increased energy efficiency .
  • Protection of systems against terror attacks : a case study and analysis.
  • New methods of risk management during software development.
  • Analyze how Web space requirements are changing.
  • Analyze how e-publishing is affecting libraries.
  • New methods for studying the behavior of malware, viruses, and worms with the use of secure programming and runtime environments.
  • Analyze redundancy and fault recovery in the 4G wireless network .
  • Analyze the implementation and analysis of the optimal algorithm vs the heuristic algorithm for the generation of clusters.
  • Analyze how full-text databases affect search engines.

Humanities and Art History Thesis Topics

Do you want to put your passion into words? Would you like to share your ideas with the world? Then pursuing a Ph.D. in the arts or humanities is the right path for you.

  • The history of cinema : past and present. With this history dissertation topic, focus on how cinema developed. Explore the period starting from the first short films by the Lumiere brothers. Finish the discussion with modern-day Hollywood examples.
  • Art or commerce: a case study of Hollywood films. Discuss the intersection between artistic expression and profit. This exciting arts topic focuses on modern cinema. You can use examples of art-house movies and modern commercially successful ones.
  • Hollywood vs. Bollywood . Compare the two distinct film production centers for this art thesis. Next, discuss how local cultures impact Hollywood and Bollywood movies’ direction, genres, and plots.
  • The use of visual tools in interior design . This dissertation topic is an intersection between arts and computer science . The focus is on how visualization tools help to create design projects.
  • Racism in the 21st-century literature. Focus on how the narratives about racism have changed. Include examples from poetry and prose of this era. Compare it to works published in the past.
  • The cultural aesthetic of Afrofuturism in literature. This dissertation idea allows you to explore the intersection of arts. Specifically, see how culture, philosophy of science, and history manifest in Afrofuturism .
  • The social value of ecopoetry. Analyze how literature that focuses on ecological problems. Discuss environmental consciousness and environmental issues .
  • Graphic novels: the best examples and implications for the development of literature. What does it mean when literary classics are converted into graphic novels? Incorporate the question if graphic novels can become part of the literary canon.
  • Theater of the Absurd in the 1950s and 1960s. Discuss this form of theatrical art. Examine how it emerged and why it became influential.
  • Post World War II art : cinema and literature. Use examples of films and literary works. Discuss major works of the post-WWII era and their themes.
  • Futurism and the Czech avant-garde : the artistic connection between Europe’s East and West.
  • Study the phenomenon of the hero archetype.
  • Assess dancing as a form of meditation .
  • Review the common elements of various African dances.
  • Folk dances across Western Europe.
  • Discuss regional dances and dance as a ritual.
  • Animation as a modern art form.
  • Research the art of glass-making and its prospects for the future.
  • Analyze the cultural impact of The Beatles beyond music.
  • Literature censorship in the US.
  • Examine the intersection of ecology and arts.
  • Heidelberg Project: is it a model for creating art in urban areas?
  • Study kinetic sculptures of the 20th century.
  • What characterizes social activism in 20 th -century rock music?
  • Jazz in the 21st century: a potential for revival.
  • The history of design in various periods of human existence (the ancient times, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, etc.).
  • Design as art .
  • Philosophy of design.
  • Separate branches of design ( interior design , car design, toy design, etc.).
  • Stylistic peculiarities of a certain designer.
  • Web design as a modern quintessence of design.
  • Social significance of design.
  • The birth of Communism as it relates to Stendhal.
  • The relationship between politics and literature in the 19 th century.
  • An analysis and case study of artists and art during times of war.
  • How contemporary art is related to American suffering.
  • Analyze of how racism relates to the family unit.

List of Science Topics for Your Thesis

A dissertation in science will probably require you to run numerous experiments. Many of them will probably go wrong. But the one that does work might be the next big breakthrough! Find a suitable research theme in the following list of topics:

  • Bacterial injections for the treatment of cancer tumors. Injecting bacteria into tumors is a fairly new approach to treating cancer . Review the mechanism of action and evaluate the potential of this method for curing cancer.
  • Computer imagining and AI for cancer detection . Examine how AI-assisted cancer screening improves accuracy. Include early detection implications and usage in hospitals.
  • Ethics of organ donations and transplantation. With this dissertation topic in science, examine the ethics of encouraging people to donate their organs. Include the implications for medical research and practice.
  • An epidemiological and molecular approach to cancer prevention . This topic idea suggests assessing the current understanding of how cancer develops as well as potential prevention strategies.
  • Ways of speeding up vaccine development and testing. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the process of vaccine development is relatively slow. It takes a long time to ensure proper testing. You may discuss these issues in your biochemistry dissertation.
  • The current state of research into ultra-fast rechargeable batteries. The topic of batteries and energy attracts lots of attention. With this topic, you can examine how to improve the design of aluminum-ion batteries. Include ways to decrease their charging time.
  • Nanotechnologies in drug delivery: electrospraying. Current research shows the great potential of nanotechnologies. In particular, the electrospraying technique makes nanoparticle delivery more efficient.
  • Prevalence of various Helicobacter Pylori virulence in a population. Conduct quantitative research and examine a sample of patients to determine the number infected with Helicobacter Pylori.
  • The relationship between gut microbiota and the person’s appetite . Your research can explore the theory that the gut microbiome has varied effects on the person’s body. Review the implications for obesity treatment for different gut microbiomes.
  • The age of antibiotics: is it over? Examine the use of antibiotics and the reasons for its decline. Discuss the evolving nature of bacteria that require remedies other than antibiotics. Include quantitative data in this dissertation for a specific type of disease.
  • CRISPR method for studying human DNA.
  • The study of human evolution : latest discoveries.
  • Denisovans from Siberia: a new type of hominid discovered.
  • Study the use of AI in archeology .
  • Conduct a study of the Neanderthal genome sequence.
  • What are the ways of improving solar cell efficiency?
  • The carbon footprint of modern production: how do companies damage the environment?
  • Research the use of cesium in solar panels .
  • The era of supercapacitors: are we ending the use of batteries?
  • Assess the efficiency of Robot Suits for people with permanent paralysis.
  • Microscale medial robots: potential applications.
  • Look into stem cell mobilization and its mechanisms.
  • Discuss the ethics of automated cars .
  • Space robotics: can we design robots capable of exploring space?
  • Evaluate the efficiency and potential of lithium-based rechargeable batteries.
  • Morality and ethics of stem cell research .
  • Is behavior controlled or affected by genetics and to what level.
  • A look at methods of improving risk factors post-stroke.
  • Analyze of Chinese herbal practice and its relevance to conventional medicine.
  • Analyze the effect schools have on childhood obesity .

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  • New methods of using existing data to gather information that is useful.
  • An in-depth look at the factors affecting the decline of the immune system with age.
  • Analyze of the potential effect of nanotechnology on health and the environment.
  • Analyze of toxicity levels of inhaled nanoparticles.
  • The usefulness of nanotechnology in curing some types of cancer .
  • An analysis and case study of the treatment of patients who have experienced a loss of memory.
  • Analyze the use of DNA typing of remains to identify missing people and the victims of crime.
  • The response of immune deficiency diseases to the activation of T-cell subsets.
  • The influence and importance of IT in the field of biomedicine.

Architecture Thesis Topics

Architecture is more than just aesthetics. That’s become especially clear ever since the doctrine “form follows function” gained traction. Whether you’re into baroque or Bauhaus, there’s plenty to discover about architecture.

  • Religious architecture in the British Empire. Research the transformation of religious buildings and how it affected architecture in general. 
  • Modernist architecture in the USSR at the beginning of the 20th century. Compare modernist architecture in the USSR with other countries. 
  • Urban greening and its influence on buildings’ design . The dissertation proposal can include green roofs as the main point of research. 
  • Brutalism and its history in New York . Provide historical research of brutalism in New York and discuss how it affects modern architecture. 
  • Modern-day aboriginal settlements in Australia. Using examples from media and research, indicate how aboriginal settlements are perceived and handled today. 
  • Transformation of the urban design in the 21st century. Using London, Hong-Kong, and New York as examples, provide an in-depth discussion of changes in the urban design. 
  • The architectural history of Seattle. Conduct research and write a proposal that will compare different architectural styles seen in Seattle. 
  • Integration of culture in environmental design. In this proposal, you can use large cities in Asia as primary examples of the synergy between culture and architecture. 
  • The architecture of residential buildings during the second half of the 20th century. Choose one or several large cities (e.g., Berlin, Miami, Kyoto) as the basis for your research. 
  • The history of Moscow Avant-Garde. Use both Soviet and modern Russian research on Avant-Garde to present the topic accurately. 
  • Use of computer visuals in architecture. 
  • Review the trends in modern furniture design. 
  • Ecology and architecture: integration of green technologies. 
  • Discuss the multiculturalism of contemporary urban architecture. 
  • The history of architecture in urban areas of the US: the study of New York. 
  • Modern city design case study. 
  • Research ways of using wood in modern architecture. 
  • Commercial architecture: aesthetics and usability. 
  • Evaluate the design of municipal buildings in the US. 
  • Creativity in postmodernist architecture. 
  • How do we integrate smart home technology into architecture? 
  • Small scale homes: a study of growing interest in small housing. 
  • Discuss the use of lighting in building design. 
  • Study innovations in structural design in the digital age. 
  • What are the implications of inclusive architecture? 
  • Sustainable architecture: recycling spaces and materials.  
  • Renewable energy in home design. 
  • Assess open concept homes for American families. 
  • Conduct a study of family homes design. 
  • Research architecture suitable for middle-class families. 

Thesis Topics in English Literature & World Literature

Was your New Year’s Resolution to re-read the 100 most influential classical works? Then you might want to consider writing a thesis in advanced higher English. Check out these engaging prompts:

  • In-depth stylistic analysis of The Trial by Franz Kafka . Explain what stylistic devices Kafka used in his story. 
  • The influence of The Hound of the Baskervilles on the development of modern detective stories. Prepare several comparisons of The Hound with modern detective stories to pinpoint its influence. 
  • The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum : women characters in Heinrich Böll’s fiction. Using the book mentioned in the topic, examine how the German writer depicted women in his prose. 
  • Analysis of the terrorism portrayal in modern journalism: The New York Times case study. Pick several articles related to terrorism published in NYT and describe in detail how it is portrayed (keywords, images, etc.).
  • A formalist approach to Dostoevsky: analysis of The Brothers Karamazov . Provide the reader with an explanation of the formalist approach and use it to analyze the novel. 
  • The depiction of sexual violence in young adult literature. Pick several YA novels published in the 2010s for your research. 
  • The use of repetition in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot . Analyze how repetition is used for emphasis and other effects in the play. 
  • Feminism and gender in Margaret Atwood’s Cats’ Eye . Review the book from a feminist point of view and discuss how gender issues are presented in the book. 
  • How does Phillip K. Dick use intertextuality in The Man in the High Castle ? Find as many references to other literary and historical sources as you can and elaborate how Dick uses them and for what aims. 
  • The influence of Steppenwolf on postmodern American literature: the contribution of Herman Hesse. Using Steppenwolf as the primary source, discuss what characteristics common for postmodern literature Hesse uses in this novel. 
  • How does racism manifest itself in classical literature? 
  • Discuss the oppression of women in The Handmaid’s Tale.  
  • Gender roles in The Miniaturist and A Doll’s House : a comparison. 
  • Moral ambiguity in David Harrower’s works. 
  • Literary techniques in the Perks of Being a Wallflower.  
  • The setting in The Murder in the Rue Morgue and its influence on the detective genre. 
  • Review the tropes first introduced in The Moonstone .  
  • Study the depictions of police’s work in Skinner’s Rule . 
  • Assess the influence of Victorian Gothic horror on popular culture. 
  • Social criticism in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  
  • Analyze cyberpunk elements in Gibson’s Neuromancer .  
  • Themes of social equality in modern literature. 
  • Research the views on Native American writers in Nature’s Poem.  
  • Critique of contemporary children’s literature . 
  • Gothic elements in Charlotte Bronte’s works . 
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Dracula : a comparative analysis. 
  • Terror in The Picture of Dorian Gray .  
  • Examine the connection of mental health and society in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye . 
  • Magical realism and romanticism in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.  
  • How does the cut-up technique contribute to the narration in William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch?  

Criminal Justice Thesis Topics

Are you a forensic science student who prefers research to actual police work? In that case, a dissertation in criminology is a great idea. This way, you can work on preventing crime from the comfort of your desk.

  • Recidivism rates among underage Latino first-time offenders: a quantitative study. Research a group of first-time offenders of a particular age (e.g., 18 to 25 years old).
  • A comparative analysis of the incidents of gun violence in the USA during the 2010s. Choose several prominent examples and compare them to each other.
  • Troublesome statements: the role of witnesses in potentially false accusations. In this dissertation, you can write about the unreliability of statements, using documented examples.

Piers Anthony Quote.

  • The patterns of drug trafficking in Germany’s largest cities: a case study of Berlin and Hamburg. Analyze the changes in these patterns in the 2010s.
  • Money laundering and corruption in the United States in the 21st century. Using media reports, create dissertation research about corruption schemes.
  • Mental health and self-perception of second-time sex offenders . Determine if their self-perception changes.
  • School shootings in the USA: causes and risk factors . Using recent and historical data, analyze the cases of mass shootings.
  • The influence of cyberbullying on suicide rates among Australian adolescents (13-17 years old). You can base your dissertation report on various research on cyberbullying published in Australian scholarly journals.
  • Child abuse and its influence on serial killer’s perception of victims. Discuss interconnections between abuse and potential sadistic behavior.
  • The history of forensic interviewing in the USA. Present research and practices that contributed to its development.
  • Use of artificial intelligence for forensic investigations.
  • Criminal behavior at a young age and its implications for the future.
  • Drug use: pattern of recurring arrests among American youth.
  • Incarcerated parents: the impact on the child’s perception of crime.
  • Research the reforms of the US criminal justice system.
  • Propose strategies for improving the juvenile detention system.
  • Police officer’s abuse of power: analysis of reports.
  • Race and criminal justice: the case of War on Drugs .
  • What are the possible alternative forms of incarceration?
  • A study of public perception of modern serial killers .
  • Training of sniffer dogs.
  • The implications of eyewitness testimony.
  • Abuse in Hollywood: a case study of Harvey Weinstein.
  • Bias against African Americans during investigations.
  • A study of college violence.
  • Legal implications of medical marijuana legalization .
  • Ethics of criminal justice : the problem of confidentiality.
  • Review the challenges linked with domestic violence investigations.
  • Suggest ways of preventing crimes in schools .
  • Gender bias during crime examinations.

