Tips To Help You Select a Good Topic for Dissertation

Tips To Help You Select a Good Topic for Dissertation

Are you facing difficulties with writing your graduate or undergraduate dissertations? If so, we provide steps that are significant in helping you to choose the best dissertation topic.

Dissertations mark the end of your degree, and finding the suitable topic for your thesis or dissertation is the beginning of a remarkable writing journey. In other cases, such as PhD, you need to find a suitable area of research, and thus topic, for your application proposal. In this case, finding a good topic for dissertation will distinguish you from other candidates.

Most students who are completing their graduate or undergraduate degree find it difficult to choose a proposal topic for their dissertation; in many instances, they lack experience in writing a dissertation. And even a few that do still find the process challenging.

Finding a great topic, especially if you have no ideas for your dissertation can be challenging. In this article, we inform you about what steps to take, where to start from, and how to refine your research topic for faster approval.

8 Actionable Steps to choose a Befitting Dissertation Topic

In the dissertation writing process, you need to be very keen so that you achieve a high-quality topic for your research.

The topic comes from either a research problem or a research question. So even as you set out to choose the best topic, think of research questions solving issues and challenges that are debated or potential to be debated.

Apart from lack of experience, full-time students also do not have sufficient time of writing their dissertations; they find it cumbersome to balance between study, employment, and preparation for exams.

However, if you fall in either extreme, these eight actionable tips can assist you in selecting a good dissertation topic in both your undergraduate and graduate studies.

The following steps are vital in your desertion topic choice.

Step 1: Confirm dissertation requirements

Although it sounds like a cliché, but as a student, the initial requirement is to confirm the dissertation requirements. This is critical in determining the scope of your research. The requirements may include:

  • Maximum and minimum word count.
  • The deadline of submission.
  • List of topics provided or you choose your topic individually.
  • Orientation of the research (Academic or professional).
  • Methodological conditions.
  • Departmental preferences
  • Other restrictions.

This is the ideation phase where you comprehend the research methodologies, analysis methods, research approach (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods approach), word count, data requirements, ethical approval process, etc.

Some educational programs may have stricter requirements. You may not be provided with the list of the topic, deadline, or any other approaches. If you are in doubtful condition, it is important to always consult your lecturer

Step 2: Select a diverse research field

To choose your proffered field of research, you can begin by thinking about your interesting areas in the subject you are undertaking. The diverse ideas include:

  • Economic history.
  • online marketing.
  • health policy.
  • twentieth-century literature

Choosing the topic that is familiar with is a good idea because it will limit you from commencing your research from scratch. You don’t need to become an expert in that field, however, if you have read some articles, that can give you a hint to explore more on the topic.

Step 3: Explore articles, Previous dissertations, and books

Articles, dissertations, and books in your field are fundamental in providing you with evidence, examples, and facts that support your research topic. You can skim through some of the top journals, previously completed dissertations, and articles to evaluate how different authors have expressed their experience in the field.  For inspiration, you can search resources in your university library, subject-specific databases, and Google Scholar.

We stress on reviewing previously completed dissertations at your university to gain insights on presentation, grading, and topics. Look for the dissertations that were regarded as successful and seek inspiration from them when choosing a topic.

In case, you have accessed some articles in your preferred field, you can check the reference list in these articles to get more resources.  whole reading, write down specific ideas of your interest, and note possible topics.

As you research, focus on the questions that are unanswered from research. Check the recommendations for future research as suggested in the articles and previously written dissertations.

Collect these questions together for later so that you can further refine them into a dissertation topic.

As you review past dissertations, ask yourself:

  • What topics were ranked as successful for dissertations?
  • Did the dissertation authors turn research topics into research questions?
  • Were the topics narrow or broad?
  • Are the topics unique or over-researched?
  • Are the topics well-justified?
  • Did the successful dissertations have something in common?

Step 4: Get a narrow Niche

After your preliminary research and reading, it is now a moment to narrow down your area of research interest.  You can undertake this gradually by making your topic more specific.

