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How to choose dissertation topic for research?

It’s crucially important to note that choosing your dissertation / research topic (for non-PhD students) is the first step towards ensuring a smooth and successful overall research activity.

The first and foremost consideration should be that your topic must be interesting and of your personal liking. Choosing a topic of your liking is surely going to keep you motivated throughout the tenure of your dissertation and it will come naturally when you are passionate about your topic / subject. According to a research conducted by the New York University, a PhD student spends on an average 13,778 hours (574 days) with his / her research topic! Now that is a duration of more than 1.5 years with one topic. You should have a personal inclination and zeal to known more about the subject you are choosing for research.

Secondly, you must assess the tools available with you while undertaking the research activity. Ensure that the topic you select is nor too narrow and neither too wide as many times it so happens that because of the scope of your topic, it becomes difficult to analyze the topic further as the same does not adjust with the scope of your research topic.  For example, if you are going for an empirical research or a doctrinal research needs to be assessed by keeping in mind your topic. In case you go for doctrinal research, then you must ensure that there is not enough data available in the field for the same whereas in case of non-doctrinal research, you must assess that a sufficient amount of secondary data is available with you on which you will be conducting your research activity.

Initially, you should choose a broad field of research and ideally look for relevant literature and academic material on the topics of your liking with your broad research field (in other words, doctrinal research). You will be able to find a topic that suits your type and the next step would be to determine it’s relevancy with the activity on hand and finally getting your topic approved from your supervisor.

Moreover, taking inputs from your supervisor is a great idea! The more inputs you take from your tutor / supervisor, the more clarity you get for your research which in turn leads to you and your tutor being on the same page. Such exercise promotes transparency and harnesses good communication skills. Furthermore you must seek honest opinions about your research topic and assess whether the same is workable or not. You can contact WOLR who provide free consultation services for deducing your dissertation / research topic.

You should endeavor to undertake a great amount of literature review before you zero in on your final topic. It is a good idea to skim through good quality journals in your research field and look for heavily-cited articles which can give you good ideas about selection of a research topic. After going through the literature review activity, you can narrow down on your topic. An example can be as follows:

Indian legal system in colonial times 👉 Tectonic shifts in the Indian legal system from 1858 to 1947 👉 Analysis of Post Independence changes in the Indian legal system.

WOLR’s advice is to choose a niche topic wherein not many people have researched yet. For PhD related and research related assistance, please feel contact us @ [email protected].

WOLR provides all kinds of supplementary help like drafting assistance, vetting and proofreading assistance, editing services to the legal fraternity. For more information, please go through our customized help pages

-Yash Shah