Choosing a Dissertation Topic

Choosing a Dissertation Topic

The dissertation is a crucial element in any degree programme. It is a vital component in an academic’s pursuit of a higher degree, requiring the student’s competence and understanding of the field he has chosen to specialise in. Completing a dissertation provides students the unique opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge he has cultivated through years of study.

A critical component in the completion of a dissertation project is choosing the right dissertation topic. Many students find themselves stuck and unable to come up with an appropriate topic for study. The dissertation topic sets the tone for the entire study, so choosing the right topic is important.

There are several factors that need to be considered when choosing a dissertation topic. These factors include the presence of existing literature on the topic, the relevance of the topic to the student’s chosen career path, the availability of any past studies related to the topic, the practicability of the methodology, the access to and relative ease of gathering the required data. All these factors shape the four main items that need to be addressed when coming up with a dissertation topic:

oArea of study

Some factors affecting the area of study are the student’s chosen career path and the relevance of the study to said career. A student should choose a topic wherein he may apply all the knowledge he has gained in years of study.

If a student chooses a topic within his field of study, it is very likely that the student will not lose interest in the study. Completing a dissertation will take from 6 months to more than a year, so the topic should be able to keep the student’s attention.


An issue pertaining to the chosen area for the dissertation project should then be determined. A student can start looking for issues or arguments relating to the subject amongst the people who work within that field. These issues will help shape the dissertation’s main problems and objectives.

oThe Methodology

The practicability of the methodology is a major consideration in determining the method of research. The student needs to figure out how he intends to proceed with the study and collect the required data.

There are several types of strategies in conducting a dissertation project, to determine the appropriate strategy; a student must refer to the established objectives of the study. In choosing a methodology, one should make sure that the process of collecting data is feasible and that the data derived using such methods are viable and applicable to the study being conducted.


Related literature to support the thesis presented in the study is an important part of the dissertation. It is advised to study areas with readily available sources of information – be it publications, academic journals or other dissertations on the same area of study.