Audio: How To Select A Right Thesis Topic For You

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look for your passion

look for your passion

Due to many requests I’ve recently gotten, I decided to publish a transcript for my audio lesson on how to select a topic for a master thesis.

In reality, the same principles apply to almost anything we do in our lives. Be it selecting a topic or choosing a business area we need to make our decisions based on our interests and passions.

In the lesson I talk about what one needs to stress upon when selecting a topic to keep him/her passionate about during the entire process of thesis writing.

Hello everybody! This is Vladimir Chen from MasterYourThesis.com

Today I am going to talk about a very important technical aspect of writing a master thesis. It is how to select a thesis topic.

You see, I’ve interviewed a number of advisers as well as many master students and what I’ve found out is a lot of students do not realize how important it is to spend quality time on selecting a thesis topic in the very beginning rather than choosing something they will most likely get bored with later on in the process and eventually think “Oh, I should have chosen or worked with something else”.

So, I will be covering technical things like what you should know in order to select a topic that will keep you passionate during the entire process of thesis writing. We will go into the nitty-gritty of how to select a thesis topic and I will also talk about what mindset you need to have in order to select a topic of your interest.

“Make of Brake”
Ok, this is something you should know. The right thesis topic is the “make or break” of a successful thesis. Your successful completion is directly proportionate to your ability to select a thesis topic that will keep you interested during the entire writing process.

In other words, the more thought (notice not the time but thought) you give to selecting a topic or the more properly you research areas of your interest the more likely you wind up being fully engaged in your thesis with passion and enthusiasm. And I am sure if you have the right topic, tools, resources, the mindset, and the system you will finish your thesis much earlier than you’d do otherwise. But the first thing is your topic.

Think ahead
You see many students can’t and don’t think ahead, in other words they don’t think in the longer term. Many of them are simply too short-sided. That’s why I often see so many students either give up on their thesis or extend deadline just because their topic is not interesting anymore. Or at best they complete their thesis, but with utterly poor results because they just wanted to finish it as soon as possible. And I am not saying that you should not have an objective to finish your thesis as soon as possible, no what I am saying is that you need to finish your thesis according to the deadline you set for yourself. And think about it if you like your topic, and if you know that this may be something you will do in the future, would not it be more captivating to be fully involved in the process, wouldn’t it be more motivating to wake up in the morning and say “today I am going to learn new things and produce great results because this will be if use in a short while”? It would feel good in case you forgot.

”War of Art”
The bottom line is you need to ask yourself a question “What am I interested in that will keep me motivated?” But, be aware that at some point your motivational level will most likely drop. Just treat it as a normal writing process. It is critical that you spend time writing, no matter how much you’ve produced; you should just do it consistently with must-hit deadlines. Like in the book “The War of Art” by Steven Springfield. “It does not matter how much I’ve produced but what matters is that today used all my effort to sit and write”. Do you see the powerful truth in this statement? Just in case you are not sure. It gives a sense of how disciplined he is.

Body for life
On the other hand, there is another challenge that you should keep in mind is that you should not get steered away by trying to be a perfectionist. You see as Bill Phillips, a great mind and the author of the “Body for Life” book says “perfection does not exist … progress is the ultimate process” In other words, you should be focusing on the process not perfection. If you want to make your topic the most perfect one, then you are wasting your time and energy. Cut it! Stop it!

Areas of your interests
- Spend quality time researching the areas of your interest and every time you consider a certain subject for your topic ask yourself the question:

1. Is this something that I see myself doing in the future?
2. Is it something I am willing to work with in the future?
3. Can it be it somehow connected to my future earning?
4. Or can I do this and make a living out of it?

I agree that determining something you one is passionate about is NOT an easy task. But you have got to make a decision my friend. It is ether you enjoy the process and write about something you may be doing in the future, learn a whole great deal by asking yourself what is it that ticks me. “What is it that I can’t stop talking about?“ or you waste your time. So, the choice is yours.

So, find an area that interests you not only now but in the long run because, think about it, you will utilize most of your resources (such as time, energy, money) to produce knowledge within this particular field. And remember you can re-generate energy, money but you will never be able to reproduce time, so you can’t waste it. Therefore, if you do what I am telling you, you’ve got a better chance to save yourself time and use your resources more effectively by doing proper research, planning, staying organized and continuous action taking or in other words active involvement in the writing process.

Notice that it’s not just about the right thesis topic; it’s about the right thesis topic FOR YOU. In other words, it is about finding a topic that will allow you to maximize your own potential.

If you think and do it on the continuous basis, I guarantee you will stay motivated and passionate all the time, of course, except for the times when your motivation decreases due to other interrupted blocks such as (emotional disruptions). For instance, when you are upset about something or angry be it family relations or something went wrong at work or at school it will be very hard for you to concentrate. You need to get out of that state. You should get rid of these negative patterns that prevent you from focusing on what you need to be focusing on.

