Think about what interests you
In order to arrive at the topic, it is important to conduct a thorough study of previous academic research in the field that interests you. This can help you in gaining knowledge and at the same time help in shortlisting a few broad areas of interest that have gaps in research.
Consider your Masters’ Dissertation
It is often a good idea to choose a field for your PhD study related to the field of your Masters’ thesis. For instance, if you wrote a Masters Dissertation in Physics you may look into related but more advanced areas in Applied Physics to choose as a potential area for your PhD research. Previous research can also often be very helpful in giving you new ideas for a topic of research.
Research previous studies
Students are often worried about choosing the right
Formulate a strong question
If you formulate your PhD topic in the form of a research question, it will raise the probability of being accepted. However, you need to note that not all questions are equally strong. When you formulate your research question, make sure it cannot be answered with yes or no answers. Thus, the questions that start with “Are” or “Is” are usually weak questions. Strong questions will begin with words such as “How”, “To what extent” and “What”. Also, keep in mind that if you already know or can guess the answer to your question, it is most likely a weak question.
Check the availability of data and scope of research
Your PhD topic, while being challenging, must be researchable, and this depends greatly on data availability and the scope of research. Many times, students choose topics or even write proposals that are unrealistic to accomplish. In these cases, proposals will be rejected by universities. So, before you formulate your final topic, check all the available data at your disposal, make a list of all possible variables you can realistically access and then start looking for connections between the variables to come up with the final topic for your thesis.
Ensure flexibility in your topic
While your PhD topic should not be broad, it must have sufficient flexibility to be adjusted if your research encounters obstacles. For example, if you have chosen a specific phenomenon to be studied in the context of a specific country, you may want to consider formulating your research topic in the context of a region of this country. In this case, if your research meets a dead end or insufficient data for the country, you would have sufficient flexibility to compensate for this by looking at other countries in the region you mentioned in your research topic.
Check with the experts
Before submitting your PhD proposal with the topic you have developed, it is a good idea to talk to experts. People with experience such as professors, senior students, and professional writers will provide a fresh look at your topic and share their expertise. They will also be able to notice inconsistencies and weaknesses in your topic. This will allow you to make timely changes and increase your chances of being accepted.
How unique and original is your proposed topic?
PhD thesis vs. Masters Dissertation
On the other hand, a Masters Dissertation is usually submitted in the last semester of your degree and the research is not as deep as in PhD. In terms of the topic, many Masters’ dissertations are written on topics that are not 100% unique. For example, Masters’ dissertations could explore an existing topic in new contexts with new methods, and this will be considered a contribution. However, this is not enough for a PhD topic as more originality is required.
To sum up, choosing the right topic for your PhD can be a really tricky task. It needs to be carried out with great care since this can often impact your career in the long run. In order to arrive at the right topic all the steps discussed above need to be taken into account. This will ensure that you arrive at the right topic and achieve success in your quest for a PhD.