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(3) Write about your topic to help crystallize and organize your understanding.
However, what constitutes originality or significance is open to interpretation and usually differs among various faculty advisors. He claims that a topic must have the potential to do at least one of the following: Uncover new facts or principles, suggest relationships that were previously unrecognized, challenge existing truths or assumptions, affort new insights into little-understood phenomena, or suggest new interpretations of know facts that can alter people's perceptions of the world around them.
(p.38) No hard-and-fast rules exist for selecting a topic. Following are some general criteria for considering potential topics: Most students begin with a topic that is too large. Your goal is to add a small but significant piece to the knowledge base and graduate!
Scrapping a topic and starting over at least once is the norm.
Where to Look for Potential Topics Dissertation topics rarely emerge out of the blue; you must proactively search them out. Ask them to help you run a database search on some topic of interest.
You might choose to alter parts of the research design of a previous study.
It would also be appropriate to add or subtract variables, restate the research questions, or alter the research instrument(s).
To know whether or not it has been researched, or if it is important to the field, you must first immerse yourself in the literature base.
This backward approach is also inappropriate and certain to irritate a potential advisor.
Ogden (1993) reminded us that “the basic purpose of a dissertation is to demonstrate that you can do acceptable research in your field. Save the Nobel Prize-level research to do as a postgraduate. The signatures of these individuals determine whether or not you become “doctor.” Text Box: Helpful Hint Start a dissertation topic file.
As you get ideas about possible topics, place them in a separate file folder that you can review from time to time.