4 Things You Should Do To Decide Your Master’s Thesis Topic
Let me clear the confusion which may arise regarding the use of the word ‘thesis’ in the title. In many countries, this word is used interchangeably with the word ‘dissertation’ which a student has to be submitted as a part of his Master’s course. In a few countries, however, ‘thesis’ refers to Ph.D. assignments. In this article, I will use the term ‘thesis’ with respect to a Master’s course.
With the aforementioned clarification, let us talk about how important it is to write and submit a good quality thesis. Of course, a Master’s thesis is a short-term submission unlike Ph.D.’s, but it still requires a lot of investment of energy and sometimes, money. All of this can take a toll on you if you are not sure what you are doing, and hence, the topic of your thesis is as important as the final submission.
In this article, I will guide you in the selection of an apt topic for your thesis. Much of the points given below come from personal experience, as I have only recently finished off my thesis, and have a great deal of wisdom to share.
So, here are 4 things you should do to settle on a topic:
- First, Relax!
When I was in University, I saw my batchmates go all frenzy about the topic. They would randomly pick a topic which they felt was the easiest. Many chose topics which were very commonly dealt with but had many case laws with respect to them which eventually made their life quite strenuous.
The first thing you need to do when you get a notification to submit your Master’s thesis topic is to take a deep breath and relax. Do not panic. It might seem like a Herculean task, having to write so many pages and research so much but things will become a lot easier if you do not panic.
Do not get excited by the reaction of your batchmates!
- Figure Out Your Area of Interest
Let me give you an example: in law, there are many broad areas to choose from such as Constitutional law, Criminal Law, Environmental Law and what not and we must shortlist the ones with which we are most comfortable. Whatever major you have, you must address all of its areas in which you can possibly study and then circle the ones which interest you the most.
In case you do not have any particular interests, then I recommend you to take up something from your lectures. You must have come across some lectures which might have interested you or were easier to comprehend. This way, you will have a fair idea from where to start.
- Talk to Teachers
Before you finalize a topic and send in your choice of most preferred guide, you should consult teachers teaching in the areas you are interested in. Meet them and discuss with them what the area of study has to offer and whether there are areas which can make up for a good thesis. This discussion should give you a basic understanding of various topics in every area of study you have shortlisted.
Once you have had a talk with all the teachers concerned, you should be in a better position to determine which area to choose from. Just in case, you are not satisfied with the discussions or want to explore more ideas, then you should research more.
You should be thankful to the Internet and to the e-resources which your institution most likely provides you with. When I was in University, I was given unrestricted access to many academic repositories such as Jstor and Westlaw, and these repositories store highly informative articles of great scholarship.
With whatever area of interest in your mind, read a bit on them online especially from established repositories. Research as much as you can in a short time. Make sure you look up what the contentious issues concerning your area of study are and whether there is substance for you to begin your research with.
Make points. You can go and discuss these points with teachers again for a better perspective. Whatever topic you choose, make sure you have enough literature to start with or enough understanding (in case there is a dearth of literature) of the topic.
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