Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Advice for Choosing a Dissertation/ Thesis Topic

I have gotten a series of requests lately for advice on choosing a dissertation topic. So while I am writing to specific people, I thought I would share these ideas broadly too.

4F Rules for Choosing a Dissertation/Thesis Topic

  1. Fun - You are going to spend a considerable amount of time doing this topic, you better at least be somewhat interested in it.  
  2. Fund-able - There are very few projects that can be done for free. Make sure you have the resources to be able to complete the project.  
  3. Feasible - The clock is ticking, make sure it is a project you get can done in the time available. 
  4. Future - Will completing this project help your job prospects after completing it? 
I have been approached to add more F's over the years (though for me all F's should be four letters). Two others which have been suggested are:
  • Foundation: Do I have the skills and abilities to get this done?   
  • Faction: Does my adviser have the skills and abilities help me through this? Can they help me put together the right committee to make this project all it should be?


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