Geography Thesis Topics

If you enjoy unveiling Earth’s secrets, this section is for you. Here you’ll find geography dissertation ideas ranging from studies of movement to regional phenomena.

  • Species that became extinct in the 20th century: qualitative research. Address the human influence on various species .
  • Current issues in the exploration of Arctic. Discuss difficulties and specifics of such explorations.
  • A comparison of urban back gardens in the USA and the UK. You can compare their design and other features (for example, vegetation used for decoration).
  • The causes and outcomes of floodings in the USA in the 2010s. Address climate change as one of the leading causes.
  • Prevention of ecosystem changes with modern technology. Provide various examples of how technology is used to sustain ecosystems.
  • Changes in travel destinations in the 2000s: a comparison of the USA and Canada. Demonstrate what changes in preferences were documented in these countries and show what destinations were especially popular.
  • The perception of environmentally friendly technologies and their impact on the environment by citizens of large metropolitan areas: a case study of Miami. Explain how various projects based on environmentally friendly technologies are launched in Miami.
  • A negative impact of global warming on weather conditions in Iceland. Discuss how tourism in Iceland is affected by these changes.
  • The influence of industrialization on climate change. Address the causes of climate change, using industrialization and its consequences as a basis.
  • Compare Greenfield and Brownfield land use for construction projects.
  • Investigate the significance of red salmon for Kamchatka.
  • The social impact of climate change : a study of migration patterns.
  • The potential of community gardening in underprivileged neighborhoods.
  • Study the link between the strengths of hurricanes and climate change.
  • What can be done to stop gentrification in your community?
  • Evaluate coastal tourism, its effect, and implications.
  • The impact of reservoir locations on water quality .
  • How did industrialization affect the development of Chicago?
  • Study soil pollution levels in your community area.
  • Conduct an analysis of air quality in your city.
  • Eco-tourism , its history, and perspectives.
  • Differences in soil chemistry across several locations.
  • The impact of organic farming on water quality in your area.
  • Compare the sustainability of organically vs. conventionally farmed tomatoes.
  • Research air pollution levels and data on airborne illnesses in your area.
  • What’s the relationship between rock climbing and cliff vegetation?
  • Study the changes in soil fertility upon volcanic eruption.
  • How does the Chernobyl disaster continue to affect the surrounding area?
  • Determine the patterns of floods in a particular area of your choice.

Sociology Thesis Ideas

Sociology studies how humans live together. A dissertation is a great way to dive deeper into a particular subject. You can get as specific as your heart desires! Check out our sociology thesis topics:

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  • Single parent stigma and its influence on family’s quality of life and parent-child relationships . Present examples from recent research that illustrate how the dynamics of these relationships change over time due to stigma.
  • Women empowerment in Saudi Arabia in 2000s: breakthroughs and challenges. Discuss how this empowerment affected legislation and women’s rights .
  • Long-term alcohol addiction and self-perception in young adults. With the help of research, demonstrate whether self-perception of these adults transforms significantly due to their addiction.
  • Adoption and its influence on parent-child relationships. Present and discuss challenges that such families face.
  • Comparison of traditions related to family dinners in the USA and the UK. What specific differences are there and how can they be explained?
  • Influence of the emo culture on suicide rates in high school students. Address the influence of such cultures on adolescents’ behavior.
  • The rates of secularization in elderly individuals living in urban and rural areas. Compare the rates and explain why they are different.
  • Influence of forced outing on transgender individuals and concomitant changes in their quality of life. Explain the effects of forced outing and why this impact is dangerous.
  • Comparison of anti-nuclear movements in Germany and Japan in the 21st century. Explain in detail what differences and similarities are prominent.
  • Performance rates of teenagers in schools in low-income neighborhoods: a case study of Boston schools. When writing your dissertation proposal, consider various factors (poverty, limited access to technology, etc.) that affect performance rates of these teenagers.
  • Black Lives Matter movement’s immediate impact on racism.
  • Research causes of minority bias in the US.
  • Affirmative action and its impact on the perception of varied racial groups.
  • The impact of religion on people’s attitudes towards race.
  • Review the challenges of the US LGBT community.
  • Bias towards transgender studies.
  • Social activism against gender discrimination in the 21st century.
  • The impact of social assistance in schools on a child’s future.
  • Research the changes in education after WWII.
  • Analyze scholarship policies in the US.
  • The impact of student debt on youth’s perception of education in the US.
  • Outcomes of public vs. private schools: a comparison.
  • Research the preservation of culture in American immigrant families.
  • Applying Marx’s conflict theory to social justice movements.
  • Assess changing trends in social norms in a country of your choice.
  • Attitudes towards prejudice among people of different social backgrounds.
  • Comparison of women’s rights in Western and Middle Eastern countries.
  • The impact of capitalism on one’s social values.
  • How does capitalism benefit society across multiple post-soviet countries?
  • Compare healthcare access in autocracies vs. democracies.

💡 Dissertation Topics for Ph.D. students

Below you’ll find a list of excellent dissertation ideas in different fields of study. They are more difficult than thesis topics and require more research. Jump to the section that interests you and find the topic that suits you best! But first:

What Makes a Good Ph.D. Topic?

Usually, universities would expect your dissertation to be original and relevant in the field of the research. Moreover, it would be worthwhile if it has the potential to make a change.

This checklist will help you see whether you’ve made the right choice. Your dissertation topic is good, if:

  • You have an opportunity to research it fully.  You need to know that there is enough data and a theoretical basis. Do some prior research to understand if you will be able to answer all your dissertation questions.
  • You can fill the gaps in the existing knowledge.  Your research matters if you can provide some new information that contributes to the field of your studies.
  • Your dissertation title is catchy.  Try to make it worth the reader’s attention from the first glance.
  • You can evaluate how much time you need.  It is vital to understand all the stages of your research and the challenges you might face to plan your work.
  • You know the subject well.  You will need to explore your topic in-depth. It’s good to have some previous knowledge about it. Starting the research from the very basics will take more time and effort.
  • You have enough resources to investigate it.  Both time and money matter in this case. You need to do high-quality research and meet your deadlines.

Dissertation Topics in Education

Learning is a lifelong experience, and the importance of schools cannot be overestimated. Research in this area is critical to improving education standards. Have a look at these topic ideas to get inspired:

  • Gamification as tools for enhancing learning abilities: theory and practice . Many studies have been conducted on different learning approaches. For young learners, engagement is as critical as the outcome. Therefore, this work focuses on gamification and its effect on children’s improvisation and learning. 
  • Studying the connection between classroom quality and the learning outcome in kindergarten . Children are strongly affected by their environment, especially when it comes to learning. This dissertation topic example is all about looking into different classroom settings and their effect on kids’ learning outcomes. 
  • Evaluating the process of implementation of inclusive education in the US. Professionals argue that inclusive education carries multiple benefits for all students (not just those with limited abilities.) However, it is quite a challenging process to implement all the changes. 
  • Factors influencing the decision to transfer to the higher education abroad . In this work, you can focus on finding out the reasons for such a decision. Why do undergraduate students choose to leave their home country? What are the most important factors? 
  • Online education vs. traditional face-to-face lessons for adult learners: compare and contrast. Online courses have their own benefits. However, would adult learners prefer them to in-person classrooms? How does it affect their learning and motivation? 
  • How does working as a taxi driver and navigating change a person’s brain? 
  • To what extent can reality television be disempowering for students?  
  • The role of homework in the lives of immigrant adolescents. 
  • The impact of teachers’ shocking behaviors in fostering students’ creativity. 
  • The determinants of flossing behavior in college students . 
  • The classification of drinking styles in the college-age population. 
  • Integrating the computer into the curriculum: why you can’t simply plug it in. 
  • The preconditions for serious music-making avocation in computer science students. 
  • Adult graduate difficulties with learning new technologies. 
  • The effect of academic performance on the health of students . 
  • The impact of mathematic coaching on students’ self-esteem . 
  • The influence of internet on the emotional maturity of students. 
  • Academic achievements of students who decide to become teachers. 
  • Is it true that students are more likely to do homework given by good-looking professors? 
  • Informal learning in rural areas via social networks. 
  • Educational blogging for professors: the social networks of educationists. 
  • Does learning existentialism cause suicides? 
  • Is it possible to reduce summer learning loss without students’ consent? 
  • Can we reject classical math and do it at the same time? Yes, we can. 
  • What are major career prospects with a degree in Liberal Arts ? 
  • Using electronic games in museums as an effective education tool. 

Business Dissertation Topics

There are many things a business administrator should keep in mind. Finances, marketing, and development are just the tip of the iceberg. So, the choice of topics is practically endless. Check out this selection to narrow down the possibilities:

  • How are business strategies adjusted to the globalization process? Small businesses’ perspective. Globalization means huge and profitable opportunities. To seize them, all businesses and companies should make some changes in their strategies. Investigate what would be the best action plan for them. 
  • Cultural changes and the effect of feedback in an international company: a case study. Choose a multinational company. Study the impact of feedback (both from the employees and customers) on its organizational culture changes. What reaction does it provoke in the company? 
  • Human resource management approaches in international non-profit organizations. In this study, look into the strategies HR managers apply in non-profit organizations. One of their main responsibilities is to monitor the performance of the employees. However, at the international level it becomes more difficult. 
  • Leadership and organizational culture in making decisions about business strategies. In this research, you study the influence of the organizational culture on leaders. In the case of trying to initiate changes in the business strategy, how is a leadership decision taken? 
  • The role of “ foreign direct investment ” in companies in developing countries: a case study of a large business. For this paper, pick a suitable company first. Aim for large companies in developing countries. Then conduct research and find out what strategies they have for foreign direct investments. 
  • COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on workplace management in small businesses . The COVID-19 pandemic caused many companies to readjust their HR policies. For instance, they allowed their staff to work from home. Research this phenomenon in your thesis. 
  • Social entrepreneurship for large companies. If you want to make the world a better place, social entrepreneurship is a suitable method. We usually associate it with small start-ups. But what about large companies? With this topic, you can research how the concept works for big firms. 
  • How innovation affects demand in technology-driven businesses. This MBA dissertation topic combines business studies and technology . Examine how companies create products for establishing markets. 
  • Management strategies in times of COVID-19: a case study . The pandemic has forced companies to use Zoom , Skype, and messaging instead of regular meetings. Review how executives can apply traditional management models in the digital space. 
  • The impact of burnout on employees . Interview staff members and determine how burnout affects performance. Include the name of a company or industry in your dissertation’s title. 
  • Tourism management in the Middle East. 
  • How do natural disasters impact the demand for essentials?  
  • Compare and contrast Asian and American leadership styles . 
  • How does fluctuation in the stock market impact business operations? 
  • The art of delegation : how to do it effectively and when to avoid it. 
  • How can one efficiently lead a company when unforeseen circumstances occur? 
  • What factors determine employees’ work satisfaction?  
  • Study the link between a company’s success and innovation . 
  • What can business managers do to bridge the gap between generations ? 
  • Research the benefits of global and local brand management. 
  • What causes changes in Chinese business culture? 
  • Choose a small business and analyze its strategy.  
  • Organizational changes : what factors impact transformation? 
  • Internet banking : barriers to usage. 
  • Create a business plan that is focused on a specific issue. 
  • Conditions necessary for quality management in MNCs. 
  • The role of E-commerce for food retailers. 
  • Conduct a case study with the purpose to analyze one or several social phenomena. 
  • Workplace ethics in small businesses.  
  • The phenomenon of remote working and how it is affecting businesses. 
  • Comparison of Generation X and the Millennial Generation . 
  • Managing the Millennial Generation. 
  • Current trends in consumer behavior in relation to advertising. 
  • Analyze which countries margin financing is effective and why. 
  • Analyze the macroeconomic factors affecting exchange rates. 
  • An empirical analysis of the impact of organizational performance and leadership . 

Law Dissertation Topics for Ph.D. Students

Legal science is not dull as one may think. It’s crucial to evaluate laws at any point in time. Do they fit the current norms? Does something or someone need more protection than before? If you want to garnish your legal education with a Ph.D., here are some topic suggestions:

  • Trust law: the circumstances when fully secret and half-secret trusts are necessary. Find out what are the principles that dictate the enforcement of the trusts. There are specific circumstances that determine whether creating trusts would be adequate and relevant. Make sure to take them into consideration.
  • Termination of employment in case of employees tested positive for HIV/AIDS. Your task would be to conduct research and see how HIV/AIDS employees are influenced in the workplace. The most common issues are discrimination and termination of employment.
  • The influence of the Global War on Terrorism on international criminal law. When the US launched the campaign against terrorism in 2001, international criminal law faced some changes. You can study the most significant changes that have been made.
  • The level of effectiveness of the US copyright law in relation to the rights of users. It’s an empirical research topic that would require collecting lots of data. Try to find some cases when the users were left cheated by copyright law. It would bring some diversity to the research and make it more interesting.
  • Study the effect that the US immigration policy has on education right now. Educational institutions are also required to adjust to changes connected with immigration. Different requirements and different curriculums are implemented to fit their needs. You are about to look into this issue.
  • Select a country and analyze its worker protection laws. Compare the rights and obligations of employees in two countries of your choice. What potential improvements can solidify employee rights ?
  • Protection of minorities, legal precedents. Minority rights are becoming more and more relevant. This topic allows you to discuss how laws can be changed to reflect it.
  • Regulation of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies allow for anonymity. Besides, they are not regulated by any state. In your thesis, you can analyze cryptocurrency regulations.
  • Fake news : legal responsibility. Review how the United States legal system approaches disinformation. Focus on false publications on news resources. Another possible topic is improvements to defamation laws.
  • Freedom of expression : a case during a pandemic. This topic is about false information in times of COVID-19. Examine how a state can balance freedom of expression with the spread of false information. Focus on this disease and the fake news about it.
  • Legal practices for preventing possible future pandemics.
  • Research ways of online journalism protection.
  • International law vs. the right to self-determination: comparative case studies of de facto states.
  • Review the history of fiscal laws in America.
  • Limits to freedom of expression in the US legal system.
  • Enforcing regulations concerning domestic violence .
  • Study criminal responsibility for drug possession in the US.
  • Criminalization of violence against women.
  • Review the legal framework for addressing foreign involvement in elections.
  • What was the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Health standards for immigrant detention centers in the US .
  • Research the loopholes in the US immigration laws .
  • Birthright citizenship in the US: pros and cons.
  • 1951 Refugee Convention: is it obsolete?
  • Illegal immigrants and their rights in the US justice system.
  • How criminal laws have been impacted around the world by the war on terror .
  • Choose a country and analyze their policies on discrimination.
  • Evaluate the protection given to minority shareholders as dictated by company law.
  • Provide a critical analysis of the law of omissions liability.
  • Investigate and analyze complaints filed in the criminal justice system .
  • A critical analysis of the reform of homicide laws .
  • The morality and impact of euthanasia and how Canada sets a precedent.
  • A detailed analysis of gender and race profiling of suspects in the criminal justice system .
  • Analyze the right to bear arms relative to the context in which the law was written into The Constitution.
  • Create case studies that represent a review of criminal negligence related to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

Psychology Dissertation Topics

The mysterious ways of the human mind offer many research opportunities. Psychology encompasses sub-fields such as behavior and cognition. Whatever your area of expertise, you’ll undoubtedly find something interesting in the list below.

