Choosing Your Dissertation Topic

Topic Development

Choosing your dissertation topic may seem as if it is going to be one of the easiest tasks that you encounter when starting the journey of writing your dissertation. However, finding something that aligns within a theory and is researchable, either quantitatively or qualitatively, may be a bit of a challenge. Identifying a problem within your field may be a no-brainer because it is something that you encounter on a daily basis. For example, perhaps you would like to explore college attrition because you work in education or turnover and burnout among nurses because you see these issues heavily impacting you, your coworkers, and your industry.

Do be sure that whatever dissertation topic you choose does align with your degree program. For example, if you work in education, but are getting an IT degree, find a way to incorporate both aspects, or ditch the one that is not as relevant to your program. This will make your life much easier.

Once you have an idea of what you would like to study, you need to figure out how you would like to approach it. The approach is important because it involves selecting a theory you can use to formulate a lens through which to approach your topic. There are literally thousands of theories out there and at least a few will be more than applicable; you just need to know how to refine your search. For example, say that you work in a hospital that is implementing ERPs. You find that this is something that has a lot of potential to make your job easier, but many are struggling with getting used to the new system. Using a theory such as Roger’s Diffusion of Innovation may give you just the insight that you need to logically and comprehensively approach your topic.

Once you have all of this narrowed down, you can move on to formulating your research questions!

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