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Simple steps to selecting great history dissertation topics

As if you didn't already know, writing your history dissertation will be your calling card. You will be known by your first major piece of work; all the more reason to make it a wonderful example of your research and writing expertise. But as with so many writing tasks in the world of academia, choosing the right topic is paramount. If you choose a great history dissertation topic you are well on the way to writing a great history dissertation. So here are some simple steps to help you in the selection process.

  • Are you repeating what has gone before?
  • Is your dissertation topic something which will excite other historians?
  • Are you teaching something new and interesting?

There is not a lot of interest in a dissertation which is a copy of something which has already been published. Of course I don't mean an exact copy but if your history dissertation is going over ground which is already been covered, and particularly well covered, then you have not selected a great history dissertation topic. Look for something which is new. Or, just as importantly, look for a new take or a new angle on a history topic. You have to be different.

Remember that you are writing a dissertation and this is not something which the general public normally would be falling over themselves to read. The most likely audience will be academics. Bear this in mind as you write your dissertation. Choose a history topic which is likely to excite other historians. You are giving your take on one particular aspect of history. There will be historians out there who, when they hear your topic, will immediately prick up their ears. Make sure that once they get to read your dissertation, it fulfils the promise of your topic.

Remember that the dissertation can be used as a teaching tool. Think of yourself as a teacher or professor. Your history dissertation can be used to educate other students. Bearing that in mind, choose a topic which is ideal for use in class.

One final step in your choice of topic is to choose one which is not simple. Choose a topic which can’t be dismissed with a short explanation. Your topic needs to have depth; there should be plenty of meat on the bones of your argument. If so, your chances are excellent in choosing that great history dissertation topic.