One way of narrowing your focus is through identifying the potential research questions, which you will then turn into topics. You can come up with 2-3 questions and then consult with your supervisor for approval or feedback. You can mind-map or brainstorm based on your knowledge of theories to come up with research ideas. You can also try to find solutions to problems around you that are relevant to your area of study.

Your topic may be too broad in the sense that you can find many articles and books concerning the topic. Getting a specific niche that has not been explored by many researchers is critical. Doing so helps you identify the gap in research that you will fill with your upcoming research findings.

When your topic focuses on issues that have been exhaustively researched and there is strong consensus, it might be difficult to validate the relevance of your dissertation. Therefore, you should ensure that there are enough sources on your topic that are vital in the provision of a strong basis for your research.

In this step, ensure you have flexibility because you can easily dwell on it to change your focus if there is a need. In case your initial topic does not go through the following steps, you can introduce another one. It is vital to narrow your focus more in your research questions and problem statement.

Step 5: Consider the type of research you will use

There are numerous approaches to academic research. Therefore, it is necessary to think about the type of approach you will take in your topic. Your approaches should include

  • Original data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Interpretation and integration of concepts, facts, and ideas
  • Comparison of scholarly approaches

Most dissertations combine these approaches. You don’t need to complete your method and research design. But, the kind of research will affect the aspects that are addressed in your topic. Therefore, it is good to contemplate this while you narrow your ideas.

You should aware that original data collection demands enough time. In case you don’t have sufficient time in your dissertation, it is critical to focus on evaluating the existing secondary and primary data sources.

Step 6: Ascertain the relevance of your topic

It is important that your topic covers your area of interest. However, it is important to ensure that the topic is practically, socially, and academically relevant.

Being practically relevant guarantees the application of the research to improve life processes or decipher problems. Social relevance reveals three roles of the research in understanding inform-social change and society. Finally, academic relevance denotes that the research can trigger scholarly debate and fill the knowledge gap in your specific field of study.

The simplest manner that elevates the relevance of your research is to select the topic that links to the current debates or issues in society or your preferred academic discipline.  It is critical to clearly state your relevance when you write your research problems.

When your program is based on professional training, you should survey the professional importance of your paper. For example, you can select a commercial angle that can be a source of future employment.

When you are writing a dissertation about an internship or job, this can pressurize your topic choice because your research will require practical relevance.

Step 7: Ensure your topic is gratifying to you

You should reckon about the length of your dissertation before making a final decision concerning the topic. Contemplate the time frame to complete your dissertation and the practicalities of undertaking research.

As a matter of fact, you should consider whether you will have enough time to read all the academic literature concerning the topic. In case you got much information, you should narrow your focus more.

Moreover, you should also determine whether you will find sufficient sources or collect enough data to achieve the dissertation requirements. In case you perceive to struggle in finding the information, you should shift or broaden your focus.

Also consider whether you have to survey specific locations to collect data. You should ensure you have practical access and sufficient funding.

Lastly, you should determine whether the topic is based on your interest during the research process. To be motivated, it is vital to select something that interests you.

Step 8: Ensure your topic is approved

Many programs require students to write a short description of their topic before a supervisor is assigned to them. It is better to discuss your ideas concerning the topic with your lecturer or instructor before writing the full dissertation.

Note that, when you realize that your topic is not strong, you can change your topic as early as possible to make sure you get sufficient time to begin a new topic. It is always advisable to check with your department or supervisor.

Your tutor is your guide and mentor through the dissertation journey. As such, you should confirm with them when you are stuck at any point in the process of writing your dissertation. When it comes to the topic, even before writing a dissertation proposal, consider seeking advice on the potential topics, scope of your research, and relevance of the topics you are potentially considering. Always schedule some time with the tutor or supervisor to share your preliminary research findings, preferred angle, and general choice of topic.

Useful Tips to Consider When Choosing a Topic for Dissertation

Other guidelines can assist you in selecting a dissertation topic. The following guidelines are designed to help you in choosing an appropriate dissertation title in both undergraduate and graduate studies.

