The Best Thesis Writing Ideas
A thesis is, at its very core, the exploration of an idea. But which ideas make good dissertations? Writing trying to settle on an idea to write about, be sure to ask yourself:
Has this been done before?
The point of a graduate thesis is to somehow contribute to the knowledge of humanity. You’re setting out to find the answers to new questions, to learn something that nobody else has ever learned before. It stands to reason, then, that your thesis topic can’t be the same as anybody else’s. Take some time to examine the available literature. What do you find? Is yours an exploratory thesis breaking ground in some new, little-researched field? You’re all set. If your area of interest is more popular, there’s no need to despair. Applying a brand new methodology to a tried-and-true piece of knowledge is also an excellent thesis writing idea.
Is this idea testable?
This question is much more important for those of you in highly theoretical disciplines, or those of you doing pioneering research in brand new fields. Can you actually test your thesis idea? You need to produce real knowledge, real theories and real arguments for your thesis; simply writing down your ideas and feelings like a diary does not make for a good thesis. Before you begin, you absolutely need to have a solid idea of how you will test your idea. Choosing something very limited and theoretical is only going to lead to headaches later, when you can’t come up with a decent methodology or produce enough data for a thesis. Likewise, be way of biting off more than you can chew; the human genome wasn’t mapped by a lone grad student, and the mars rover wasn’t landed as a dissertation defense. Choose a topic you can reasonably cover and do a thorough job of.
How is this relevant?
The question of ‘usefulness’ is a bit of a sore spot in academic – the public at large doesn’t benefit much from new advances in astrophysics, but those members of the star-studying community benefit a great deal. When settling on an idea for your thesis writing, it’s important to understand how your idea fits in to the ‘big picture’ of your discipline. Will your results have any implications for the major theories of your field? Do they dispute the findings of any other existing research? Ideally, you’ll want to choose a topic that could inspire future research from other grad students and academics, long after you’ve been handed your diploma.
Am I interested in it?
This is probably the most obvious question to ask, but it’s a question that is often overlooked. Writing your thesis is a very long and involved process. You will be devoting much of your waking life to researching, analyzing and writing about your thesis idea. Choosing a topic that doesn’t particularly interest you is just a recipe for misery. Your passion about your topic is what will ultimately make or break your dissertation.