When embarking on your masters dissertation one of the most daunting tasks can be choosing your topic. Writing the dissertation itself can seem like a breeze compared with the tricky process of deciding what you want to focus on. We have put together a list of methods to help you work out how to narrow your options down, to find the topic that will lead to the best possible dissertation example.

Know your dissertation strengths

One of the best ways to narrow down your dissertation topic choice is to think about the areas you are academically strongest in. Dissertation writing is similar to weekly essay writing, so think of areas you have found easiest to produce essays in and target something similar for your dissertation.

Plan your dissertation structure

Of course you won’t be ready to plan out your entire dissertation structure yet, but it helps to think of the different areas you would cover for each possible topic you are considering. Try using a brainstorm to map out the different areas and issues each potential dissertation topic would allow you to cover.

Remember, a masters dissertation will run to many thousands of words and you need enough material to fill it out. On the other hand avoid topics that are too open ended and provide you with hundreds of sub-issues; you want to be able to go into depth on your chosen issues, not simply scratch the surface of a broad range of ideas.

Use dissertation examples

Of course you want to avoid writing the same masters dissertation as another student, but looking at some dissertation examples from previous years can be a great way to inspire yourself. Many universities keep samples of first class dissertations available to view in the library – look at the sort of topics successful students have used in the past and try to think laterally. This should give you a good idea of how wide your dissertation topic should be too.

Ask your dissertation supervisors

Don’t be afraid to ask the person who will be supervising your dissertation writing for advice and tips – they are likely to be well placed to advise you. Teachers or tutors who have supervised your work in the past might also be able to point you in the direction of your personal academic strengths.

If you are likely to be assigned a specialist supervisor after choosing your dissertation topic, ask yourself if there is a professor you especially admire or work well with. Your supervisor is such an important part of the process of writing your dissertation that it is worth choosing a topic that will lead you to a successful teaching partnership.