For some students, determining the best dissertation idea can be the most difficult aspect of the entire dissertation process. A good dissertation begins with a lengthy brainstorming process during which a student tries to determine which of his or her interests can be transformed into a good dissertation idea. This is because there are seemingly endless dissertation ideas, but unfortunately, many that have already been done. A dissertation must be original research; the student must develop an original dissertation idea on which to write.
A dissertation idea is different from a dissertation thesis. The idea is the topic of the report, while the thesis is the specific argument about that topic. For instance, a student's dissertation idea may be about plasticizing human cells. A student's dissertation thesis would be a specific point or argument about plasticizing human cells, such as an analysis of why a certain plasticizing method is better than another.
To determine a dissertation idea, a student should first determine an area in his or her discipline in which he or she wishes to specialize. A dissertation takes a year or more to complete, so the student must be able to sustain interest in the topic for a long period of time. Furthermore, a dissertation topic often dictates what a student's specialization is, and will therefore often determine a career focus once a student graduates. Therefore, the area a student finds most compelling should be the area from which he or she derives the report idea.
Once the student has selected a general area within the discipline, the student should launch into exploratory research. This means that the student should read a variety of academic texts and talk to a variety of experts in the area to learn more about it. Typically, a variety of dissertation ideas will occur to a student through this process as the student discovers particular issues within the area that he or she finds particularly compelling. These ideas should be compiled in a list so the pupil can research them later.
When the student has a few dissertation ideas on the list, he or she should begin focused research on each of those ideas in order to determine what has already been discovered about those ideas. A dissertation idea must be original; therefore, the student must do intense investigation into what has already been done in the realm of the idea to see if he or she can pursue the idea and, if so, how.
Once the student has discovered an idea that is compelling and original, he or she should discuss the idea with his or her assignment committee to seek approval and guidance. If the committee approves the idea, the student is then ready to develop the report thesis.
Premium Papers Involving "Dissertation Idea"
Tutorial Videos on University Writing