1.      Comprehend research process

Begin by reviewing instructions or any handouts that elaborate on your institution’s expectations about dissertation writing. Some institutions provide an online manual, in-class directions, and guidebook that provides important procedures fundamental in selecting a good thesis topic.  getting familiarized with the basics of research is one of the critical hints in dissertation writing. You should be acquainted with suitable research designs, qualitative research versus quantitative research

2.      Review previous dissertations carefully

There are numerous dissertations in your area of study. Getting a previously written dissertation can assist you to get a suitable topic for your dissertation. Past dissertations contain a bibliography, literature review, and the methods that can be used to justify your hypothesis. Exploring literature review and the source in the bibliography can give you tips about your suitable dissertation topic.

3.      Decide on a suitable dissertation title

The decision about a suitable dissertation topic is one of the fundamental aspects of dissertation writing. It involves selecting a manageable thesis title, selecting a familiar thesis title, picking a challenging topic, choosing a current topic, selecting an original thesis topic, and selecting a relevant thesis title.

4.      Select a manageable topic or research area

As a student you will have to do your paper research, it is vital to select a thesis topic that makes you confident and comfortable. You should not make the mistake of picking a complex dissertation topic that you do not have an interest in. Your final grade will be influenced if you choose a complex title that you find hard to handle. The main objective is to select a thesis title that reflects the standard of difficulty that connects to your skills and experience.

5.      Select a familiar area

As a student, you should select a proposal topic that you have diverse knowledge on.  It may cumbersome to write desertion concerning a unique topic. One of the best hints is to research a thesis topic that will help you in your career. This will contact in your topic; it might also assist you in getting employed after accomplishing your degree.

6.      Pick a challenging topic

Picking a good dissertation title is another element of selecting a good dissertation title that poses controversial questions that demand to be answered in several ways. Many students select a simply descriptive dissertation topic.  Unfortunately choosing a descriptive thesis topic does not include negative and positive arguments hence does not ensure a passing grade. As a dissertation writer, you should not opt to adopt one view of the argument expressed in the conclusion of the paper.

You should be in a position to answer any question concerning your topic. in case your topic does not have sufficient data or the questions are hard to handle, you might fail to complete your task. This is one of the major causes of failure in dissertation writing.  Ensure that your topic entails enough resources about your dissertation topic. You should refrain from choosing dissertation topics contained exclusively out-of-print books.

7.      Select a Current topic

A current dissertation topic is one of the elements of a good dissertation. new information and research are constantly presented in the modern academic world, therefore, selecting the current thesis tile is significant in reflecting the modern world. As a dissertation writer, you should ensure you increase the relevancy of your thesis title by selecting the current topic. Additionally, you may experience challenges when you select an outdated topic at the expense of the current resources.

8.      Pick an original research topic

Most students think that they must create a new dissertation topic to earn better grades, however, this is not usually the case. Approaching the existing topic through new perspectives is also guarantees originality. You can still maintain originality if you emphasize the latter dissertation topic. in case you are not sure about the originality of your thesis title, you can discuss it with your lecturer or supervisor.

9.      Select a dissertation topic that interests you

Many students make mistakes by choosing a thesis topic that they are not interested in. choosing an interesting thesis topic is critical in providing details about the topic. when a writer is not passionate concerning the subject of his or her topic, they find it difficult to produce a nice script. writing a dissertation is not exclusive. The writer should be passionate about the topic to ensure that he or she remains motivated during the dissertation writing process.

10.  Select a unique research topic

It is fundamental to select a different topic for your thesis to grant you an opportunity to engage in your research and present individual conclusions. Although finding a different research topic is cumbersome, you can approach the existing research field from a unique perspective. You can derive a unique idea from already researched.

11.  Pick a relevant topic

Before commencing to draft or conduct your dissertation research, you should select a suitable thesis title. The most effective approach is to narrow your subject area to a single relevant area that satisfies your particular standards. For example, when you are a biology student and you will need one thesis topic that connects microbiology and molecular techniques. This will assist you to develop a suitable and most interesting dissertation topic.

