There is one moment of momentous importance that occurs in every student’s life. One of many, I should say. But a vital one nevertheless. Yes, choosing a dissertation! That moment when you’re faced with pages and pages of titles and description. And it is an important moment. Especially as a major part of your final (or Masters) year will be spent researching a topic and writing a massive dissertation on it. So it’s important that you’re really interested in that topic. When you love what you do, you never hesitate to put hours of work into it.
For many, including me, there’s no clear topic of choice. I had no idea what I wanted to do so I came up with a 5-step process to help narrow down my choices.
So here goes…
Step 1 – Quickly read through all the different titles. See which projects are available and who the supervisors are. At the end of your quick look, you’ll get an idea about the areas the different projects are offered in.
Step 2 – Read through the titles slowly, paying attention to detail. Highlight the ones you think interest you. I recommend choosing different colours depending on how much you like a topic. At the end, you should have a shorter list of titles you really like.
Step 3 – Email the supervisors to find out more about the projects that you really like. It’s a great way of finding out the finer details of the project as well as registering your interest with the academic. The more you know about a project, the better decision you can make about it. As a bonus, supervisors appreciate your incentive in taking an interest in the topic. You can even set up one-on-one meetings with the academic to understand the project better. Although it might be better to just do that for your top three or four choices.
Step 4 – Go through the everything you learnt about the projects and think about what you would enjoy studying. Chances are, a few of the projects will stand out. Rank them in order of interest.
Step 5 – Narrow down your list and submit your final choices!
There it is! An easy 5-step process to choosing your dissertation topic! Just make sure you allow some time to go through your choices and spend some time getting to know your supervisor and their area of research better.
So get cracking! Good luck!