  • The current effect of the “price ending” method on the consumers’ behavior . Nowadays, everybody knows the most popular trick that shops pull to make customers buy the products. However, does understanding it make it easier to resist it? Is this psychological trap still working?
  • Burnout at the executive positions in massive US corporations: is it possible to prevent? The phenomenon of burnout is the most common issue that employees face nowadays. But there are ways to detected it at an early stage. Could they be used to predict and prevent this problem?
  • Mindfulness practices and their influence on students’ learning abilities at the top universities (e.g., Harvard). Mindfulness is proved to be extremely useful in overcoming stress and anxiety issues. However, does it affect the learning outcome of the students who study at the best universities in the world?
  • The individual struggles with gender issues and their impact on global gender inequality . Everything always starts with a small thing. For this paper, study the relation between some individual cases and the global issue. How do personal struggles contribute to the worldwide movement for justice?
  • The positive influence of irrational beliefs on mental well-being. In psychology, irrational beliefs are a set of values and opinions that people believe in despite rational evidence against them. However, what positive effect can they bring?
  • Ways of raising awareness of mental health problems. Mental health has been discussed more openly in recent years. Review how this open discussion affects views on personal mental health. As another idea for a psychology dissertation topic, research a specific illness.
  • Student burnout and ways to prevent it. Focus on the problems students face and what strategies can reduce their stress.
  • Pandemic and mental health . The COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to be in isolation from social contacts. Review the potential effects of this practice on people’s well-being. Discuss possible strategies for supporting mental health during possible future pandemics.
  • Weight, self-image, and mental health. A clinical psychology thesis can focus on the psychology behind excess weight. Discuss how weight affects a person’s perception of self. Assess implications for clinical psychologists who work with overweight patients.
  • Social media vs. reality: normalizing real people. Review current efforts of social media accounts in normalizing body image . Explain how this can reverse the damage that edited photos have on mental health.
  • How does gender bias affect mental health in America?
  • What factors affect women’s self-esteem in the workplace?
  • Specifics of transgender mental health.
  • Research the effect of immigration on mental well-being.
  • Study the psychology of racism and ways to combat it.
  • What distinguishes the mental health of minorities in the US?
  • Research the psychology of dissent in the Soviet Union.
  • The connection between stress and overeating: latest developments.
  • Assess the role of social support for losing weight .
  • What’s the role of prejudice in politics?
  • Assess the role of endurance in combating stress .
  • Developing hardiness: strategies and exercises.
  • What’s the effect of emotional resilience on mental health?
  • Helping teenagers overcome stress via relaxation techniques .
  • Look into the perception of anger and its effect on mental health.
  • Understanding the function of the prefrontal cortex in terms of how it is connected to other parts of the brain.
  • Understanding how the prefrontal cortex makes us human.
  • How emotional and anxiety disorders are connected to social cognition that is impaired.
  • Analyze the ability of an MRI to determine brain function.
  • Analyze the relationship between emotional and episodic memory.
  • A comparison of the plasticity of the child’s brain and the adult brain.
  • Analyze the continued relevance of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.
  • An in-depth look at the social intuitionist model and how it relates to the emotion and reason involved in moral judgement.
  • How the evolution of the human brain can be understood in terms of children cognitive development .
  • A demonstration of the multi-dimensional nature of schizophrenia.
  • How rational thinking and impulse contribute to decision-making.
  • A systematic analysis and review of the psychology of religion.
  • How exposure to nature affects happiness.

Nursing Dissertation Topics

A nurse’s work is hard. Unfortunately, they rarely get the credit they deserve. With a Ph.D., you could become an advocate on the problem. Or you could concentrate on optimizing their work environments.

  • Exercise, changes in lifestyle , and self-tracking for diabetes prevention and management. Center your research on different lifestyle changes (exercise, reduced smoking and drinking) and explain how and why it prevents diabetes .
  • Influence of stigma related to HIV/AIDS on representatives of ethnic minorities: a case study of Native Americans. Using research, provide compelling evidence of how Native Americans are stigmatized and discriminated against.
  • Chronic illness management at home: recommended evidence-based practices. Using current nursing and other professional research, discuss how adults and seniors manage chronic and autoimmune diseases.
  • Depression and stress and their relation to preterm births in first-time mothers. Collect several articles about the issue and using their conclusions show how depression causes preterm births.
  • Burnout in nurses: factors that cause it and practical solutions for prevention . Present outcomes of burnout (decreased performance and concentration, subpar workplace environment) and illustrate how it affects hospitals on a more significant scale.
  • Public health: community-based measures to prevent morbid obesity. In this research, you can list various methods that include exercise and education and explain in detail how they prevent the spread of obesity.
  • Risk factors and injury rates in psychiatric nursing. Present statistics on different types of injuries in psychiatric institutions .
  • Cultural diversity and inclusion in nursing education . When researching diversity, make sure you are using examples of different minority groups’ perception of education.
  • Euthanasia legislation in the USA: ethical issues and debates . Provide a thoughtful discussion of ethical and legal issues surrounding euthanasia.
  • Organizational climate and its influence on perceived patient safety . Your study should focus on the importance of positive relationships between staff members, and its influence on the prevention of medical errors.
  • Dietary practices and their influence on the quality of life in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. SLE is a complex disease that requires a multidisciplinary approach. Describe nutritional research approaches to SLE.
  • Fluoride application training in dental nursing.
  • Describe the specifics of nursing care for patients with diabetes .
  • Assess gender disparity in nursing research.
  • Study nurse burnout prevalence in neonatal care in your community.
  • Nursing staff advising DASH diet: effects on patients’ blood pressure.
  • What are the challenges of asthma management for nurses?
  • Nursing for autistic patients : the best strategies.
  • Racial differences in nursing care: a case study.
  • Evaluate nurses’ role in pain management for patients with dementia.
  • Study the connection between nursing staff turnover and burnout.
  • How is the role of a nurse changing in the modern healthcare system?
  • Review nursing practices for managing elderly patients.
  • A holistic approach to obesity management in nursing.
  • Describe the specifics of nursing in rural areas .
  • Physical activity and mental health: a nursing case study.
  • Discuss nursing pain relief strategies for general care.
  • Determine the ethical implications of nursing malpractice.
  • Nurses consultations for spinal cord injuries .
  • Nursing in an urban setting : challenges and prospects.
  • What are the specifics of pain management in obstetrical nursing?

Marketing Dissertation Topics

Good marketing is what made you buy that product you didn’t know you needed. Marketing needs plenty of scientific research for it to be successful. You can contribute to this effort with one of the following topic ideas:

  • Compare and contrast the effectiveness of traditional and digital marketing in the last five years. Marketing moves towards digital campaigns more and more every year. Though, traditional marketing still exists, of course. Your task is to compare every aspect of these two types in the span of the previous five years.
  • The specifics of the relationship marketing and its influence on the loyalty rates among customers: a case study of fast-food chains. Take a few fast-food chains to conduct this research. Then analyze their relationship marketing strategies. There should be a correlation between the methods they use and the loyalty of their customers.
  • Direct marketing and artificial intelligence: how do companies use it? The industry of marketing couldn’t have missed the opportunity to use the latest technologies for their benefit. Artificial intelligence helps some companies gain a competitive advantage. Find out what those benefits are.
  • Collectivism and individualism : how does culture influence supermarkets? There are some apparent differences in cultures when it comes to shopping. Each shop owner has to implement a specific marketing strategy for targeting the customers. Work on aspects that make those strategies successful in different cultures.
  • The strategies that make personalized products sell effectively. Everybody loves customized products, but it seems like not everybody is willing to share their data to get it. Therefore, businesses are forced to work it out. This research looks into marketing tools and methods they use to sell personalized products.
  • Influence of online shopping apps on impulsive buying behavior . Using prominent examples such as Amazon and eBay , elaborate how apps affect customer’s decision to purchase an item through recommendations.
  • Product design and its impact on consumer’s purchase decision. When preparing this thesis topic, consider using examples of large corporations such as Apple or IKEA to prove your point.
  • Customer loyalty : the importance of satisfaction and loyalty programs. Conduct research using available surveys on satisfaction and draw conclusions from these statistics.
  • Ethnic differences and their impact on brand perception. This research can review the types of products that target White or Black Americans specifically.
  • Preferences for green products: analysis of the income’s influence on consumer decisions. Compare what households are more likely to prefer green products.
  • Shopping habits of Muslim consumers in the USA: qualitative research. Here, you will need to do research by engaging Muslim Americans in your study; you can use interviews or surveys for this topic.
  • Social media and its impact on the promotion of small business. Make sure your reader understands how social media can promote or negatively present small business through customers’ comments.
  • Does globalization make preferences of customers from different socioeconomic backgrounds similar? Interview people from lower, middle, and upper class and discuss the preferences of American households.
  • Social media usage by international companies: a case study of Electronic Arts. Study the influence of customers’ reviews and opinions on EA’s sales.
  • Consumers’ perception of transaction safety in online shopping applications. Discuss how consumers learn to differentiate between reliable and unreliable apps for payments .
  • Marketing high tech products: a case study.
  • Study changing marketing techniques during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The future of big data uses in marketing.
  • Conduct a comparative analysis of offline vs. online advertising .
  • Explore the relationship between marketing strategies and sales.
  • Holiday marketing strategies in the 21st century.
  • Is marketing tailed towards model devices effective?
  • Study the rise of influencer marketing .
  • Review the newest trends in digital advertising .
  • Brand management in 2020: an analysis.
  • Assess the effect of advertising on consumer behavior.
  • Targeted ads: are they efficient?
  • How did marketing change during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Assess brand management’s contribution to consumer loyalty .
  • Impact of social media marketing on brand perception.
  • Google Analytics insights for marketing campaigns.
  • Marketing for minority populations.
  • Youtube marketing: the effectiveness of videos for brand promotion.
  • How does partnering with influencers impact brand perception?
  • Social influencer marketing for SMEs.

History Dissertation Topics

History is written not only by the victors but also by history students. Your dissertation can shine a light on understudied cultures. Or perhaps you want to focus on how a specific event impacted the world. Find inspiration among the following dissertation questions and ideas:

  • The historical context of the creation of Guernica by Pablo Picasso . War wasn’t the only inspiration for Pablo Picasso during the process of making Guernica . In this paper, you would look into the environment of the artist and try to identify what else brought him to the creation of this masterpiece.
  • Bismarck and radical nationalism: what influenced the political state? For this research, you would study the underlying reasons for German Nazism before the beginning of World War II. What factors gave it a start when Otto von Bismarck was in charge?
  • The rise of Bollywood: historical context. This paper focuses on the success of Indian Bollywood movies in the 1930s. You would need to look into the events that made those movies famous in the whole world. Don’t forget to mention the social views of Bollywood movies.
  • The influence of secrecy in the technology intervention during World War II. You would study the role that the US Patent and Trademark Office played in the development of special war technology . Secrecy helped to keep it away from the public and enemies. How did it influence the war?
  • Italian prisons in the 19th century: how were they managed after Unification? This paper would require you to study documentation on the management system prison used in Italy at the beginning of the 19th century. You should try to find some practices that might have been socially harmful.
  • Gender perceptions in the Middle Age. When preparing the dissertation, use both historical and literary sources to show how gender was presented.
  • Secularization in the American South during the post-war period. Provide a detailed discussion of secular societies forming in the South after the 1940s.
  • Representation of Jewish history in contemporary art: a case study of Art Spiegelman’s Maus . Using the comic book as the primary basis, explain how Jewish culture and history are presented there.

Quote by Elie Wiesel: “In Jewish history there are no coincidences.”

  • The history of medieval warfare and its influence on Modern Era warfare . When constructing this thesis, make sure you are using both historical and current research to provide details.
  • American-British relations during the Cold War Era . Explain how the Cold War Era changes these relations and what has affected it the most.
  • Germany’s foreign relations during the 1980s. Present a detailed overview of different foreign relations (e.g., with the USA, the USSR, the UK) Germany had during this period.
  • The financial crisis in the USA in 2007-2009. Using research and media sources, explain to the reader how the crisis is still affecting the USA.
  • The development of Austrian identity after World War II. In this case, you can use both historical evidence and Austrian literature that provides personal opinions of writers and artists on the issue.
  • The impact of the Great Depression on the American involvement in the World War II. To show your understanding of historical processes, demonstrate how the Great Depression affected the USA’s perception of WWII.
  • How I stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb: the development of nuclear warfare in the 20th century. Discuss the development of nuclear warfare in the USA and the USSR.
  • What was the role of China in the Cold War?
  • How did the Spanish Flu affect the pandemics that followed it?
  • Determine the influence of the stock market crash in 1929 on the World Wars.
  • First Battle of Marne’s impact on the outcomes of WWI.
  • Tool usage and creation: Aztecs vs. Mayas.
  • How did the enlightenment philosophy impact the development of the natural sciences?
  • The effects of Christianization in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Assess the role of slavery in the US civil rights movement.
  • Study the history of LGBT rights establishment in the US.
  • What are the origins of slavery in Africa?
  • The Moon Landing and its impact on space exploration.
  • Explore the role of the Bible in Jewish history.
  • The US’ involvement in WWII.
  • The aftermath of WWII: major historical events.
  • Research the link between the Mexican-American War and the Gold Rush .
  • Cold War insights: lessons from the Suez Crisis.
  • Explore the role of democratization in the Soviet Union collapse.
  • Global cooperation in early modern Europe.
  • Study the legacy of the arms race.
  • How did the First Ladies influence life in the 20th century America?