12.  Constrict your subject matter

Narrowing your subject is vital in assisting you to decide on a specific topic in that field. The next stage involves further constriction of the subject area. It is important to note numerous questions that you will tackle in your dissertation as you narrow your subject matter. As you commence to increase the questions, you will notice that these major questions emerge continuously. You can focus on major questions as your thesis topic

13.  Clarify your subject

A good dissertation topic is simplified. Most students select complex topics that are extremely difficult to clarify. an additional effective approach is to explain a simple idea by evaluating both views of the argument. Nevertheless, you should avoid selecting a thesis topic that is extremely narrow because it may make your research cumbersome and impossible to accomplish.

14.  Consult your tutors

Many students make mistakes of failing to select a good tutor.   Selecting a good tutor that is knowledgeable about dissertation topics, available, and approachable is one of the greatest steps in building an academic-friendly relationship. Your tutor may have diverse knowledge about the subject matter. This will help you throughout your dissertation writing process. Therefore, it is critical to choose your tutor carefully when granted a choice. However, some students fail to consult their tutors when writing desertion. This has led to choose of inaccurate desertion topics that have led to lower grades. Consulting your tutor is critical in getting thoughtful ideas that can assist you in writing your dissertation as required. Sometimes some of the requirements of the dissertation may not be specified. Therefore, seeking advice from your tutor will enable you to get more ideas on how to tackle the dissertation.

15.  Find a convenient tutor,

Sometimes you can find a tutor that can help you to select a thesis title by engaging the professor that has researched a specific field of interest or exploring your institution’s library. When you have a challenge of selecting a convenient title, you can meet your tutor to seek guidance and advice. You can discuss numerous topics until you get the suitable one. You should be prepared to express valid arguments that justify your preferences. You should also validate the suitability of the thesis topic you have selected to obtain higher grades.

16.  Change your topic as many times as necessary

In your entire dissertation writing process, you might end up revising or changing your thesis title. This is permitted because the student is allowed to change the dissertation topic when encountering new information and challenges that authorize the change in the first topic. many students make mistakes by continuing with the initial thesis topic they developed. It is vital to change your initial topic when the need arises.

17.  Ascertain your suitable research method

After selecting a good dissertation topic, you should decide the type of research methods you will employ to present concrete arguments. The method will affirm the way you will approach your particular dissertation topic. You have diverse choices of undertaking secondary and primary research.

18.  Avoid being vague

The thesis is a tightly–written academic paper.  Every sentence s should impact the development of the research argument and final piece consisting of clear sentence structure. Selecting a broad idea might make it cumbersome to explore the subject with restrictions from the word count. This can make it hard to make concise conclusions.

19.  Be objective

You may become interested in your thesis as early, preventing you from recognizing its weaknesses.  Consequently, it is significant to be realistic concerning your idea scope and promise. Reflect on your topic and evaluate it based on outside perspectives to eliminate the weak idea. Organizing your schedule effectively will give you more time to get another topic.

20.  Consider secondary vs. primary research

Secondary research is considered the most accurate compared to primary research.  Though primary research is popular and is developed to solve current challenges addressed in your thesis topic, it consumes a lot of time and demands more structuring than secondary research.

Therefore, you should ensure you devoted much time to undertake the required tasks. Some of the methods that can be applied in gathering primary data include focus groups, questionnaires, interviews, protocol analysis, action research, and project methods.

You can opt to use the case-study method in case you are convenient with undertaking quantitative analysis or when the data about your topic is insufficient.

You can consult your tutor about your preferred method because your university may allow a certain approach. The approach may clarify your research and dissertation writing tasks if you have limited experience and are unfamiliar with undertaking quantitative research, you can use a statistical package. The statistical package (SPSS) is a program that can aid you to perform and interpret statistical analysis.

Places to look for Dissertation Topics

As a student who is fresh in the academic research arena, it is imperative to know where to look for potential dissertation topics. Do not struggle looking for abstract places, these are the most unimaginable and some simplest areas you probably have ignored.

