How to Choose a Killer Topic for your Thesis

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In an ideal world, you’d have been thinking about your thesis topic since your first year of college by making a mental note of what you’re particularly interested in and what you’re good at. At the very least, you’d have started to make rough plans toward your final year dissertation over your final summer holidays. Doesn’t sound like you? The key thing is not to panic. While it’s true to say that time is marching on for those in their final year of college, there’s still time to come up with a killer topic for your thesis. 


Hitting up Google for advice on how to choose a topic for your thesis will return literally millions of snippets of advice. Let’s take a look at some of the best tips. 


Academic Ladder suggests looking to completed dissertations in your field of interest for ideas. By paying particular attention to the conclusions of these papers, you might very well be struck immediately by a question that deserves answering. You can do the same by consulting recent articles or conference presentations. 

Gradshare advocates the use of a partner to discuss early ideas. Although your partner is likely to be your academic adviser, don’t rule out other options. Sometimes just talking things through with a friend will help you get a topic clear in your mind. Gradshare provides a list of key questions that will help you whittle down a vast area into a tight question to answer. 

Custom Papers advises that you give serious consideration to the career that you intend to follow. Your dissertation reflects your special interests and, as such, can act as a veritable showcase for your knowledge in a particular field. In turn this may open doors when it comes to seeking your first job.

Claremont Graduate University suggests a brainstorming session. Take three issues of interest and write as much as you can think of around the topic for 15 minutes or so. The output from these brainstorming sessions, repeated over a few days if necessary, should highlight some promising topics that can be discussed with your adviser and ultimately turned into a workable research question. 

Academia at Stack Exchange points out that it’s important to choose a topic that interests you and gets your blood flowing. The key point being that a thesis could very well become so big that it would be possible to get a master’s thesis and a PhD project out of it as well. If you’re going to commit on this level, you can’t run the risk of burnout in the first few months. 

It might be that just one of these ideas is enough to give you the kickstart you need, or it might be that you need to take advantage of all of the suggestions. Whatever you need to get started is fine (the key is to actually get started). In all likelihood, once you’ve decided on a question, you will find so much interesting information to keep you going that you will wonder why it took you so long to decide.

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