Dissertation Topics in Management

Companies and employees alike benefit from well-thought-out management strategies. So, a thesis in management has the potential to improve work environments even further. Kickstart your research by choosing one of the following topics:

  • Ecotourism in Canada: issues and trends in small business. Explain issues that arise in ecotourism with climate change.
  • Management ethics: how social media affects employees’ privacy and organizational climate. Present examples of negative and positive influence.
  • Leadership styles : a comparison of democratic and autocratic leadership. Discuss what leadership style should be chosen to rule various companies, depending on their business plan.
  • Political risk and its influence on emergency management . Explain how political crises affect and shape emergency management.
  • Cultural diversity and its impact on employees’ satisfaction and commitment. Show what advantages and disadvantages there are in cultural diversity.
  • Economic growth and unemployment rates in Australia during the 1990s: a historical perspective. Explain the causes of economic growth and unemployment.
  • Challenges in human resources management working with millennials: qualitative research. Discuss what particular challenges HR managers face and how they can be addressed.
  • The significance of organizational routines in international corporations: a case study of Google. Conduct research on the importance of routine and its impact on performance.
  • Computer skills and management: the effectiveness of computerized management information system in rural areas. Describe how digital management can be effectively applied in companies working in rural areas.
  • The history of digital rights management in the USA. Present the changes in the field during the 1990s-2010s.
  • Analyze the best leadership styles for SMEs.
  • Examine the changes entrepreneurship underwent in the past decades.
  • How do leadership styles relate to work satisfaction ?
  • Overview of business negotiation methods using technology.
  • Ways of integrating corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices.
  • Discuss the specifics of airline companies’ management .
  • Choose a theory of motivation in the workplace and make a case study on it.
  • Study change management in SMEs in times of a crisis.
  • Managing diverse workforce: a qualitative analysis.
  • Use of employee voice in US companies.
  • Research the relationship between the organization’s goals and a manager’s behavior.
  • What are the best current practices in public administration ?
  • Applying strategic human capital principles in practice.
  • The study of female CEOs in a country of your choice.
  • Employees’ perception of change management : a quantitative analysis.
  • A study of employees’ resistance to change.
  • What’s the correlation between a CEO’s leadership traits and employee motivation ?
  • Workplace risk management : a study of psychosocial hazards.
  • Conduct a quantitative study of the gender pay gap for CEOs.
  • Research the relationship between management style and employee productivity .

Qualitative Dissertation: Ideas for Proposals

If you want your thesis to be more practical, you’ve come to the right section. Common approaches for qualitative dissertations include researching case studies, surveys, or ethnographies. Because of this, fieldwork will be an integral part of your doctorate journey.

  • A comparison of teaching techniques that targeted children with autism in the 20th and 21st centuries. Provide a detailed overview of techniques and explain how research affected them.
  • The development of cognitive-behavioral therapy and its effectiveness in patients with eating disorders . Present the history of CBT and use recent research to demonstrate its effectiveness.
  • Ageism and sexism in international organizations of the fashion industry. Describe how the fashion industry defines what it means to be “young and beautiful.”
  • Addressing sexual harassment at the workplace : the influence of organizational policies on targets’ decision to file a complaint. Explain what policies can support the target and what can prevent such decision.
  • Strategies to eliminate bias in self-evaluation reports of employees. Using research in HRM, outline the best strategies that are currently used to avoid bias .
  • Post-cancer therapy: issues and trends. Present and discuss various trends, the research behind them, and the effectiveness of different types of therapy.
  • A family history of abuse and its influence on drug use in adults. Explain how abuse can provoke addiction in the future.
  • The importance of trusting doctor-patient relationships on patient’s medication adherence and management of a healthy lifestyle. Describe how such relationships negatively or positively affect a patient’s decision to take medicine as prescribed.
  • Barriers to the acquisition of social support among young men and women veterans in the USA. Discuss mental and physical disorders as major barriers.
  • Single mothers’ perceptions of breastfeeding in public places: qualitative research. Conduct interviews to find out their opinion.
  • The impact of online learning on student’s academic performance.
  • A study of the youths’ perception of learning smartphone applications.
  • Research the issue of gender bias in college education.
  • Student’s perception of the mental health support and impact on campus.
  • Perceptions of charter school education in the 21 century.
  • Discuss homeschooling and its effect on a child’s socialization.
  • What’s the impact of cyberbullying on teenagers’ mental health?
  • How inmates perceive alternative forms of incarceration.
  • Gun violence from the perspective of victims.
  • Research bias towards video games as an art form.
  • In what ways are minorities disadvantaged in America?
  • Evaluate cooking as a therapeutic exercise.
  • Assess the link between a principal’s leadership style and the school’s rating.
  • The effect of online counseling on patients’ mental health.
  • Perception of mental health stigma among students.
  • How does gig economy re-define work?
  • The implications of freelancing in the 2020s.
  • Opinions about a 6-day work week in your community.
  • Assess the process of adaptation to working from home .
  • Conduct a research study of views on the BLM movement outside the US.

Quantitative Dissertation Proposal Topics

Some scholars just love working with data. Are you one of them? Then you’ll probably enjoy quantitative research. If you’re into finding patterns and making predictions, here are some enticing topics:

  • A study of a major city’s livability index. Choose a city and assess whether it’s well-designed or not.
  • A quantitative study of biofilms in technology. Discuss methods of using biofilms in technology. Include a list of recent advances and new tools.
  • A quantitative study of teachers’ perception of online learning . This topic prompts you to use an evaluation scale.
  • An assessment of a link between product reviews and intention to purchase. Study the effect online reviews have on potential customers.
  • Immigration and its connection to crime statistics . Analyze data on immigration to the US and the number of violent crimes. Determine the relationship between the two phenomena.
  • The relationship between obesity and occupation. Assess the BMIs of participants of different professions. Then, test the results for a correlation and discuss its implications.
  • A relationship between nurses’ knowledge of diabetes management and patient satisfaction. Assess the nurses’ knowledge about diabetes and compare the results with patient satisfaction scores. Thus, you can determine if expertise translates into better care.
  • A study of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on SMEs financial operations. With this qualitative dissertation proposal in business and management, choose a small company. Analyze its financial data pre- and post-pandemic. Include a discussion of financial management during pandemics.
  • A study of millennials ’ pet ownership. Determine the percentage of millennials who have pets. Compare these patterns with previous generations.
  • Economic growth and urbanization. Compare the empirical data about the state of economics and the number of people living in cities.
  • Determine how urbanization affects bacterial community compositions.
  • The economic impact of immigration on SMEs.
  • Study the rates of crimes in the US in relation to nonviolent crimes.
  • How do various teaching styles affect learning?
  • Compare overconfidence in CEOs of SMEs and corporations.
  • How does inclusive language influence social behavior?
  • Assess consumers’ satisfaction with online banking in your area.
  • Evaluate crude oil price prediction methods.
  • Is there a link between smartphone use and mental illness?
  • Correlation between eyewitness identification and memory
  • What are the attitudes towards AI development among women?
  • Determine the rates of cybercrimes since the 1990s.
  • A study of the police brutality cases across the US in the last decade.
  • Correlation between education level and employment.
  • The presence of sleep disorders in mental illnesses.
  • Assess the attitudes towards medical care in the US .
  • Determine the correlation between eating disorders and physical illness.
  • Study the rates of cyberbullying among minority students.
  • How various religious groups influence politics : a game-theoretical approach.
  • Does regular exercise decrease symptoms of depression in adults?

Dissertation Topics in Educational Leadership

Educational leadership is a science focused on helping students to achieve their academic goals. It includes the motivation of staff and learners, improvement of educational programs, and creation of a healthy, productive environment in institutions. Want to dedicate your research to it? Take a look at these topic samples:

  • Fatigue among American medical students. Medical students often need to memorize and analyze big portions of information. That is why many of them don’t sleep enough, get tired quickly, and find it hard to concentrate. What can be done about it?
  • How did the COVID-19 pandemic and distance learning affect students’ motivation? Online education has multiple benefits and drawbacks. Some students might find it easier to get access to various textbooks online. Others want to return to campus. What is their motivation ?
  • Creating better learning conditions on campus : the challenges in 2022. With the increasing speed of technological progress, it is hard to catch up with the latest innovations. Explore them in your dissertation. For instance, you can focus on facilities for students with special needs .
  • How can we enhance discipline among first-year students on campus? For some younger students, it is hard to get used to living on their own. They need to accept new responsibilities, find time to take care of themselves, and organize their lives. How can we help them?
  • Development of soft skills among undergraduate students. For future employers, soft skills are as important as hard skills. That is why colleges need to pay attention to soft skills such as time management , communication, and creativity.
  • The efficiency of workshops for enhancing students’ creativity.
  • Do nutrition habits influence the studying process?
  • The importance of mental health care in high school.
  • What leadership styles are the most efficient in college communities?
  • Does the implementation of early childhood education lead to further academic success?
  • What is the role of school counseling among teenagers?
  • What psychological factors make students drop out of college?
  • Developing leadership qualities among MBA students.
  • How to help college athletes to cope with psychological and physical pressure.
  • Ways of reducing anxiety levels among criminology students.
  • Helping students to choose their majors and find a career path.
  • How to enhance communication between higher education administration and students?
  • Motivating students to succeed after graduation .
  • Why do we need psychology classes in high school?
  • How can we prevent the bullying of Latin American students in middle and high school?

✅ How to Choose a Thesis Topic: Main Steps

In case you have no idea where to start from, here is a quick guideline on how to choose a Ph.D. thesis topic:

We hope this article helped you to choose a suitable topic for your dissertation. We wish you good luck with your research!

Learn more on this topic:

  • Dissertation Critique: Examples, How-to Guide
  • The Ultimate Guide to Writing an Outstanding Dissertation
  • How to Write an Abstract: Brief Steps and Structure Example

✏️ Dissertation FAQ

While working on a dissertation, you might deal with several types of research. The main research types are primary, qualitative, quantitative, and legal. In any case, it’s the way in which a researcher studies the subject using a particular methodology.

First of all, make sure that you are personally fascinated by the subject. This is essential for any thesis, be it master’s or an undergraduate dissertation. Besides, make sure the topic is feasible and hasn’t been studies much.

A good dissertation title is the one that represents the subject under study. To state which aspect is being studied is also important. The title should include neither a hypothesis nor a conclusion: think about it as “spoilers”—nobody likes them.

Just like any paper, a great dissertation is the one that is well-organized. The topic of the paper should correspond to the title. The text should have a cohesive structure with a definite introduction, argumentative main part, and a logical conclusion.

🔗 References

  • Dissertation Topics 1961-Present: Rudgers University
  • Completed Thesis and Dissertation Topics: University of Florida
  • Current Legal Topics: Library of Congress
  • The Right Dissertation Topic: Academics.com
  • Days and Nights at the Museum…there’s a Dissertation for that!: Proquest.com
  • Dissertation Titles: University of Michigan
  • How to Pick a Master’s Thesis Topic: Medium.com
  • How to Come Up With a Thesis Topic: Gradschools.com
  • How to Choose Your Thesis Topic: Central European University
  • How Do I Choose a Thesis Topic?: Grad School Hub
  • Senior Thesis Topics: Hamilton College
  • Arizona Research Topics: Arizona State Library
  • Dissertation Proposal: Bartleby.com
  • Dissertation Guide Essay
  • How to Start Your Dissertation: 10 Top Tips: Studential.com
  • How to Write a Dissertation or Bedtime Reading for People Who do not Have Time to Sleep: Purdue University
  • A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing a Ph.D. Dissertation: ThoughtCo
  • Dissertations Guide from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Developing a Thesis Statement: University of Wisconsin Madison
  • Thesis/Dissertation Writing and Editing, Formatting, and Defending: Massey University
  • Business Management Research Topics: Top Universities
  • Law Topics: Law.com
  • Psychology Topics: APA
  • Marketing Topics: Marketing Profs
  • Topics: History.com
  • Computer Science: Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Humanities: Research Topics Ideas: University of Michigan-Flint
  • Art Topics: Art UK
  • Topics: American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Nurses Topics: Medscape
  • Architecture: Research Topics: University of Washington
  • Topics in Geography: Research Gate
  • New Topics in Sociology: University of Toronto
  • Business Management Topics: The University of Maine
  • Qualitative Case Study: Science.gov
  • All Topics: Science News
  • Criminology: Science Direct
  • Topics in Literature: Sheridan College: Libguides
  • Advanced Computer Science Topics: The University of Texas at Austin
  • Application of Computer Techniques in Medicine: NIH
  • Important Leadership and Management Topics: WHO
  • Quantitative Research: University of Southern California
  • Action Research: Brown University
  • 10 Traits of Successful School Leaders: University of San Diego
  • HIST 280 Topics: Texas A&M University
  • The Relationship Between Burnout, Depression, and Anxiety: Frontiers In
  • College of Nursing: University of Missouri–St. Louis
  • All Topics: Educause
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1000+ FREE Research Topics & Ideas

If you’re at the start of your research journey and are trying to figure out which research topic you want to focus on, you’ve come to the right place. Select your area of interest below to view a comprehensive collection of potential research ideas.

Research topic idea mega list

Research Topic FAQs

What (exactly) is a research topic.

A research topic is the subject of a research project or study – for example, a dissertation or thesis. A research topic typically takes the form of a problem to be solved, or a question to be answered.

A good research topic should be specific enough to allow for focused research and analysis. For example, if you are interested in studying the effects of climate change on agriculture, your research topic could focus on how rising temperatures have impacted crop yields in certain regions over time.

To learn more about the basics of developing a research topic, consider our free research topic ideation webinar.

What constitutes a good research topic?

A strong research topic comprises three important qualities : originality, value and feasibility.

  • Originality – a good topic explores an original area or takes a novel angle on an existing area of study.
  • Value – a strong research topic provides value and makes a contribution, either academically or practically.
  • Feasibility – a good research topic needs to be practical and manageable, given the resource constraints you face.

To learn more about what makes for a high-quality research topic, check out this post .

What's the difference between a research topic and research problem?

A research topic and a research problem are two distinct concepts that are often confused. A research topic is a broader label that indicates the focus of the study , while a research problem is an issue or gap in knowledge within the broader field that needs to be addressed.

