If you are reading this then you probably have got to produce a dissertation and you are virtually at the beginning of your journey. You need to choose a topic and then you need to find an angle about your topic that will produce some new insight into it. When you have your angle, you will then be able to consider what your main dissertation question should be. In all of these three steps, you need to constantly be asking dissertation questions. In this article, you will learn:
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The first three main questions when choosing a dissertation topic are:
If you refer to these three questions while you are choosing your topic, you will find it invaluable. The next step is the questions that you should ask yourself to give you clarity when choosing a topic. These questions will help you to find a research project that truly interests you. You need to make notes on your answers to these questions. You should end up with a list.
At this point, you will have a list. As you read through your list, start at the top and put a tick or a cross beside each idea on the list depending on whether it will get you out of bed in the morning or not. You may be left a two or three ideas that fit the criteria. However, the chances are that at this point, one topic will really stand out to you as the one that you wish to write your dissertation on.
Let’s imagine that you decide that the topic you have decided upon is lunatic asylums in the 19th century. Remember the earlier questions? At this point you have to double check that your topic fits the criteria for them. You know you find the subject fascinating but now you need to ask if the subject is broad enough for you to find background theory to connect to it. In this case it is, however unless you find an angle, it is going to be too large to fit within the word, financial and time constraints.
In essence, the reason that you are interested in lunatic asylums in the first place is because of your family history and therefore that might be a very good angle to work from. To find your main dissertation question that all your research is going to be based upon, you need to ask yet more questions. Yes, writing a dissertation is all about asking questions. For this particular sample, some questions that could be asked are:
Asking dissertation questions of this type will give you a clearer picture of where your research might take you. It is essential if you were doing a dissertation on a situation similar to this to ensure that you can answer your questions by having access to the asylum records on your ancestor.
Once you have answered all the questions like the sample set above, you will be amazed at the clarity that you have towards your main dissertation question. You may not immediately see what you want to research because your mind may be buzzing around like a mosquito near a dried cut. However, you will be close to finding that main question.
If we continue with the above sample, you may discover that your ancestor hadn’t done anything violent or bad but had been incarcerated simply for behaving a little out of what was considered normal during that period. If, after reading all the notes written by the doctors, you start to form the impression that your ancestor became more withdrawn and lost his will to live the longer he was incarcerated then you probably will be able to form your main research question. For instance, it could be that “during the 19th century, patients that were incarcerated as lunatics but were essentially eccentric became mentally ill while in the asylum.”
Your next step after that would be to source some more case studies to compare with the case study of your ancestor. Hopefully, you can now see through the use of this example on how to ask questions to lead you to your main research question. However, if you are still unsure of how to go about choosing your topic and finding your dissertation questions then you do not need to worry.
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