How to Avoid Problems with a Topic of Master’s Thesis

Students usually do not know in advance what they are going to write about. However, you can avoid many problems while planning the master’s thesis. There are many things that are certainly specific to the subject. But some general characteristics of a successful subject for a master’s thesis are interdisciplinary and should be briefly presented here. Each time I have an idea, like “Write my paper for cheap”, I recollect knowledge about writing master’s or bachelor’s theses:

What’s Your Academic Work About?

 A chosen topic is more than the title of a master’s thesis. The topic also includes the hypotheses that are discussed within the framework of the master’s thesis. The point is to provide an answer to the question ‘What do I want to find?’ Research should include an insight and not just re-arranged well-known facts. The confusion of subject and topic often leads to the fact that the topic of an academic writing still has to be developed. But remember that the clock is running. Students lose valuable processing time for their master’s theses because they have not yet completed the proper search.

Master’s Thesis and Topic: Chicken-And-Egg Situation

The argumentation of the theme is often changed later because many ideas are stimulated during writing. In order for your topic to have enough time to be developed during the preparation of the master’s thesis, it should be formulated before the writing of your academic work. A previous seminar paper can sometimes provide the topic for the master’s thesis. But often students want or need to look for a new topic for their master’s theses.

Five Questions that Help to Find a Topic of the Master’s Thesis

The first step in the search for a topic should be connected with finding the credible scientific approach to the topic. This means, among other things, that the master’s thesis should be based on scientific discourse. This raises five questions which can give an orientation in the development of the topic:

  1. What are problems and the initial situation?
  2. What (partial) solution to this problem can my master’s thesis contribute?
  3. What scientific steps, methods, and theories are necessary to develop this topic?
  4. For whom could my topic and my master’s thesis be interesting and why?
  5. What does already exist in the research? (These would be problematic representations, solutions, methods, theories, data sets, research desiderata).

By the way, these questions also form the typical basics of a master’s thesis. Thanks to these questions, you can take a closer look at your ideas and possible topics before you complete the search. If you can write one or more sentences for each of the questions, you will probably develop a quite clear topic for your master’s thesis.

Literature: Let Your Topic be Developed

Relevant literature will help to narrow your topic. The availability of the relevant literature can mean that it won’t be difficult to deal with the topic within the framework of a master’s thesis. If you find very little information on your topic, then you should vary your keywords. If this change also occurs with the sparse yield, this can also be a warning sign. If there is a lack of literature, there may be few links to the further development of your topic.

A Possible Topic of the Master’s Thesis

Firstly, look for articles or monographs that are most specific to your topic. However, make sure they give you a general overview of the chosen topic in a larger context. Concentrate only on the essentials.  With this information, you will also be able to specify the (still prospective) topic of your work. If you find literature in your search that already deals with the chosen topic for the master’s thesis, do not give up. Look carefully at this text(s). Perhaps you are aware of what could be better.

Defining the Topic of the Master’s Thesis

If you have a certain preliminary topic for your master’s thesis, write a short text on the basis of your keywords on the above five questions. If you stick to the topic, you can already have a preliminary and incomplete draft version of your master’s thesis. However, your text needs to be briefly presented.  The title is intended to tell you which topic is presented in your master’s thesis. The knowledge-based process in your master’s thesis may lead to different results depending on what you expect.

A Topic for Your Master’s Thesis Should Correspond to Your Interests

An important factor in the search for a topic that should not be underestimated is your own interests.  A topic of master’s thesis that does not really interest students quickly becomes a torture. Interest in the topic will help you to work on your master’s thesis. So let yourself be guided by your interest in the search for a topic!

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