To illustrate this distinction, consider a student who has chosen “teenage pregnancy in the United Kingdom” as their research topic. This research topic could encompass any number of issues related to teenage pregnancy such as causes, prevention strategies, health outcomes for mothers and babies, etc.

Within this broad category (the research topic) lies potential areas of inquiry that can be explored further – these become the research problems . For example:

  • What factors contribute to higher rates of teenage pregnancy in certain communities?
  • How do different types of parenting styles affect teen pregnancy rates?
  • What interventions have been successful in reducing teenage pregnancies?

Simply put, a key difference between a research topic and a research problem is scope ; the research topic provides an umbrella under which multiple questions can be asked, while the research problem focuses on one specific question or set of questions within that larger context.

How can I find potential research topics for my project?

There are many steps involved in the process of finding and choosing a high-quality research topic for a dissertation or thesis. We cover these steps in detail in this video (also accessible below).

How can I find quality sources for my research topic?

Finding quality sources is an essential step in the topic ideation process. To do this, you should start by researching scholarly journals, books, and other academic publications related to your topic. These sources can provide reliable information on a wide range of topics. Additionally, they may contain data or statistics that can help support your argument or conclusions.

Identifying Relevant Sources

When searching for relevant sources, it’s important to look beyond just published material; try using online databases such as Google Scholar or JSTOR to find articles from reputable journals that have been peer-reviewed by experts in the field.

You can also use search engines like Google or Bing to locate websites with useful information about your topic. However, be sure to evaluate any website before citing it as a source—look for evidence of authorship (such as an “About Us” page) and make sure the content is up-to-date and accurate before relying on it.

Evaluating Sources

Once you’ve identified potential sources for your research project, take some time to evaluate them thoroughly before deciding which ones will best serve your purpose. Consider factors such as author credibility (are they an expert in their field?), publication date (is the source current?), objectivity (does the author present both sides of an issue?) and relevance (how closely does this source relate to my specific topic?).

By researching the current literature on your topic, you can identify potential sources that will help to provide quality information. Once you’ve identified these sources, it’s time to look for a gap in the research and determine what new knowledge could be gained from further study.

How can I find a good research gap?

Finding a strong gap in the literature is an essential step when looking for potential research topics. We explain what research gaps are and how to find them in this post.

How should I evaluate potential research topics/ideas?

When evaluating potential research topics, it is important to consider the factors that make for a strong topic (we discussed these earlier). Specifically:

  • Originality
  • Feasibility

So, when you have a list of potential topics or ideas, assess each of them in terms of these three criteria. A good topic should take a unique angle, provide value (either to academia or practitioners), and be practical enough for you to pull off, given your limited resources.

Finally, you should also assess whether this project could lead to potential career opportunities such as internships or job offers down the line. Make sure that you are researching something that is relevant enough so that it can benefit your professional development in some way. Additionally, consider how each research topic aligns with your career goals and interests; researching something that you are passionate about can help keep motivation high throughout the process.

How can I assess the feasibility of a research topic?

When evaluating the feasibility and practicality of a research topic, it is important to consider several factors.

First, you should assess whether or not the research topic is within your area of competence. Of course, when you start out, you are not expected to be the world’s leading expert, but do should at least have some foundational knowledge.

Time commitment

When considering a research topic, you should think about how much time will be required for completion. Depending on your field of study, some topics may require more time than others due to their complexity or scope.

Additionally, if you plan on collaborating with other researchers or institutions in order to complete your project, additional considerations must be taken into account such as coordinating schedules and ensuring that all parties involved have adequate resources available.

Resources needed

It’s also critically important to consider what type of resources are necessary in order to conduct the research successfully. This includes physical materials such as lab equipment and chemicals but can also include intangible items like access to certain databases or software programs which may be necessary depending on the nature of your work. Additionally, if there are costs associated with obtaining these materials then this must also be factored into your evaluation process.

Potential risks

It’s important to consider the inherent potential risks for each potential research topic. These can include ethical risks (challenges getting ethical approval), data risks (not being able to access the data you’ll need), technical risks relating to the equipment you’ll use and funding risks (not securing the necessary financial back to undertake the research).

If you’re looking for more information about how to find, evaluate and select research topics for your dissertation or thesis, check out our free webinar here . Alternatively, if you’d like 1:1 help with the topic ideation process, consider our private coaching services .

how to find a phd dissertation topic

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  • Graduate School

How to Find a PhD Topic

How to Find a PhD Topic

Don’t panic if you don’t know how to find a PhD topic. This is a struggle that afflicts many people, and even though you might feel like you are behind, or need to move faster, the reality is that you can and should spend some time working out your thesis.

Still, it’s difficult to advance through your studies if you feel like you are directionless, and it wouldn’t hurt to get a better idea of your PhD topic early on. Every centimeter of your academic path will assist you in your career goals, whether that’s as a scientist, a teacher, or just figuring out how to find a job in academia .

Thesis writing services could help you get ready to write your work, but expert tips will be good preparation, too. In this article, we present a step-by-step approach to how to find a PhD topic so that you can confidently pursue your academic studies.

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 6 min read

Requirements for a phd topic.

Key to a PhD topic is the fact that you are contributing new knowledge to the current body of knowledge within your given field. It can be difficult to know what “knowledge” is, just as it can be tricky to discern what is a good, original “contribution,” and that search can be frustrating.

To test whether your idea is worthy, try to answer some questions about it:

d.     Once more, this comes down to articulation: can you explain how you will achieve the results you hope to achieve? "}]">

At the core of every great PhD topic is research, and lots of it. Your first task – and it is monumental – is to read extensively in your field. Any field is replete with information – tons of research and writings of those who have gone before – and this workload alone can feel voluminous. How do you cope?

Your thesis advisor is your first resource here, and they will make recommendations of materials that you should read. Proceeding from that point is a matter of curiosity. Give yourself over to being curious. Read an article and let yourself become fascinated enough to ask questions. Any key words or phrases which come up in that article – read up on those as well. Search out the sources and citations yourself and read through those. Follow the “rabbit trail” to glean the best knowledge about your chosen subject.

Try to stay current. Studying the ancient, venerable masters is a great way to learn, but if you\u2019re looking for how to find a PhD topic, you\u2019ll need to know what people are saying now, which means keeping largely to the latest papers, the latest research, and the latest opinions. ","label":"Another Tip","title":"Another Tip"}]" code="tab1" template="BlogArticle">

After all your research, reading, conversation, and contemplation, you are ready to pinpoint what’s missing. Remember: your topic needs to be an original contribution, which means that it cannot be too close to existing research or theses.

It can be difficult to see what isn’t there. Like searching for a lost item that you cannot quite picture, describing a void or gap is never a simple task.

Some tips for searching the limits of the unknown:

  • Curiosity is, once again, your friend. Apply the “who, what, where, when, why, and how?” questions to the latest publications in your field. These questions will yield the ideas that are still missing in each publication or paper.
  • You also might ask, “what does that mean?” of any publication you read. For instance, you might read a paper on migration patterns in butterflies that accurately describes butterfly movements throughout the year. It might be extensive, examining different years, climates, and types of lepidoptera. But what do those migratory patterns mean? How might they be used for conservation purposes? Could you apply these data to anything else – bees, for instance – to learn their cycles and yearly patterns? By seeking out the implications or possibilities of a publication, you can find some interesting areas worth exploring.
  • What’s the counterargument? You might read a fascinating article about an economic theory that sounds great. It might seem revolutionary – the best direction for the economy, in fact! But how do you know? Has anybody considered the opposite theory? Has anybody just decided they don’t like it? Or are there any extant critiques? Exploring opposing viewpoints might be a great way to further the field.

Are you ready for your thesis defense? Check out this infographic:

Narrowing Your Ideas and Remaining Flexible

Once you have allowed curiosity to reign supreme, acquired a list of potential areas to explore, and are brimming with knowledge and possibilities, it’s time to narrow the field. You can’t write eight theses, after all, so you must settle on one main PhD topic to fully explore.

It’s very important to remain flexible at this stage. Don’t rush into one topic that you’ll regret later.

The best tip to winnowing ideas while remaining flexible is to try each one out a little bit. Do a little free-form writing, come up with thought experiments and practical experiments that prove and disprove your idea, and maybe return to some of your favorite forums to bat the ideas around with peers.

By trying to elaborate and explore these ideas in writing, you will quickly find out which ones have weight, which spark your curiosity and interest, and which are dull, flat, or even shallow. You don’t want to accidentally pick a topic that only requires a couple of pages to explain, more or less, because you can’t build an academic paper out of that.

So, test out the ideas and topics and slowing whittle them down to only two or three big ideas that will support the weight of a full PhD topic.

Remember that when you are crafting your thesis, your thesis advisor is going to be involved, both at the proposal phase, and during their review of your thesis before your defense. So, plan for the long term, not the short term. It will take years to bring this about properly. Don’t rush, take your time, and make sure that whatever your topic is, it is something you can love for a long, potentially frustrating journey.

Keep in mind that, given your advisor’s involvement, you need to plan for extra time for review and discussion, as well as anticipate their reactions toward the end of your thesis journey. For example, your advisor might bring up an unforeseen element of your research before your defense, and you will need time to grapple with this advice and correct the thesis. In other words, plan for revision, even at the end of your studies.

Try to anticipate your advisor’s notes, but most importantly, give yourself the time and flexibility to respond properly and thoroughly.

What’s the difference between a Masters vs PhD? Which one should you pursue? Find out in this video:

Finalizing Your Thesis Topic

Curiosity remains your guide. What do you love? Which topic survives the scrutiny of a few test drafts or free-form musings, but also keeps you up at night in the best way?

That’s where you should begin your journey.

Then comes the task of crafting your thesis proposal, which consists of:

  • An abstract
  • A thesis statement
  • The preliminary research you have done
  • An explanation of why this topic is important and necessary – why it will be a meaningful contribution to your field
  • How you will approach your subject, including any experiments or research you are intending to undertake in the pursuit of your thesis
  • A literature review of existing material
  • An estimation of your timeline, how you will proceed, and how long it will take
  • The reach of this thesis and how it will affect fields beyond the immediate topic
  • References and citations

The full process of how to find a PhD topic will never be simple or easy, but we hope these tips and steps that we have provided will make it feel more straightforward. Once you have accomplished them, you will be over the first hurdle, launching you toward your research, your writing, your thesis defense, and beyond to how to find a job after grad school .

You can refine it, change it, or modify it, but remember that any such modification will set your time frame for your PhD back. The greater the modification, the more work you will have ahead of you to “course correct” into the new topic.

Follow what excites you. Your academic career need not be a musty one; don’t pursue something that is dull or uninteresting. So, if you discover a new idea, incorporate it, or pursue it.

You might also find out, after embarking on your research, that somebody else is publishing something very similar. You might want to alter your thesis, or change it, if you find out that others are already working on your topic.

However, this is dependent on how deep into your research and/or thesis that you are. If you are a month out from completing your studies, put the new idea on the backbench and finish your work. There is definitely a time limit here.

If you have any doubts, share your qualms with your thesis advisor, who will be able to help you figure out if you have the time to expand or switch your topic.

Your descriptions should be very detailed. High academic standards apply to PhDs, and your notes and write-ups need to reflect this. Moreover, you are writing for academics, so there is no need to adapt your texts to use simpler language: give a full and complete description of your topic using current terminology in the field. Outline what you intend to accomplish and how you will fulfill your intentions.

The timeline will be different for every student, which is advice that should encourage you if you feel like you are behind your peers: everybody moves at their own pace.

Additionally, different research areas might require a longer contemplation period.

Finally, remember: your advisor needs to weigh in at both the beginning and the end of your thesis. Budget that time into your plan.

No field is exhaustible. There will always be more to learn. Can you arrive at the end of art? Of mathematics? Of history? It seems inconceivable that these areas will be depleted. While it might seem overwhelming – the idea of finding a truly original contribution – you will find one. It might take time, but if you remain curious and keep your mind open, you will arrive at the place you need to be.

As much as you want. They are tasked with helping you and will be glad to be of service. Any time you’re feeling stumped or want to bounce ideas off them, schedule an appointment, or visit during their office hours.

Do respect their time, however. If you’re monopolizing every moment they have, you might be there too much. Respecting boundaries and limits is necessary, but you should generally feel very free to ask for help; nobody faults you for asking.

No. You need to know generally what you are going to study and why, but you certainly don’t need thesis prep before applying to a graduate program. If you need any help with that, a PhD consultant can help you with your application.

There is no easy answer to this question. Some theses programs allow for you to move quickly and condense your time frame. Should you try to get your doctorate faster? That’s up to you.

The positive is getting into the job market faster, but the negative side will mean an extremely hectic schedule.

The ultimate answer is to take an honest look at what you want for your future and what you are capable of taking on. Weighing out those two factors will give you your answer.

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how to find a phd dissertation topic

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How to Choose a Dissertation Topic – 9 Steps

Choosing a dissertation topic is really difficult.

When I had to choose dissertation topic I agonized for weeks.

And I’ve supervised over 50 students’ dissertations across undergraduate, masters and PhD levels. All of my students agonized over their topics, too.

So you’re not alone in your struggle.

The below tips for choosing a dissertation topic are the ones I wish I was given when I was in the process of looking for a suitable topic.

If only I’d known these points, I would have saved a lot of time and stress for myself. So if these tips only help one person out, I’ll be happy.

These tips really work for just about anybody. They’re particularly useful for undergraduate and Masters level students who are writing dissertations. But, I’m sure most doctoral students will also find these points relevant, too. Especially tips 1 – 3.

Here are my tips on how to choose a dissertation topic – I hope they come in handy, and good luck on your research journey!

Read Also: 25 Sociology Dissertation Ideas

1. It Doesn’t have to be Unique (Yet).

This is the one piece of advice I wish I had gotten when I was choosing my dissertation topic.

Many students feel like they need to find a unique topic that will blow their markers away.

I was this student.

I thought that I had to choose a topic and idea that was going to make a unique contribution to knowledge. I thought I had to discover something, or, at the very least, choose a topic that no one has ever done before.

So here’s what I wish someone had told me:

It doesn’t matter if other people have done the same topic as you.

Don’t even let it phase you for a moment if someone else has chosen your topic. Just choose whatever topic you want.

Well, because your unique contribution doesn’t come at the start. It comes at the end!

You’ll find a way to make a unique contribution after you have completed your literature review . There is always time and space to find a new angle or different way of doing the topic than other people.

