Choosing a PhD topic


spoilt for choice by Neil Tackaberry, Attribution-NoDerivs Licence

Choosing a topic for your PhD is hard. A common piece of advice is to find a gap in what is currently known. Sure you do need to find a gap as your research must be original, but how do you find the gap? It seems to me you have to know everything about an area first to know where the gaps are. Well yes that’s right, often the place to start is learning everything you can about a topic area. But how do you know any particular topic area will have a gap to find? Well safe to say, every topic has gaps. We don’t know everything about everything yet!). But the trouble is that not all gaps in our knowledge are feasible to fill just now. Filling them might require research that would take too long, cost too much or require resources you just don’t have.

This week’s link is to a blog post by James Hayton about choosing a thesis topic. A useful piece of advice he has is to search for an “edge” rather than a gap. Check it out. I think he is right in saying that by doing this you will find no shortage of ideas.

By the way, them comments on his blog are worth checking out for a laugh.

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