Dissertation Topic Selection: A Critical Choice Toward Doctoral Success or Failure

I was advising a student today in an introductory doctoral course about the importance of dissertation topic selection and thought I would share my thoughts here…

The reason why I say that topic selection is critical towards doctoral success or failure is that one’s dissertation topic involves numerous factors, including:

  • The phenomenon studied (e.g., business, IT, education, psych, etc.)
  • The method (qualitative or quantitative – avoid mixed!)
  • The population
  • The geography
  • …and more!

Parenthetically, per APA, the topic title should be within 10-12 words. Quite a feat to get all the above in within such a limit space – but it can be done! For more detail on the elements of the topic, check out my lesson topic selection and development

Beyond the topic elements, the key point for this blog post is the importance of choosing a dissertation topic that will ultimately and successfully facilite graduation within one’s expectations for time and cost. The key for success? DATA COLLECTION!!! Really? YES!!! Why? Great question!

Several topics involve difficult to obtain data, for several reasons. Here’s a few:

  • Too narrow of a topic, population, or geography – resulting in too few participants to satisfy the criteria for sampling
  • Too sensitive of a topic – restricting participate participation and/or responses. An example is unethical business practices – who wants to admit to being unethical? Another example is a protected population, such as minors, pregnant women, and prisoners.
  • Potential human harm – resulting in IRB delays or non-approval
  • Highly expensive data collection – count the cost!

Is it impossible to complete a dissertation given the above caution areas? Certainly not, but it does potentially make it much more difficult with lengthy time delays and cost. I’ve coached many students who breezed through proposal development and IRB only to hit a road block once data collection started – in some cases requiring extensive research design changes and re-approval through committee, school, and IRB to restart data collection. This should, and can be avoid early in the process by carefully choosing the dissertation topic and understanding the associated population and data collection criteria.

Is this something that you would like assistance with. Let’s talk! Contact Dr. Lonny today and let’s put a plan together for your doctoral success.

Dr. Lonny has extensive experience in helping doctoral-level students through all phases of their dissertation, including writing, methodology, and all phases of the dissertation process and deliverable. Contact Dr. Lonny today to setup a free initial consultation and to discuss your dissertation topic, status, challenges, along with services offered and pricing options.

Best success,

Dr. Lonny

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