Looking for Original Dissertation Topics

Looking for an original and interesting dissertation topic can be a very daunting task for the graduate student attempting to achieve a PhD. While there are several methods to develop a good topic, usually the student who has spent years studying and growing within a topic may be getting some cold feet when it comes to finally settling on a topic they will spend researching and working on for several months. If this sounds like you, here are some tips you may want to try when looking for original dissertation topics:

Speak with Your Advisor and Discuss Some Ideas:

You’ve spent a long time vetting which academic advisor you have wanted to work with, so why wouldn’t you trust your advisor to know more than a few things about your academic strengths and interests? Bring some of your older papers to you meetings and discuss ideas you might have. It’s likely your advisor will have more than a couple of suggestions for original dissertation topics. Be sure, however, to get started early so you have time to review those suggestions and make the best possible decision for yourself and your academic career.

Brainstorm Some Ideas with Your Fellow Students:

Another great idea is to brainstorm a number of topics with your peers. They’ll know a few things, even if just on the surface, about the potential topics you run by them. They may ask you a few specifics about your topic ideas and this might get your creative juices flowing. Whatever you can’t readily answer for them or whatever piques your interest should be a top candidate as you narrow down your choices.

Search Databases and Think of Different Approaches:

Your university’s library will have access to several dozens of databases spanning a number of disciplines. It’s a good idea to check these before you start to panic about coming up with your own topic. Databases will be filled with thousands of abstracts you can review to inspire some of your own ideas. For instance, if you see a specific topic with relation to a certain region or ethnic group, consider working on a topic using different subjects and dealing with a different issue.

Think of the Things You’ve Always Wanted to Know:

This last tip is perhaps the easiest and simply requires that you take some time to think and write notes on things you want to know within your discipline. You will be spending months working on this topic and will have the opportunity to answer all of the questions you have. This means that your topic will be entirely interesting and more than likely original if you can’t find easily find the answers.