Selecting a Viable Topic for UK Dissertations

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According to King, Keohane and Verba, your research project should pose a question which is important in the real world. It should have some implications for economic, political and social life and help in improving the understanding of factors impacting people’s lives.

Any dissertation topic that you choose to perform your research on must be of some value to the research community.

King, Keohane and Verba also state that when you formulate a topic, it should be able to a make a specific contribution to a body of existing scholarly literature. Your research project should be able to increase the ability to build verified scientific explanations of some or the other aspect of the world.

Relevant research projects can be conducted on questions of war, political mismanagement, economic policies, comparative analysis of political institutions, indicators of infant mortality and life expectancy in developed and developing countries etc. These are all pressing and urging questions on which research will be encouraged and approved of. These are only some broad suggestions to provide you the drift of the kind of topics which will receive acceptance.

Your topic will of course also be determined by your own areas of interest. This is entirely subjective and is a very personal decision. Yet your choice must be such that it increases the chances of your topic be selected. Hence once you have identified the broad area on which to work, it is a good idea to look at universities which specialize in your broad area of interest.

Choose a subject where nobody has yet conducted a systematic study, choose an area where you believe that research till date has been misleading. Think of topics which have seen much debate and discussion and see if you can add to one side or the other. Evaluate unquestioned assumptions in a particular area. You could even choose a research topic, which you feel has been overlooked or neglected.

Remember that doing a PhD thesis is no child’s play. It is a conscious decision that you take to dedicate considerable, time, money, energy and resources. Hence do make sure that the topic you choose will sustain your interest. A PhD thesis takes anything upwards of three years. This is a long time to invest and you want to be sure that the topic you choose will engage your interest for that long a period. Make sure it is rich enough to lead you into other avenues of related research which will make the entire exercise more enriching and fruitful.

Most university websites have their faculty profiles and biodatas. Browse through these profiles to get a good idea of which profile suits your interests the closest. Also take a look at previous theses on the subject that you are interested in. These theses should be available in your university library. It is a combination of these factors which can help you arrive at the topic you wish to conduct research on.