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CHARIS FOR WRITING Lesson 64 THESIS WRITER II: Choosing A Research Topic

What at all should I write on?

Hello and a warm welcome to this week’s lesson. Like we promised, this week’s lesson is continuing from the last one we began on thesis writing. We shall deal with choosing your topic. Have you been sharing our posts? You should if you think they have been helpful. Now to the lesson.

Choosing a topic is one of the most important aspects of writing a thesis, if not the most important.

It is the first thing one needs to determine before the research can actually start. The earlier the student starts thinking about it, the better. Unlike story books which can wait till everything is done to pick a good title, academic research demands that the topic be chosen first before all. Why?

Choosing the right topic helps to give the thesis a clear direction and purpose and helps drive the other parts of the thesis: objectives of the study, literature review, methodology, etc. The principal key to coming up with a topic is ‘Brainstorming’. This means allowing your mind to roam and come up with several possible topics. Here are a few pointers that could also help:

  1. Personal interest or passion

There is nothing like doing a research that syncs with something you are passionate about. Asking yourself questions about what you are passionate about, and what motivated you to select the course you are undertaking can help in choosing an interesting topic. One reason why it is important to choose a topic you are passionate about is that there is always a point in the period of conducting a research where the researcher feels like giving up and it is the passion or interest work that serves as the motivation to move on.

  1. Current happenings

A good and interesting topic can also be gleaned from current happenings in the country and beyond that related to your course. This can be gleaned from the newspapers, radio, internet etc. For instance, a Human Resource Management student can get ideas from the labor issues in his/her country.

  1. Work experience

Another excellent avenue to get an interesting topic is to brainstorm on the occurrences in your work environment. Every research seeks to address a problem in a particular context. There might be a problem in your current organization or past working experience and your research could be the perfect tool to address that problem. One benefit of doing this is that you will have easy access to data needed to work with.

  1. Lectures or tutorials

During lectures and tutorials, you must pay particular attention to the research ideas that run through your mind and you must not let them go: write them down. This might happen especially when the topic being taught excites you.

  1. Literature review

The world abounds with millions if not billions of research work done in diverse fields including yours. There are various search engines that can help you access research work done. Doing a bit of reading around can help stir your interest towards a particular research direction and give you a solid foundation to begin you research. You can start from Google scholar. (Will look more at the subject of Literature review in our subsequent lessons)

  1. Supervisors

Every lecturer has his/her research interests and can be of great help in times of deciding on a thesis topic. Some lecturers might also come up with thesis topics and ask students who are interested to see them. The danger here is to be careful not to have a topic imposed on you or go for one you are not really interested in. Remember, interest is key when deciding on a thesis topic.

A thesis topic should neither be too short nor too long. It should ignite an interest in the reader and give him/her a sense of what to expect before reading the thesis. The topic should however be related to the course you are studying. For instance if you are studying Project Management, your topic should have a link with it. It is important to also note that the topic you choose will undergo various changes depending on your supervisor or other reasons.

That is it for this week. Join us next week as we delve into preparing the thesis. We hope this lesson was useful.

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