Choosing a thesis topic: advice from twitter
This is probably a question that quite a few trainees are considering right now. Thesis topic choice can be a big decision and recently #twittereps have been on hand with some words of wisdom.
Follow your passions
Being excited and passionate about your chosen topic area was a key piece of advice. It’s a big project and that passion can help keep up the motivation.
I changed mine at the top of a mountain. Suddenly thought, “I need to be excited by this thing”— Dr Jo Taylor (@jgetaylor) August 19, 2020
Good luck Mollie!
Definitely choose something you’re passionate about, it’ll help keep you motivated when it feels like a long slog 🙂— Dr. Emily Rose (@Emily1989Rose) August 19, 2020
I agree with the ‘follow your passion’ advice. The research process is long and even if you are writing something you are passionate about you’ll be digging deep by the end. Best of luck. 👩🏽💻— Lata Ramoutar (@LataRamoutar) August 19, 2020
Talk to others
Conversations with other practitioners, researchers or indeed professional bodies might help guide your thinking – particularly when thinking about impact.
Why not speak to someone at @DECPOfficial or at your institution and look at what the current priorities for the profession are? That way you can undertake research which is timely and will have impact— Cathy Atkinson (@DrCathyAtkinson) August 19, 2020
Talk to some interesting people about what they’re interested in to look for some overlaps. Even better if they’ve got something they’d like your help with. It’s great to be part of a team.— Itsbetteronabike (@Timinwinchester) August 19, 2020
Keep it focused
New ideas every day? Keeping it focused is key. Remember this might be the first research project of many!
I had all these ideas and kept trying to cram them all in, with the mentality that if I don’t do it in this thesis then I’ll never get the chance to do it, which doesn’t have to he true…— Graeme Slater (@SlaterGraemeR) August 19, 2020
Finding participants can take much longer than anticipated and your sampling process/procedure is an important consideration.
I agree and also the difficulty getting a sample can compromise the research design so the student ends up with a thesis that is quite different from the one that they planned. This isn’t always disappointing but often is— Dr Julia Howe 🧶 (@DrJuliaHowe) August 19, 2020
Think about what you’ve already covered or explored
If you’re struggling with ideas, reflecting on topics you’ve already covered might be helpful. What really interested or inspired you? What particular uni sessions or placement experiences stand out?
Agree with suggestions to follow your interests but it can be hard if nothing stands out. I found it useful to reflect on the content covered in Y1 & my experiences pre doctorate as a starting point. Mapping this out visually helped to ‘get it out of my head’.— Rebecca Pearson (@RPearsonEP) August 20, 2020
This approach has the potential to deepen your knowledge and influence your practice. Depending on the topic it could be disseminated and have wider impact.— Vicky Riley (@mobius_miss) August 19, 2020
Think about the future
Your thesis can be an opportunity to lead in a particular field or area and so it can be a real career defining choice.
My supervisor asked me what I wanted to be known for. What do you want to be *the* expert on?— Dr Sylvie Lomer (@SE_Lomer) August 19, 2020
So they’re some of the tips that #Twittereps and academics gave. You might have your own words of wisdom that a TEP (or anyone deciding on a dissertation topic) might benefit from! If so, comment below!
With thanks to Mollie for inspiring this conversation on twitter and to all the contributors who offered their advice, hints and tips.