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Dissertation Survival Guide: Choosing a topic

Guidance on how to complete your Dissertation/Final Year Project and make the most of Library and IT Services and Resources

Decide your research question

First of all, you need to decide what you want to find out. This is your research topic, and should be something that you can answer through your dissertation.

When you draft this, talk to your tutors and ask them what they think - they'll know what could be realistic and achievable. You might also find it useful to do some exploratory reading and find out what has already been written on your area of interest.

Some subject areas may have provided a list of potential topics for you to explore. If this exists for your course, it will be in your module area on Brightspace.

Once you have a topic, you can develop potential research questions. This establishes what you want to find out and should be something that you can answer through your dissertation. Use post-it notes to think of different ways to describe your most important words (also known as key concepts or keywords), or try mind-mapping.

Choosing a topic

Here are some useful resources to help you select a topic for your dissertation.

What not to include

When deciding on a topic, choosing what not to include is just as important! Consider how you will limit your research.

Mind-mapping your topic

Once you have a research question in mind, try mind-mapping to identify related questions and gaps in your knowledge.

You may want to mind-map with post-it notes, pen and paper, or could use mind-mapping software to do this.

The University of Huddersfield has access to MindView. This is installed on all University computers, and can be used from home via UniDesktop. See the video below for instructions on using MindView.