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Thesis Topic


A student chooses a thesis topic from among the subject matter that constitutes the degree program. The goal of a thesis is to convincingly argue an original point and to make a meaningful contribution to that particular field of study; therefore, the student should avoid choosing to write on the exact topic upon which someone else has written, choosing instead to nuance the thesis topic to propound some original element.

This need to create something original is the hardest part of writing a thesis. Students should exercise patience in the formation of thesis topics, and they should consult their major professors whenever guidance becomes necessary. Students should be bold in the idea stage, rejecting nothing until it proves to be unworkable, untenable, or unoriginal.

The student who struggles with choosing a thesis topic should first identify his or her primary area of interest from among the degree program's course of study. If the student has already written a paper on that subject, he or she may consider developing it into a thesis. Otherwise, the student may find it helpful create a topic tree, which is a creative exercise in which each term fits inside the preceding term as a subcategory. The fourth or fifth term should be sufficiently narrow that the student may begin to brainstorm productively about it.

In brainstorming, one attempts to generate a number of possible lines of original thinking about the subject of research. One then performs some preliminary research and chooses the line of thinking that will produce the most meaningful contribution to the field. If none of the ideas will contribute to the field, one returns to brainstorming.

Choosing a thesis topic is a difficult task, but it is the most important part of writing a thesis. Students who exercise great care and creativity in the development of their thesis topics will benefit from that effort.


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