So, don’t choose your topic because it’s unique or different.

Then … how should you choose your topic? Points 2 and 3 give you some tips…

2. Make it Relevant to your Career Goals.

The first thing I recommend to all my students is to consider how their topic can help progress their careers.

When giving guidance to my students, I ask them these three questions:

  • a) What sort of specialization do you want in your career? If you’re studying teaching, your questions might be: do you want to be a specialized literacy teacher? do you want to be an expert on behavior management? Do you want to be specialized in play-based learning ?
  • b) How do you want to differentiate yourself from your competition? Your dissertation topic is going to be the topic you ‘sell’ as your area of expertise in future job interviews. If you want to get a great job, choose a topic that really stands out in the marketplace. Have a think right now for yourself: what areas of your industry are booming? For example, would it be better to specialize in coal or solar panels? Which one would be best to talk about in a job interview in the 21 st Century?
  • c) Do you want to be a research pro? Most of my students don’t want to be researchers as a career. They do their dissertations to prove mastery of their topic – that’s all. The research is a means to an end. But, if you think you want to go on to do the next level degree (a PhD one day?) then you’ll want to focus on having a high quality methodology, not just an interesting topic.

So, have a think now: is there a topic that will help you get to where you plan on going? What expert knowledge do you want to be able to ‘sell’ in a future interview?

3. Ensure it’s Interesting to You.

You’re going to be wedded to your chosen for a long time. And by the end of this journey you’re going to hate it.

To make your life easier, choose a topic you’re interested in.

Here’s two ways of approaching this:

Choose a Topic you Think About a Lot.

Choose a dissertation topic that you find yourself talking about, complaining about or raving about to your parents. Choose something that makes you angry, inspired or intrigued.

For the next week or so, I recommend taking notes whenever you find yourself thinking idly about something. Is that something you’ve thought about a lot?

Or, Choose a Topic by Looking over Past Assessment Tasks.

Another way of approaching the search for an interesting topic is to look over past assignments.

What assessment task have you done in the past few years that gripped you? Which one did you enjoy the most when you were studying it?

Zoom in on that topic and see if you can turn it into a dissertation.

Bonus tip: If you found a topic that was based on a previous assessment task, see if you can convince the person who taught that subject to be your dissertation supervisor.

4. Keep it Simple.

Too often, students want to choose a topic that is complex and complicated. They come up with a long, detailed research question (usually with the help of their professor) that, really, is hard to understand!

The best strategy is to come up with a topic that is really, really straightforward. At least, the topic should start as simple and straightforward.

Your topic is going to grow and expand into a monster. It’ll be hard to tame and control. You’ll be following random tangents down rabbit holes that end up being dead-ends. You’ll research aspects of the topic and realize it was a completely pointless exercise.

The way to minimize the crazy growth of your research project is to simplify it right from the start. Make it a really simple idea.

For example, I had a student who wanted to research:

“How big is the gap in mathematics outcomes between children from middle-class and working-class backgrounds by age 16?”

I would think that this topic may be achievable by a top academic with a sizeable research grant, but my student was completing a 10,000 word dissertation for graduating her Bachelor of Arts with Honours.

After several agonizing research meetings, we peeled it back over and again until we ended up with something much simpler and more specific:

“What are teachers’ opinions of the impact of poverty on learning?”

Why is this simpler and more specific?

Well, with the second study, my student has a clear focus group (teachers) and an achievable methodology (interviews). This will be far simpler than somehow conducting tests on 16-year old children, getting a significant amount of children to participate in the study, and then dissecting their mathematics test results by income level.

Instead, we aimed small and simple to ensure the task itself was achievable.

We’re not here to win a Nobel prize. You can do that with your multi-million-dollar post-doctoral research grant. Get your degree first.

5. Ensure it’s Achievable.

This piece of advice builds on the previous advice, to “keep it simple”.

Keeping it simple means making sure you have a clear, small-scale focus.

Esuring the project is achievable means choosing a methodology that won’t break you.

Small Scale Qualitative Studies are Achievable for Anyone

I always suggest to my Undergraduate and Masters level students to aim for a small scale study with no more than 20 research participants.

Now, I know there will be many of you out there who want to do quantitative research studies. And in reality, you can do a quantitative study with a small group of students. These usually involve quantitative action research case studies.

If you’re set on a quantitative study, that’s fine. But find a supervisor with the right experience.

Personally, I usually recommend a qualitative focus group analysis for anyone doing their first dissertation.

The biggest mistake you can make is biting off more than you can chew.

Small scale qualitative studies are the easiest option . They can be achieved within your time frame. And you can certainly still get a very high grade.

So, let’s take the example of the previous research question, which we changed from:

For the first study, you will have to develop skills in quantitative data analysis , find a sizeable cohort of students, get permission from their parents, get special permission to study children you’re your university ethics committee, develop a quality testing mechanism, pilot the test, conduct the test, analyze the data, then interpret it.

For the second study, you will not have to develop complex mathematical skills, bother with getting permission to research children, or deal with the rigor of quantitative analysis.

In other words, you will be able to bypass many hurdles you may face.

That’s the benefit of a small-scale qualitative study. It’s a nice easy first dissertation methodology. You can do it and do it well.

I know my position is controversial, but hey … I’m here to tell you how to avoid problems, not to stand on a soapbox.

Consider Textual Analysis, Semiotic Analysis or Secondary Research

Finding people to interview, survey or participate in your study in any way at all can be intimidating.

I find it interesting and really fulfilling. But I understand if you think it’s too much for you at this point in time.

If you don’t want to have to go out and find research participants for your study, I recommend one of these types of study:

  • Textual Analysis : you can look at policy documents or newspaper articles and analyze their ideological positioning , for example;
  • Semiotic Analysis : The quintessential semiotic analysis is the analysis of advertising images or movies and the examination of the ways they depict people of different races, social classes or genders;
  • Secondary Research: Look over other people’s research and try to identify themes across a range of research studies.

Now, these three different methodologies are far outside of the scope of this discussion, but consult with your dissertation supervisor if you’re overwhelmed by the idea of conducting research with real human beings. One of these three methodologies may help you bypass that process, and make the dissertation feel more achievable for you.

6. Search Online for Inspiration

If you’re still struggling to choose a dissertation topic,  go online to get inspiration!

There’s a few ways you can do this. Here’s a few good ones:

a) Google Previous Dissertation Topics

Many universities upload their students’ dissertations onto an online repository. This means there are a ton of open, free to access databases of previous students’ dissertations all over the internet.

Simply google “Dissertation” + “pdf” + a topic you’re interested in. If you’re a masters student, you can do “masters dissertation” + “pdf” + the topic; and if you’re an undegrad, then simply do “undergraduate dissertation” + “pdf” + the topic;. Simple!

Up will pop a ton of dissertations that you can instantly download to check out previous students’ successful dissertation topics.

Another benefit of doing this is that you’ll be able to view and model the structure that previous students have used as well. This can be super beneficial for you early on!

b) Look at Recent Articles Published in Journals focused on your Topic

If you scroll through the recent issues of journals in your topic, you’ll find a range of research topic ideas.

To get access to top journals in your topic, simply google “Scholarly Journal” + your topic. For example, I am a professor in education. So I’d google “Scholarly journal” + “Education”.

The homepages for a ton of journals will pop up in the Google search. Quickly scan through the recent issues of those journals to see if any ideas will pop up that interest you!

c) If you’re Studying Education or Teaching, Check Here

Lastly, a quick plug for another post I’ve written for dissertation students:

  • 51+ Dissertation Ideas for Education students .

Go check that out if you want to write a dissertation on the ‘education’ topic.

7. Trust your Dissertation Supervisor

Your dissertation supervisor will have walked many students just like you through the research process before.

Look, I know many dissertation supervisors can be disappointingly aloof and disconnected from your research. And relationships can get very frosty with your supervisors indeed.

Trust your supervisor. They make recommendations for a reason. They know how to navigate the dissertation writing process. If your supervisor makes a recommendation, strong – very strongly – consider it.

Your supervisor also has expertise in one area of research or another. Take advantage of their expertise. Be flexible and let them sway you down certain paths. You need a knowledgeable partner in the research process.

So, trust your supervisor. You need their expertise more than you know.

8. Come up with 3-5 Ideas and Bring them to your Supervisor for Feedback

Your initial dissertation topic ideas will probably need a lot of refinement.

The person who will help you to refine your topic will be your dissertation supervisor. Their main job, unfortunately, is to curb your enthusiasm. It’s to show you what problems you’ll face if you follow certain paths and recommend alterations to ensure your topic is achievable.

So, approach your supervisor with your 3-5 top ideas and watch them do their magic. They should advise you on how to turn your ideas into reality.

Your ideas can be specific or broad – really, it doesn’t matter because you’ll walk out of your supervision meeting with a lot of changed ideas. It doesn’t need to be set in stone.

You could, for example, go up to your supervisor and say something like:

  • “I’m interested in Erikson’s theory of development. Do you have any suggestions of how I can use Erikson’s ideas for a dissertation?”
  • “I’m really into conservative politics. What ideas do you have for an achievable topic?”
  • Any other ideas…

They’ll help you shape and mold your topic into something achievable.

9. Lastly, Stick to your Choice

how to choose a dissertation topic

When I did my dissertation, I questioned my topic daily: I’d always be thinking up new, better ideas for my dissertation!

But once you’re locked in, it’s hard to change your mind. You’re going to get ethics permission to conduct your study, not anyone else’s!

So, my advice is simple:

Once you’ve chosen your topic, commit.

If you’re desperate to do another topic, fine, do another degree. If you’re doing your Master’s right now, bank those other ideas for a potential PhD down the track.

But once you’ve made your choice, really … you’ve got to commit, block out all your regrets and dig in.

Don’t worry about your friends who chose a dissertation topic that is better than yours. Stay in your lane, be content with your topic, and create a great product.

Writing a dissertation is an exercise in being practical more than anything. That start from the very first choice: choosing a dissertation topic that’s achievable and good for your career, and will also put you on the path for top marks.

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 50 Durable Goods Examples
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  • Research process

How to Choose a Dissertation Topic | 8 Steps to Follow

Published on 11 November 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George.

Choosing your dissertation topic is the first step in making sure your research goes as smoothly as possible. When choosing a topic, it’s important to consider:

  • Your institution and department’s requirements
  • Your areas of knowledge and interest
  • The scientific, social, or practical relevance
  • The availability of data and resources
  • The timeframe of your dissertation

You can follow these steps to begin narrowing down your ideas.

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Table of contents

Step 1: check the requirements, step 2: choose a broad field of research, step 3: look for books and articles, step 4: find a niche, step 5: consider the type of research, step 6: determine the relevance, step 7: make sure it’s plausible, step 8: get your topic approved, frequently asked questions.

The very first step is to check your program’s requirements. This determines the scope of what it is possible for you to research.

  • Is there a minimum and maximum word count?
  • When is the deadline?
  • Should the research have an academic or a professional orientation?
  • Are there any methodological conditions? Do you have to conduct fieldwork, or use specific types of sources?

Some programs have stricter requirements than others. You might be given nothing more than a word count and a deadline, or you might have a restricted list of topics and approaches to choose from. If in doubt about what is expected of you, always ask your supervisor or department coordinator.

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Start by thinking about your areas of interest within the subject you’re studying. Examples of broad ideas include:

  • Twentieth-century literature
  • Economic history
  • Health policy

To get a more specific sense of the current state of research on your potential topic, skim through a few recent issues of the top journals in your field. Be sure to check out their most-cited articles in particular. For inspiration, you can also search Google Scholar , subject-specific databases , and your university library’s resources.

As you read, note down any specific ideas that interest you and make a shortlist of possible topics. If you’ve written other papers, such as a 3rd-year paper or a conference paper, consider how those topics can be broadened into a dissertation.

After doing some initial reading, it’s time to start narrowing down options for your potential topic. This can be a gradual process, and should get more and more specific as you go. For example, from the ideas above, you might narrow it down like this:

  • Twentieth-century literature   Twentieth-century Irish literature   Post-war Irish poetry
  • Economic history   European economic history   German labor union history
  • Health policy   Reproductive health policy   Reproductive rights in South America

All of these topics are still broad enough that you’ll find a huge amount of books and articles about them. Try to find a specific niche where you can make your mark, such as: something not many people have researched yet, a question that’s still being debated, or a very current practical issue.

At this stage, make sure you have a few backup ideas – there’s still time to change your focus. If your topic doesn’t make it through the next few steps, you can try a different one. Later, you will narrow your focus down even more in your problem statement and research questions .

There are many different types of research , so at this stage, it’s a good idea to start thinking about what kind of approach you’ll take to your topic. Will you mainly focus on:

  • Collecting original data (e.g., experimental or field research)?
  • Analysing existing data (e.g., national statistics, public records, or archives)?
  • Interpreting cultural objects (e.g., novels, films, or paintings)?
  • Comparing scholarly approaches (e.g., theories, methods, or interpretations)?

Many dissertations will combine more than one of these. Sometimes the type of research is obvious: if your topic is post-war Irish poetry, you will probably mainly be interpreting poems. But in other cases, there are several possible approaches. If your topic is reproductive rights in South America, you could analyse public policy documents and media coverage, or you could gather original data through interviews and surveys .

You don’t have to finalise your research design and methods yet, but the type of research will influence which aspects of the topic it’s possible to address, so it’s wise to consider this as you narrow down your ideas.

It’s important that your topic is interesting to you, but you’ll also have to make sure it’s academically, sociallym or practically relevant to your field.

  • Academic relevance means that the research can fill a gap in knowledge or contribute to a scholarly debate in your field.
  • Social relevance means that the research can advance our understanding of society and inform social change.
  • Practical relevance means that the research can be applied to solve concrete problems or improve real-life processes.

The easiest way to make sure your research is relevant is to choose a topic that is clearly connected to current issues or debates, either in society at large or in your academic discipline. The relevance must be clearly stated when you define your research problem .

Before you make a final decision on your topic, consider again the length of your dissertation, the timeframe in which you have to complete it, and the practicalities of conducting the research.

Will you have enough time to read all the most important academic literature on this topic? If there’s too much information to tackle, consider narrowing your focus even more.

Will you be able to find enough sources or gather enough data to fulfil the requirements of the dissertation? If you think you might struggle to find information, consider broadening or shifting your focus.

