Stuck On Your Thesis Topic? Do These 5 Tips!

In the world of academia, we will eventually embark upon a long journey of working on a thesis, especially for students in the sixth semester. You will work your a thesis 24/7. You work on your own self and your timeline. It would be a monotonous and repetitive process. That is why it has been attached with negative stereotypes in college life; a boring and tedious task, and even a burning hell. Therefore, make sure that such a long journey would be fun and enjoyable for you, by choosing the right thesis topics with careful consideration. Here are five tips that you can do to start on the right foot:


1. Choose the topic based on your interest

How can I decide on an object for my research? I have a lot of choices and interests.

Being overwhelmed with a lot of potential ideas is pretty common, since one of the perks of being an English student is that we can find a lot of phenomena through various kinds of media. It means that you do not limit yourself to one topic, which is a good start! However, in the end, you will have to select only one. Sure, you can always undo or reset your ideas over and over, but it would waste so much time. That is why a research topic is the most crucial and fundamental thing before actually diving deep into your thesis. For this reason, make sure that you pick a topic that makes you interested. This will keep you committed, motivated, and stay on track.

Jot down all ideas that seem to attract you. You can also visualize your ideas by imagining that you are working on those thesis topics right now. After that, ask yourself some of these questions: Do you like it? What are things that seem to hurdle you during the process? Have you experienced positive and negative outcomes for doing such research in other research assignments? Do you rather want to analyze other topics? This visualization helps you to be more careful and critical to filter out uninteresting and insignificant ideas.


2. Observe the phenomenon

By observing the phenomenon, you make your own “why” to keep on going for the thesis. Even though a thesis topic might sound cool for its object, a thesis without a clear phenomenon would be insignificant and irrelevant with the field of your research. All objects can be analyzed, but eventually the phenomenon will depend on the micro-field that you’re currently focusing on (linguistics, literature, or cultural studies). Phenomenon will define or limit the basis of your research objectives and research questions in the future.

For example, let’s say that you are majoring cultural studies, and you have interest in video games. There are surely a lot of phenomena that make you intrigued; the multicultural communities, the gender issues in gamer communities, or cultural factors in purchasing in-game items. Suddenly, some questions appear in your mind, and this is the light-bubble moment; Why do gamers from each kind of video game have a different consumption pattern? How does gender oppression happen in a certain gamer community? For linguistics students, the light bulb moment would surely be aroused on phenomena of language, for example: How do gamers in different e-sport events convey different kinds of register, language function, and other linguistic features?

Video games are just one example of many other issues that can generate more than one important phenomena. That is why critical thinking is the key principle to observe a significant phenomena. It helps us to look at one single trivial object through different new perspectives. Once again, make sure that you pick phenomena from the objects that you are interested in.

3. Find the research gap

Research gap refers to the unexplored areas of studies that indicate insufficient information. It is a space that should be filled and enriched with other studies with different approaches, methodology, theories, population, or implementation. A good thesis topic is the one that needs future development. Make sure that your thesis idea has never been conducted by any other researchers, whether in undergraduate thesis or scientific articles. Your topic will possibly be rejected if it is a copy from another thesis, especially from the ones that are already conducted in the same university or educational institute, because your thesis is a contribution to fill the gap in various resources of academic research.

How do I know that my thesis idea is significant?

Conduct a literature study by exploring the repository from your university and resources from other educational institutes. If there is a similarity of object, you will be strongly advised to propose a brand new topic with different approaches or theoretical framework, and vice versa, as long as you can state the significance. The important thing is that you must propose narrowed variables that are different from other thesis despite having some similarities.

4. Be realistic

It is often a debate whether we should be idealistic or realistic in picking up the thesis topics. We are often called unrealistic if we take a certain field of study that is rarely analyzed by other researchers. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, you are contributing impactful output for conducting research in a field that lacks such studies. Still, choosing topics can be idealistic, but the implementation should be realistic. You will face hurdles if there are some things that you previously have never carefully thought of. To avoid this, define your strengths and weaknesses as you are coming up with some ideas. The strengths can be interest, curiosity, experience, research gap, or reachable population. Note down all pros and cons of each idea. Being realistic helps you to set out the limits to which extent you can conduct a research based on your competence.

5. Never hesitate to reach out for helps

Working on your thesis topics might sound like a solitary process, but you can get external exposure with others for discussion, feedback, and support. Discussing your topic will help you to be more critical during the process of generating potential ideas. This gives you a chance to once again reflect on your topic through others’ perspective. That is why it will be much better if you have a discussion with professional lecturers from the area of study in which your research is conducted. You will get some proper advice and even a further plan of what you have to do to enrich your future research.

Seniors can be great mentors as well to evaluate your ideas and give you some advice based on their previous experiences in doing their thesis. Friends who are interested in the same area of study will also create a supportive environment for a brainstorming process. Keep in mind that non-lecturers might have biased opinions and lack of expertiness in their thesis. Consequently, discussing potential topics with lecturers will be your primary choice before taking advice from others.

Those are five tips that can help you to navigate through the selection of thesis topics. Take your time to explore all the options and choose the best topic for you. Best of luck!

Writer: Maychaella Novita

Editor: Andrea Zelina