How to choose the right dissertation topic

Natalia Wilkowskaon 8 April 2021
A big traditional-looking library

Find out how to pick the right subject for your final uni project with this handy guide.

Choosing what to cover in your dissertation seems scary, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is to choose something that you’ll be passionate to write about. Here are some top tips on how to pick the best topic: 

Choose a subject that interests you 

Choosing a topic you’ll enjoy researching is the key to delivering a successful paper. Writing a dissertation is a complex process that requires lots of work. Bear in mind that you’ll be working on it for months, so the topic needs to be something that interests you. Dissertations require lots of research and reading, so be ready for that.

Bear in mind that you’ll probably need to be objective about whatever topic you choose.

Choose a unique project

It’s a good idea to choose a novel subject when deciding what to cover in your dissertation. Even if the topic has been covered in the past, it always pays to present a new angle. Coming up with a unique angle will also help you to figure out your conclusion - a key component of any dissertation - early on.

Be sure to choose a topic that’s still relevant to your course. It is a big paper, so doing something that builds on your existing knowledge could help a lot. 

Seek advice

Choosing your dissertation topic is a very important matter. Remember that you don’t have to answer this question alone; you can seek advice and support. Talk to your teachers, supervisors, family, and friends to get a balanced perspective on the topics you’re considering. Think about the course itself and what drove you to pick it. Before long, you’ll find inspiration and come up with a killer topic!

Don’t overstretch yourself 

While searching for the right dissertation topic, consider the logistics of your project. It’s a complex project that involves loads of planning. Time management is the nemesis of every student, and you’ll need to leave enough to check over your work, word count, referencing, and methodology. If your research involves interviews or questionnaires, remember that you’ll need to involve other people in your project and plan accordingly.

Do your research as early as possible 

You should be doing your research before you’ve even settled on a dissertation topic. Check if elements of your proposed topic have appeared in peer-reviewed literature, and look for relevant books and articles. If there isn’t much pre-existing research, you’ll need to consider whether the topic is viable.

Writing a dissertation is a long and complex process, so the sooner you start working on it, the better your mark will be. Good luck with the project!

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Natalia Wilkowskaon 8 April 2021