Do you have to go to a specific location to gather data on the topic? Make sure that you have enough funding and practical access.

Last but not least, will the topic hold your interest for the length of the research process? To stay motivated, it’s important to choose something you’re enthusiastic about!

Most programmes will require you to submit a brief description of your topic, called a research prospectus or proposal .

Remember, if you discover that your topic is not as strong as you thought it was, it’s usually acceptable to change your mind and switch focus early in the dissertation process. Just make sure you have enough time to start on a new topic, and always check with your supervisor or department.

Formulating a main research question can be a difficult task. Overall, your question should contribute to solving the problem that you have defined in your problem statement .

However, it should also fulfill criteria in three main areas:

  • Researchability
  • Feasibility and specificity
  • Relevance and originality

All research questions should be:

  • Focused on a single problem or issue
  • Researchable using primary and/or secondary sources
  • Feasible to answer within the timeframe and practical constraints
  • Specific enough to answer thoroughly
  • Complex enough to develop the answer over the space of a paper or thesis
  • Relevant to your field of study and/or society more broadly

Writing Strong Research Questions

You can assess information and arguments critically by asking certain questions about the source. You can use the CRAAP test , focusing on the currency , relevance , authority , accuracy , and purpose of a source of information.

Ask questions such as:

  • Who is the author? Are they an expert?
  • Why did the author publish it? What is their motivation?
  • How do they make their argument? Is it backed up by evidence?

A dissertation prospectus or proposal describes what or who you plan to research for your dissertation. It delves into why, when, where, and how you will do your research, as well as helps you choose a type of research to pursue. You should also determine whether you plan to pursue qualitative or quantitative methods and what your research design will look like.

It should outline all of the decisions you have taken about your project, from your dissertation topic to your hypotheses and research objectives , ready to be approved by your supervisor or committee.

Note that some departments require a defense component, where you present your prospectus to your committee orally.

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How to Choose Your PhD Dissertation Topic

Reviewed by David Krug David Krug is a seasoned expert with 20 years in educational technology (EdTech). His career spans the pivotal years of technology integration in education, where he has played a key role in advancing student-centric learning solutions. David's expertise lies in marrying technological innovation with pedagogical effectiveness, making him a valuable asset in transforming educational experiences. As an advisor for enrollment startups, David provides strategic guidance, helping these companies navigate the complexities of the education sector. His insights are crucial in developing impactful and sustainable enrollment strategies.

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In this article, we will be covering...

A doctorate represents the peak of education in a particular field and is a major milestone in an individual’s journey to being an academic and lifelong learner. On a more practical note, earning a PhD is a barrier to advancement in one’s field. 

Enrolling in a PhD is not a matter taken lightly, and one must start on a program with their heart and mind set on a particular topic, problem, or idea they want to pursue their dissertation. 

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Choosing a topic for a dissertation isn’t necessarily easy, but it also shouldn’t be hard as long as one gives it enough thought. Dissertation topics are potentially as wide-ranging as the entire scope of a particular field, and while homing in on a particular area to pursue might be daunting, here are some guide questions and points to consider in coming up with your potential Ph.D. Dissertation topic.

What Makes a PhD Dissertation Different from a Master’s Thesis?

What Makes a PhD Dissertation Different from a Master’s Thesis - Image

In broad strokes, a Master’s Thesis differs from a Dissertation in its overall intent. A Master’s Thesis is meant to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in a particular topic. While a Master’s Thesis is meant to be original and innovative, it tends to stick to what’s within the bounds of existing research.

This can be in terms of a thesis’ underlying theories, models, and methodologies. A Master’s Thesis is more or less an expansion or an elaboration of existing research, and any analysis is based on this as well.

Meanwhile, a Dissertation still touches on existing research in the field, but in it, you are expected to conduct your research on a particular topic and come up with original research and new knowledge.

Dissertations are also typically several times bigger than Master’s Theses, given their intent to generate new knowledge. In sum, Master’s theses tend to follow beaten paths, while a Dissertation is meant to explore and open new ones.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a PhD Dissertation Topic

Questions to Ask When Choosing a PhD Dissertation Topic - Image

Ideally, you should already have a Dissertation topic in mind even before you enroll in a PhD program. This has an important purpose: this helps university departments gauge whether or not to accept you into the program (relative to the expertise of their faculty) and also gives you an idea of which universities might be a good fit for you while you are looking around and submitting applications.

In a more practical sense, some universities and departments/programs require students to have a concrete idea of what topic they have in mind for their dissertation as part of screening applicants. 

What topic interests you, or what are you passionate about?

This is an important point to keep in mind. It’s safe to assume that by this stage, having already earned/are in the process of earning your Master’s Degree, you already have a good idea of which particular aspects of your field interest you the most. 

Pursuing dissertations on ideas you love most helps keep you motivated and open-minded as you conduct your research and inquiry. 

Does a chosen topic fall within your area of expertise?

It goes without saying that a good topic should fall within the bounds of your skillset and expertise in your field. Dissertations are meant to be original, ground-breaking explorations, and in this regard, having a mastery of required skills, research methodologies, etc., is crucial, on top of a thorough knowledge of your field. 

What topic did you take up/are taking up for your master’s degree?

In coming up with a potential dissertation topic, one need not look far. Your current Master’s Degree is perhaps one of the most immediate starting points, in particular, the ideas you are exploring for your thesis. Master’s Theses may be limited in terms of what they can explore, but going through the major steps of your thesis will often give you an idea of what particular area you may want to explore further or potentially contribute to. 

Your list of related literature and research for your thesis, in particular, is a good source of inspiration. A lot of these sources represent the most current research in your field, and it’s worth looking through the authors of the material you are citing and finding out the particular areas they are researching. It also helps to contact these authors formally, and more often than not, they would be willing to discuss their research with you.

Is your chosen topic researchable/answerable?

The specifics would vary between fields and disciplines, but it is very important to establish whether your potential topic can even be researched to begin with. A number of limitations may be at play in this regard. In some fields, the prevailing technologies have not yet reached the right stage of maturity to facilitate research on your topic, or at this stage, may be best left to post-doctoral researchers.

In other cases, the right data might not exist owing to it not having been gathered in the past years or decades. Still, in some cases, your topic might necessitate conducting research in places or settings that would put you in unnecessary danger, and crucially, research on a topic might necessitate crossing the red lines of ethics and professional standards. 

These are just some of the limiting factors to keep in mind in seeing whether or not a topic is researchable, given your position as an incoming PhD student. It is also important to keep in mind that as a Ph.D. student, you will most likely be required to earn your degree within a set number of years, and exceeding that limit is often non-negotiable.

Has the topic been researched already/has it already been explored enough?

This is one of the first points that you need to clarify in choosing your potential dissertation topic. Depending on a field of discipline, some areas or sub-fields will invariably be more accessible than others (or even more popular in some cases) and will have a bigger body of existing research. 

Since a dissertation is meant to break new ground and add to the overall body of knowledge of a particular field or discipline, it helps first to be able to determine whether a particular topic has already been explored. Determining the level of research on a particular area or topic will also help guide and form your inquiry and, ultimately, your final Ph.D. dissertation topic.

You will have a good idea of a particular area’s level of exploration through the course of gathering and parsing through related literature even as early as when you’re doing your Master’s Degree, so it helps to keep an eye out for this. 

Is there research on the topic from other fields?

You need not limit yourself to what’s within your field/discipline; in fact, you should make it a point to also look at any potential related research on your chosen topic from other fields. Doing this gives you a good alternative perspective to your chosen topic since research from outside your own field would often have different starting points and would have different lenses to view a particular topic. Looking at research done in other fields would also help further inform and mold your thought process as you finalize your chosen dissertation topic.

Does your department support your topic of choice? Are there faculty members willing to mentor you through it?

This is a key consideration for you as a PhD student and would impact not only the topic you can go for but also which university will serve you best (assuming you get accepted). You will be exploring your topic as a student largely under the guidance of one or more expert faculty, and your potential topic must be within the range of expertise of a particular university’s faculty. 

Some universities also specialize in particular areas or may have a particular research agenda they are willing to pursue. This can play into their selection process for candidates they may want to admit into their program. A university will have finite resources, and it would be beneficial for them to admit students who are looking to explore ideas that are closest to their agenda in order to maximize their resources. 

Will the resources available to you be enough to conduct the necessary research?

This is a rephrasing or an expansion of the earlier question on whether or not your chosen topic is researchable. To reiterate, regardless of the fact that you intend to generate original research, you will first and foremost be taking on your topic as a student, and this sets a number of key limitations. You will need to determine whether the resources available to you will conceivably be enough to let you complete your dissertation. 

This includes a number of practical considerations, including any available grants, fellowships, scholarships, and even a particular university’s existing facilities. Your chosen topic might involve you having to use equipment of limited availability or accessibility or may require you to conduct fieldwork in overseas locations.

There is no simple answer to this, however, since requirements would vary depending on particular fields or disciplines, but it is important to keep this in mind in the interest of being able to finish your dissertation and earning your PhD. 

Resource considerations may seem trivial to some, but this also serves as an important input in further developing your chosen topic. Scientific and scholarly research, after all, doesn’t involve trying to take on as many problems and topics as you can. To inject a few long-term goals into your planning, maybe it would also help to come up with your chosen PhD dissertation topic with the aim of further exploring the topic once you earn your doctorate. It might not even have to be you who will do the exploring, but others as well.  

Are you particularly attached to your chosen idea or topic?

Throughout this article, we have been talking about being sure about which idea or topic you would want to explore for your PhD dissertation, but it is also important to address whether or not you have formed an attachment to a particular topic or idea. 

As a scholar, you mustn’t get attached to a particular idea, not just while you are coming up with your dissertation topic but throughout the whole course of doing your research and beyond. 

This is where the pitfall of confirmation bias comes in. While it is standard to let the evidence dictate the inquiry, doing research with a strong attachment to a particular idea or expected outcome introduces the possibility of cherry-picking data and bending the outcome of your research to fit your original idea. 

This is bad science, and more than a few researchers have fallen victim to this, some to great cost. It is, therefore, important to constantly keep an open and flexible mind as a scholar and be ready to accept any necessary changes to your chosen dissertation topic. This serves as good practice for when you’re already conducting your research, as it is almost always the case that your inquiry will evolve based on whatever findings may emerge.

Are you listening to what others are saying?

Coming up with the right topic for your dissertation should not be a lonely battle. Science is a collaborative process, and this should be mirrored in your thought process. As a student, you will have access to your peers, members of your cohort, and, crucially, your faculty and mentors. It is good practice to bounce ideas around and ask for input constantly. This practice should extend beyond the formulation stage and well into your conducting the dissertation research itself. 

Lastly, it also helps to share your own relevant input constantly. After all, you’re may not the only one in your circle who is trying to come up with research topics (whether for Master’s Theses or PhD Dissertations), and your input may turn out to be one of the clinchers that help someone move forward by a huge bound. 

Choose Your PhD Dissertation Topic - fact

Final Thoughts

A PhD Dissertation is a highly crucial undertaking, and coming up with a topic for your dissertation requires rigorous thought that considers many key points. 

Choosing a topic for a PhD Dissertation takes a number of key theoretical and practical considerations into account since you will be going into your research problem as a student with access to finite resources working within a set time limit to earn your degree.

It is important to come up with a chosen topic long before applying for a PhD, but it is equally important not to grow too attached to a particular topic or idea, as well as always to welcome change and consider others’ input.

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5 Tips for Choosing Your EdD Dissertation Topic

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Associate teaching professor Corliss Thompson shares her top tips for choosing your EdD dissertation topic.

You’ve learned more about why you should earn your Doctor of Education (EdD), and now you’re ready to apply. As part of the Northeastern application process, however, you’re required to submit a problem of practice that you want to pursue throughout the course of your doctoral program.

But how do you arrive at that problem of practice and narrow your area of interest down into a specific dissertation topic? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

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Tips for Choosing a Dissertation Topic

1. pick a topic you’re passionate about..

A lot of work goes into your dissertation—from the literature review, where you’re conducting a critical analysis of what’s been published on your topic, to interviewing stakeholders and actually writing the dissertation itself. Each of those steps take time, so you want to choose a topic that will keep you engaged and hold your interest.

When trying to decide your area of focus, consider the challenges you’re motivated to address and the difference you want to make both during and at the end of your EdD program. The goal is that you will continuously build off your dissertation research and leverage the work in a way that positively impacts your organization and/or community.

2. Ensure your topic is manageable.

You want to select a topic you can complete during the duration of your EdD program that is also aligned with your budget. If you need to travel or perform longitudinal research, your idea might not be achievable. Find what available, attainable data you can, and use that to narrow down your research into a dissertation that’s more manageable.

3. Embrace the unknown.

Although you’re passionate about your topic and it’s manageable, there will still be lingering questions about your subject. Be prepared to explore what you don’t know and deepen what you already do know. Strong research typically results in more questions.

Be ready to ask questions of yourself, others, and the literature, and get comfortable with not knowing the answer. As you’re thinking about your dissertation, keep track of inquiries that emerge around different ideas. Those may help you hone in on a topic.

4. Leverage your peers.

One benefit of enrolling in an EdD program is the diversity of backgrounds and opinions you’ll find within your cohort. At Northeastern, EdD instruction is primarily online, which enables students to connect and collaborate with professionals from around the world.

Vasiliki Goudanas Mavroudhis, a recent graduate of Northeastern’s EdD program, emphasized this benefit in her piece on what it’s like to be in an online doctoral program , saying:

The ability to not only have a cohort-based network, but one that crossed cohorts and continents, allowed me to have a far richer and deeper experience. I learned from students with different perspectives who came from different industries across a number of countries.

When fleshing out your dissertation, use that global network to your advantage. Ask your peers for constructive feedback. It’s likely they’ll have suggestions on how you can approach your topic from different cultural perspectives.

5. Know it’s OK to change your topic.

It’s natural for your dissertation topic to evolve the more research you complete and experts you interview. Actually, it’s expected.

Switching topics halfway through the program might seem like more work, but you will have already gone through the research process once and laid the foundation for your dissertation. As you approach your topic from different perspectives, it’s understandable if your own viewpoint changes a bit.

