Doctoral Writing: Personal Curiosity or Topic Worthy of Doctoral Research?

Dear Colleagues

Often, emerging doctoral candidates struggle with topic selection for their dissertation.  The challenge is to decide if an interest is simple personal curiosity or a topic worthy of doctoral research.  How does one know?

Remember, every dissertation starts with a problem—a gap between what we already know and what we need or want to know. Doctoral research does not exist in a vacuum; instead the academic cycle of life, as it were, builds on the research that came before.  Each doctoral scholar to be has the opportunity to move the greater body of knowledge forward with their contribution. Remember, no need to solve world hunger; simply make a sandwich–to add your unique piece to the expanding puzzle.

When deciding on topic selection, ask yourself: What is the problem? Is this problem based only on my personal experience and perspective or do others share my passion?

Think strategically.  After completion of the doctoral study, one will become an expert in this field.  Select a topic based on career outcomes.  Perhaps one might consider being a consultant in this area? Perhaps one might consider further research to extend knowledge in this area beyond one’s doctoral research? So long as a topic meets the standards as set by the university, the possibilities become endless.  Select a topic based on personal interests and career progression regarding a problem faced by many for which your study findings can advance knowledge in this area beyond your personal passions and interest.

Forward we go!  I would love to hear how you selected a topic and best practices you recommend.  Please share your comments with us for us to benefit from your experiences and wisdom.

Dr. Cheryl Lentz
The Academic Entrepreneur


May 18th, 2018 by admin

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