A big mistake you should not make is considering a topic that your adviser is interested in more than you. This may become difficult in the long run because it might cost your motivation and focus. While it is good to ask around about other people’s opinions, the first person you should be consulting is YOU.

Now here are some techniques you should use to select a right thesis topic for you.

The first one is called self-examination and it applies not only to your topic but to many aspects of your life in general.

Look inside of you, based on your own interests, start making a list of possible topics.

Do a research and write down all potential topics in order of most interest to you:

• Topic 1
• Topic 2
• Topic 3

And don’t tell me that you can’t do it. Come on, you’ve studied this for years, if not you who would then? If you can’t come up with anything that’s your Resistance that does not allow you to. Keep this in mind and don’t let your Resistance take you down.

So, a very good starting point for this is to review the courses you took during your studies in the past, and the subjects that caught your interest. Or perhaps even the papers you have written throughout. Look out for keywords or phrases that draw your attention when you go through your materials. Write them down and keep doing so until you are done with the whole syllabus and written projects.

By doing these things it will often show you a trend of your interests and preferences and give you a lead to the right thesis topic for you. Remember to keep track of everything you are doing and everything that comes to your attention, otherwise it may easily become a mess if you lose track of things you do.

Another technique is called “Narrowing Down”
A good way of formulating a thesis topic is through questions.

Ask How, What, Why, questions.

Then, list down a number of questions that will lead to an interesting thesis topic.
For example:
1. How can “A” as opposed to “B” better explain relationship between D and C?
2. Can “A” provide more useful implications …
3. Why

Make sure that the question is not too broad because it would make it hard for you to focus.
For example:
1. What is A, B, C?
2. Why is D?

Start with issues that concern you. If you think your topic is too broad, you need to do more of literature review. This way you will get more ideas to narrow down your topic.

In other words, don’t make your questions too generic? If they sound so be suspicious because it may be that you have don’t done enough preliminary research. Ideally, you should figure it out after you’ve done some research, which is very important part of the process. So take it as seriously as possible.

On the other hand, make sure your questions are not too narrow either. A successful thesis should express ideas of general importance through detailed analysis. If the topic is too narrow, read about the topic to find the general concern.

Finally, after you know the best topic that engages your interest it is also important to check its viability.

Even if your topic is something you are passionate about but if the study is not feasible, it will bring you to a dead end, which will be a very frustrating experience for you and it will not yield productive results.

Checking into library archives about previous studies and theses written about the topic will help you project the viability of the project.

Go to your library and find similar studies. Begin with resources at your reach. With Internet you can access any major library. Use online resources such as JSTOR, Blackwellreference, Britanica, Sage Publications, Science Direct and so on. Personally, during my research I’ve used 70% of data found through online resources. So, it is definitely a way to go. Use them to your benefit. If you don’t know how to access them, ask your librarian. They should help you with that.

Ok, so a little sum-up here. Again my friend, thesis writing is a long process and it requires your patience and persistence. It is very important that you find not only something you can stretch into an interesting study, but also work with something that will sustain your own interest through it all.

If you select something you are not interested in or passionate about this may turn into a short essay style and definitely not for the duration of thesis writing. And I will tell what may happen. Eventually, writing your thesis would end up being more of a chore, if not a torture, if you are not truly into your thesis topic. You may start early on in the process with a great sense of enthusiasm and then later on you will think that this is not something you want to continue doing.

Most likely you will be changing your topic. Now, understand me right, I am not saying that it is wrong to change and/modify things , no , what I am saying is that you should consciously think about what it is that interests you and how this may turn in your future occupation rather than select something for the sake of finishing another school assignment. I am sure in the later case scenario you will become tired very soon and you will be telling yourself: I just wanted to finish it, pass it and that’s it. That’s all I could do. You see, you lower your standard levels instead of raising them. What you do with your master also reflects the way you think in general, your ability of motivating yourself and keep up the discipline. If you want to achieve a successful completion of your thesis you have to change the way you think. You have to reestablish the patterns of action, the way you operate. You have to reprogram on the inside before you can take advantage to the fullest extent of the external results such as successful completion of your master thesis.

Ok, enough here. Take action and put in it as much as you can. This was Vladimir Chen from MasterYourThesis.com. We talked about how to select a topic. I hope you enjoyed this lesson. Signing off.

You can also play to the audio by clicking the yellow Play button below. You can pause at any time if you need to reflect on any point made in the lesson.

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One Response to “Audio: How To Select A Right Thesis Topic For You”

  1. SCURSIORAKABSNo Gravatar says:

    December 10th, 2008 at 10:49 am

    I’ve just registered to say your site is very useful and nicely done!
    Thank you very much for your work.


    Sorry for offtopic.

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