If you’re in need of inspiration, here are some examples of doctoral research Northeastern students have recently conducted:

  • “The Drop Out Decisions of Latino College Students”
  • “Changing the Experiences of African Refugee Youth”
  • “Supporting Students Through Mindful Mentoring”
  • “The Transitioning Student Veteran: Finding Your Civilian Career Through Academic Success”
  • “Bridging the Gap Between Training and Educating in Adult Learning”
  • “Watch out for Shards from the Glass Ceiling: A Study of Women Higher Educational Administrators’ Leadership Development Experiences”

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Research and Research Impacts Resources for PhD Students

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Research in your discipline is an important skill you will develop throughout your program. The professional development skills in research that you gain in your degree program will be unique to your discipline. You will cultivate discipline-specific research skills through completing courses, degree requirements, research roles, and through more applied experiences like internships or field rotations.

Graduate students typically take research methods classes as part of their degree program at UB and have research requirements like producing a master's thesis, project or doctoral dissertation.

But, there are multiple skills to learn, disciplinary research and research skills beyond your discipline. How can you gain research skills or build upon your current skills?

1.

Write a fellowship.

2.

Write a grant.

Grant writing skills are critical to completing and disseminating your research and a mark of success in academic and professional careers. To gain these important skills, students can assist faculty with grant proposals, attend a grant writing workshop hosted by the Graduate School or submit a grant on their behalf.

Graduate Professional Development offers  grant writing workshops  for graduate students in STEM disciplines and Social Sciences/Humanities. Workshops are offered online and live twice yearly and recorded for additional access.

1.

Complete training in responsible conduct of research.

All students admitted to a PhD program for the fall 2009 semester or thereafter are required to document successful completion of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training when they submit their PhD Application to Candidacy form for their PhD degree. This training requirement may be fulfilled by either (1.) Enrolling in and passing with a grade of B (3.00) or better LAI 648 Research Ethics or RPG 504 Responsible Conduct of Research or BMS 514 Intro to Scientific Investigation and Responsible Conduct or RSC 602 Research Ethics for the Health Sciences or (2.) Completing a Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online Responsible Conduct of Research course with an average score of 80 percent or higher, or (3.) Successfully completing UB's Responsible Research micro-credential . Students opting to complete the CITI online course or the Responsible Research micro-credential must supply proof of completion with their PhD Application to Candidacy.

4.

Serve as a Research Assistant (RA).

Faculty with research grants or contracts hire graduate students as research assistants (RA). The RA assignment and funding are tied to the faculty member's work. Discuss research assistantships with your faculty mentor or director of graduate studies. 

5.

Present your research.

Any time you present your research you improve your communication skills. Present in your research group, at department talks, and to groups outside of your discipline. Each type of research talk is valuable to your professional development.

Every year in April the University at Buffalo hosts a campus-wide student showcase of research as part of the  Celebration of Academic Excellence . Departments nominate graduate students to present their research posters for the showcase. Attend the showcase to learn about the research happening across the university and apply to present your research.

6.

Attend research talks in and out of your department.

Take advantage of all the public research talks in and out of your department. Even if the research is not something you're familiar with, you can learn about the wider research in your discipline and pick up communication tips. Asking questions of experts and getting to network with the speaker and attendees is also important for professional development.

7.

Think about how your research fits into diverse career paths.

Your research does not necessarily lead you into one specific career path. Take time to explore how your research interests and skills can be applied to multiple career paths, both inside and outside of academia. Online Individual Development Plans (IDPs) and platforms, such as MyIDP for STEM disciplines and ImaginePhD for humanities and social sciences, give you a way to assess your skills and see how they match to opportunities. UB also subscribes to Beyond the Professoriate , which helps graduate students and postdoctoral fellows understand and articulate how their research skills match with career and job opportunities.

Through UB's Social Impact Fellows program , MBA and MSW students from the School of Management and School of Social Work, along with graduate students from the College of Arts and Sciences create social innovation in Western New York. Together, students collaborate, address pressing issues and make an impact.

Fellowships and scholarships are among the most valuable forms of aid you can receive during your college career and are designed to support students who have exceptional academic records and potential. Meet with the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships to discuss scholarship opportunities. 

University Libraries offer an outstanding array of information resources, technologies, services and people to support the academic and creative achievements of our students.

Other Research Training Opportunities

  • Research Bootcamp—Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Research Design (BERD)
  • SUNY Office of Research, Innovation and Economic Development
  • Build Your Research Community is a free course consisting of five modules offered by the Science Communication Lab. This course guides science trainees through identifying mentors and building and maintaining strong mentoring relationships.
  • The University Libraries offer research support. They have compiled Research Guides by discipline, Research Tips on locating materials, and Workshops to assist students, including Endnote, Microsoft Excel, database searching and more.

External Resources

  • Google Scholar Profiles  is a way to showcase your academic publications. If your profile is public, you will appear here when people search for your name.
  • Research Gate  is a free platform that connects science and research communities. Connect with experts in your field.
  • Research Rabbit  is an innovative citation-based literature mapping tool available online.
  • Connected Papers  is a tool to help researchers and applied scientists find and explore papers relevant to their field of work in a visual way.

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Every Wednesday during the semester, the Graduate School emails the "Graduate Brief" to all graduate and professional students, which is a weekly selection of news and happenings within the Graduate School and its partnering offices. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please contact [email protected] .

Upcoming Events

English PhD Candidate Thakshala Tissera Named Finalist for Three Minute Thesis Competition

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Thakshala Tissera , PhD candidate specializing in the Environmental Humanities and Human-Animal Studies, has been selected as a finalist in the Graduate School’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, slated to take place on Friday, March 1, from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Old Chapel. 

Tissera's doctoral research on narratives of Asian elephants examines the participation of non-human animals in political and economic networks that merge the ecological and the social in the construction of colonial modernity and complicates the positionality of this species of charismatic megafauna in the backdrop of the Sixth Extinction.

The event will feature engaging three-minute presentations from UMass Amherst graduate students who advanced from the preliminary rounds. Guests can cast their votes for their favorite speaker. The winners will be announced live during a reception following the competition.

Of the 25 preliminary round participants, just 10 were selected as finalists. These finalists will compete for a $1,000 first place prize, with the runner up receiving $500. Additionally, a People’s Choice award ($500) will be selected by audience vote at the final.  

In addition to Tissera, this year’s competitors are: Prerana Balasubramanian, food science; Jayashree Bhagabati, chemistry; Seanne Clemente, organismic and evolutionary biology; Maharshi Debnath, chemical engineering; Melissa Isidora Fernandes, food science; Rehab Heikal, chemistry; Jithu Krishna, chemistry; Kay Mattena, anthropology; Nidhi Thaker, molecular and cellular biology.    UMass Amherst is part of a growing global network of institutions sponsoring 3MT competitions. These popular events challenge graduate students to communicate the significance of their research to a general audience, all in three minutes or less.

The event will also showcase finalists from the Images of Research competition. More information is available on the Graduate School Office of Professional Development website . 

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COMMENTS

  1. How To Choose A Research Topic For A Dissertation

    How To Find A High-Quality Research Topic 6 Steps To Find & Evaluate High-Quality Dissertation/Thesis Topics By: Caroline Osella (PhD, BA) and Derek Jansen (MBA) | July 2019 So, you're finally nearing the end of your degree and it's now time to find a suitable topic for your dissertation or thesis.

  2. How to Choose a Dissertation Topic

    Step 1: Check the requirements Step 2: Choose a broad field of research Step 3: Look for books and articles Step 4: Find a niche Step 5: Consider the type of research Step 6: Determine the relevance Step 7: Make sure it's plausible Step 8: Get your topic approved Other interesting articles Frequently asked questions about dissertation topics

  3. How to Choose a PhD Research Topic

    Focus on your interests and career aspirations It is important to choose a topic of research that you are genuinely interested in. The decision you make will shape the rest of your career. Remember, a full-time programme lasts 3-4 years, and there will be unforeseen challenges during this time.

  4. How to Choose a Dissertation Topic For Your Doctoral Degree

    1. Develop a topic that will hold your interest. Determine what resources you have available—time, money, people—and choose a topic that isn't too resource-intensive. You'll be spending at least a year on a dissertation (or any large research project), so it has to be compelling enough to keep your attention. 2.

  5. How to Choose a PhD Topic

    Written by Ben Taylor Applications Advice Choosing a PhD topic can seem like a pretty daunting prospect. You'll need to decide on a subject that's substantial and original enough to occupy your time for at least three years - and one that you won't find yourself losing interest in.

  6. How to Choose a Good Research Topic for Your PhD

    🔊 Listen Choosing the right research topic is quite often a daunting task, especially for PhD students. However, developing a good research question has a positive impact on students' research careers. Thesis advisors offer help during this initial stage. Later on, PhD students are expected to choose their own research topic for subsequent studies.

  7. How To Find A Dissertation Research Topic: 5 Tips

    Start with the literature and focus on FRIN. Leverage your university's past dissertation database. Prioritize topics/areas that you have a genuine interest in. Play to your strengths in terms of topic and methodology. Keep it simple. 1. Start with the literature and focus on FRIN. The starting point for finding a solid research topic is to ...

  8. How to choose a PhD topic

    PhD Candidate. Chelsea believes choosing your research topic begins with, well, research. "Read widely on the general field that you're interested in," she says. "Identify the things that really spark your interest and where you can find research gaps - that is, where there are still things we don't know.". Sarah agrees and ...

  9. What Is a Dissertation?

    In the US, a dissertation generally refers to the collection of research you conducted to obtain a PhD. In other countries (such as the UK), a dissertation often refers to the research you conduct to obtain your bachelor's or master's degree. Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text Be assured that you'll submit flawless writing.

  10. Advice for starting a PhD dissertation

    A PhD thesis (or dissertation) is typically 60,000 to 120,000 words ( 100 to 300 pages in length) organised into chapters, divisions and subdivisions (with roughly 10,000 words per chapter) - from introduction (with clear aims and objectives) to conclusion.

  11. Fool Proof Tips for Finding PhD Research Topics

    Here are a few tips that may help you find the right research topic for your PhD studies: Before making up your mind, read several dissertations on related subjects to get familiar with different ideas and individual research styles.

  12. 626 Dissertation Topics for Ph.D. and Thesis Ideas for Master Students

    626 Dissertation Topics for Ph.D. and Thesis Ideas for Master Students (159 votes) If you are about to go into the world of graduate school, then one of the first things you need to do is choose from all the possible dissertation topics available to you. This is no small task.

  13. How to Choose Your Dissertation Topic

    For instance, if you want to earn a PhD in psychology, you may have discovered a subject area that interests you enough to dedicate weeks and months of research — such as abnormal psychology, social psychology, cognition, or forensic psychology.

  14. 1000+ Research Topics For Your Dissertation Or Thesis

    Check out the free course Find the perfect research topic for your dissertation, thesis or research project. Mega list of research ideas and practical examples.

  15. How To Choose A Research Topic For A Dissertation Or Thesis (7 Step

    Learn what a research gap is, the different types of research gaps (including examples), and how to find a research gap for your dissertation, thesis or rese...

  16. How to Find a Phd Topic

    Key to a PhD topic is the fact that you are contributing new knowledge to the current body of knowledge within your given field. It can be difficult to know what "knowledge" is, just as it can be tricky to discern what is a good, original "contribution," and that search can be frustrating. To test whether your idea is worthy, try to ...

  17. How to Write a Great PhD Research Proposal

    You'll need to write a research proposal if you're submitting your own project plan as part of a PhD application. A good PhD proposal outlines the scope and significance of your topic and explains how you plan to research it. It's helpful to think about the proposal like this: if the rest of your application explains your ability to do a PhD ...

  18. How to Choose a Dissertation Topic

    Especially tips 1 - 3. Here are my tips on how to choose a dissertation topic - I hope they come in handy, and good luck on your research journey! Contents show Read Also: 25 Sociology Dissertation Ideas 1. It Doesn't have to be Unique (Yet). This is the one piece of advice I wish I had gotten when I was choosing my dissertation topic.

  19. How to Choose a Dissertation Topic

    Step 1: Check the requirements Step 2: Choose a broad field of research Step 3: Look for books and articles Step 4: Find a niche Step 5: Consider the type of research Step 6: Determine the relevance Step 7: Make sure it's plausible Step 8: Get your topic approved Frequently asked questions Step 1: Check the requirements

  20. How to Choose Your PhD Dissertation Topic

    Choosing a topic for a dissertation isn't necessarily easy, but it also shouldn't be hard as long as one gives it enough thought. Dissertation topics are potentially as wide-ranging as the entire scope of a particular field, and while homing in on a particular area to pursue might be daunting, here are some guide questions and points to consider in coming up with your potential Ph.D ...

  21. How to Choose Your Dissertation Topic in Education

    1. Pick a topic you're passionate about. A lot of work goes into your dissertation—from the literature review, where you're conducting a critical analysis of what's been published on your topic, to interviewing stakeholders and actually writing the dissertation itself. Each of those steps take time, so you want to choose a topic that ...

  22. OATD

    Advanced Search Options 🞨 Browse by author name ("Author name starts with…"). Find ETDs with: Written in Published in Earliest date Latest date Sorted by Only ETDs with Creative Commons licenses Results per page: October 3, 2022.

  23. Research and Research Impacts Resources for PhD Students

    Graduate students typically take research methods classes as part of their degree program at UB and have research requirements like producing a master's thesis, project or doctoral dissertation. But, there are multiple skills to learn, disciplinary research and research skills beyond your discipline.

  24. How do I come up with a research topic for my PhD? : r/AskAcademia

    In the same boat, friend. The process I have followed is: Identify field and sub-field (and maybe sub-sub-field) of interest. Identify giants in said field. Read their stuff and see what they are saying would be good places to research. Choose directions and create several different questions and ideas to pursue.

  25. r/PhD on Reddit: What is the most complex thesis/dissertation topic you

    What is the most complex thesis/dissertation topic you've ever heard of? : r/PhD. r/PhD. r/PhD.

  26. What AI tools do you use/recommend? [follow up] : r/PhD

    What AI tools do you use/recommend? [follow up] Need Advice. I came across a thread from 2023 about asking for recommendations on AI tools that is used day to day for research. Creating a follow up to that discussion so we can share our experience with the bunch of tools out there to help with research, writing, and searching for content.

  27. English PhD Candidate Thakshala Tissera Named Finalist for Three Minute

    Thakshala Tissera, PhD candidate specializing in the Environmental Humanities and Human-Animal Studies, has been selected as a finalist in the Graduate School's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, slated to take place on Friday, March 1, from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Old Chapel.. Tissera's doctoral research on narratives of Asian elephants examines the participation of non-human animals in ...