So, you are finally about to finish your degree in structural engineering, and it’s time to find a suitable topic for your dissertation. In this article, we will provide you with a 6 step process that you can follow to land a high-quality dissertation topic for your postgraduate dissertation. Follow the process, and you will be able to come up with a well-defined and well-suited research question per your needs!
Overview: How to Find A Perfect Dissertation Topic In Structural Engineering?
- Develop an understanding of the research process
- Go through previous dissertations from your institute
- Review the academic literature and try to find a literature gap
- Pick out the potential research problems/questions and shortlist them
- Evaluate your topic list
- Choose the topic you feel is perfect, and start working!
Step 1: Understanding the Research Process
In the first step, you will have to go through all the instructions or hand-outs given to you telling what your university expects to see in your dissertation. It’s necessary because:
- Before you start working on the topic ideation process, you need to have a primary level understanding of the research process, research methodologies, fieldwork ways and analysis techniques. If you lack a basic understanding of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed analysis methods before topic selection, you will suffer later in the writing process!
- Each university has specific research requirements for a dissertation; some parameters include word count, ethical adherence, methodology, data requirements, etc. So it’s necessary to know what the university demands of your research first and start working on choosing the appropriate topic.
In a nutshell, you need to know about the basic requirements of the dissertation you will write before starting to find the best dissertation topic.
Step 2: Analysing the Past Dissertations
Unless you are studying a newly introduced subject, plenty of students will have conducted the research in your study area and produced exceptional dissertations. You should take advantage of this opportunity – it will prove highly beneficial for you!
Sample some of the recent well-graded dissertations from your course and study them. You will learn about several important things such as how long a bibliography should be, how to write an impeccable literature review, how to conduct perfect data analysis and more. Keenly study the available papers and analyse the following questions:
- What sorts of topics were chosen to write dissertations, and how was the topic converted into a research question?
- How original and well-justified were the topics? Did they add anything new to the existing literature or just cover cliché information?
- What kind of data and research methods were used? What was the presentation style of such well-graded dissertations?
It will develop an understanding of the requirements of your university for your dissertation, and you will be able to figure out if your institute has rigid requirements in terms of dissertation structuring or if they are flexible enough!
Step 3: Reviewing the Already Existing Literature
After completing steps 1 and 2, you will start the ideation process. Review the already existing literature and brainstorm the topic generation process. If you lack reviewing skills, hiring a PhD dissertation service can be helpful.
Start the Ideation Process
From which point the review process will start? Quickly review your module assignments and figure out the modules that interested you the most! Picking a study area in which you genuinely feel interested will spearhead the process of finding an appropriate dissertation topic per your course requirements.
Identify the Literature Gap
After going through step a, you will obtain an understanding of the current or existing literature on the interest areas you choose. You will further hunt the unanswered questions in your domain of study and identity the existing literature gap.
Step 3 sets the ground for further work and makes the topic selection process so much easier!
Step 4: Picking Up the Potential Research Questions
Now that you have gathered ample understanding of the state of current literature in your areas of interest, it’s the right time to pen down a list of appropriate research topics. Three approaches can help you in this regard, which is mentioned below:
At the end of most quality articles, you will see a section labelled “Further Research” or similar to this tag. FRIN stands for ‘Further Research is Needed’; from here, you can clearly outline several possible research topics for your dissertation.
Add a Contextual Twist to Existing Topic
While reviewing the existing literature, did you encounter well-researched papers which can be countered back with well-established arguments? Although it will not reflect an original tone in your topic, your dissertation will be backed with already-established evidence!
This step entails skipping the previous two and trusting your own ideas for a topic generation. No matter how bizarre the idea may seem at first, jot it down! Then analyse if that topic can be turned into a research problem or research question. Chances are that you will come up with the best dissertation topic on your own!
You can use all three approaches to come up with an impeccable research topic for your dissertation. A rich list of ideas can be formulated by utilising these methods altogether!
Step 5: Evaluation of the Topic List
At this point, you will already have a rich list of healthy research topics with you. Now, all you have to do is to step away from the ideation process and objectively review your topic list.
- Sit with a clear head and analyse the topics beforehand.
- Cancel out the ideas which are remotely related to the research process.
- Narrow down the selection process and make a list of 5 notable research topics.
- Micro-analyse each selected topic and narrow down the list to further 3 topics.
- Show your shortlisted topics to your peers or any expert (if possible) and ask for their suggestions.
Take their advice and wait for another day. Think about the topics and the suggestions of your seniors about them. Take your time to make the final decision!
Step 6: Choose the Topic and Start Working!
Here comes the most substantial part: choose the right dissertation topic and stick to it!
You’ve done all your research, shortlisted the topics and done enough work to develop the selected topic now. You have planned things, trusted your judgements and analysed the feasibility of the research process. Trust your decision and start working on the dissertation topic you’ve chosen!
The bottom line is that if you follow these steps, you will be able to find the best dissertation topic in structural engineering per your needs. When you choose to hire a PhD dissertation help, it will save you from all the topic-selection worries, and you’ll be presented with a suitable topic by experts. When working on the dissertation on your own, make sure to follow the steps we have covered in our article, and you will be setting the ground for impeccable success!