We know, and you probably do agree that dissertation topics do not emerge out of nowhere. You need to be proactive and aggressive when choosing a dissertation topic. Here are some relevant areas to consider:


  1. The internet. There are many websites where you can get ideas for your dissertation topics. For example, in our blog section, we have different blogposts on topics, which can be a great starting point.
  2. Consider some problems in your workplace that need well-thought solutions. As a dissertation entails an extensive research process, select areas that are relevant, interesting, and explorable.
  3. Oral defense. Attend as many dissertations oral defense meetings as you can. Be keen as the presentations are on and hone your skill on how to polish a topic.
  4. Dissertation by others. Review the dissertations that were previously completed by other students before you. The internet has an endless list of dissertations in various fields. You can check websites such as ProQuest or American Doctoral Dissertations. Focus mostly on the recommendations for future research and limitations sections of these dissertations.
  5. Professional journals. Check the scholarly and professional journals in your current field to get ideas for your potential dissertation topic.
  6. Faculty or colleagues. Consider getting suggestions and ideas from your peers or the faculty members. These ideas can point you to the right direction with choosing a great dissertation topic.
  7. Seminars and conferences. You can attend conferences and seminars to get insights on the new trends, issues, and challenges that you can later focus your topic on. If you have time, interact with the speakers/presenters and attendants to gain even more insights.
  8. You can write to a leading scholar in your area of interest asking them to suggest unbeaten paths that they advise you to research and table findings on. If there are potential new areas, you will be able to be a step further since you will be solving Realtime issues.
  9. Ask your librarians to help you with topic search. You only need to give them a list of keywords, research scope and interests, and share with them some phrases to research. In return, they will give you potential topics that are unexplored.


These are great areas that can help you choose, polish, and research a good dissertation topic. There are more such as professional magazines, books, articles, and professional agencies, whatever path you choose ensure that it leads to a great discovery of an interesting topic.

How to narrow down to a final dissertation topic

It is possible that as you follow the steps we have outlined, you will come up with a potential list of topics. When you finally have a list of topics, take a break from research to gain an objective mind. Here is how you sieve the topics to arrive at the best one for your dissertation:

Assess the list to see if there are topics you can cross off your list. Some of the reasons to cross a topic can be:

  • It does not have sufficient data online
  • It is over researche
  • Complex topics
  • Only past literature is available on it
  • The topic is too broad
  • It is not relevant to your research interests
  • The topic is a duplicate of another topic in your list

Narrow down to 2 or 3 research topics based on:

  • Narrow down to 2 or 3 research topics based on:
  • Suitability of the topic to bear unique, original, specific, and relevant research questions
  • The originality of the topic, which determines if it will be accepted or rejected
  • The significance of the topic to your field of study and academia
  • Availability of literature that is current, reliable, and authentic to exploring the topic
  • The feasibility of exploring the topic through various research approaches
  • The ability of the topic to pique your personal and professional preferences. Personal interest or attraction matters when choosing a topic because it is something you are going to live with for a long time.

Consider the what, why, and how. When choosing a topic consider the most basic things about it. In terms of the “what?” ask yourself what you will be studying to help you frame a research problem or question. You can then write a decent dissertation title. Also explore why the chosen topic or area is interesting or significant to study. In most cases, it is due to an identified research gap. Finally, as yourself how to will answer the question.

Consult with your supervisor. Your dissertation supervisor understands what it takes to choose a good topic. Once you have narrowed down to 2 or 3 topics, ask them their input and advice. Getting feedback from your ideas will open a new set of opportunities that you can further refine or explore. Once you have chosen a topic stick to it to the end.

No dissertation topic is superior or inferior, your research and documentation process is what matters. Once you get an approval, proceed to write a dissertation proposal that outlines all the aspects of your research.

Final Remarks!

A good dissertation topic is:

  • Interesting to research and write about
  • Not too narrow or broad to confuse your research process
  • Practical, manageable, and relevant to your field of study
  • One that has not been “researched to death”
  • Acceptable by your supervisor, tutor, or committee
  • Has available data and information from other scholars
  • Connects to the theories and concepts from your field
  • Relates to your professional and academic interests
  • Feasible in terms of time and research resources