Choosing the right topic is crucial. The topic you choose will be with you for a while, maybe even for life!
Look Inside Not Outside
Your topic reflects your research interests, and you should think about how you want to leverage your research when you graduate. Think of creating, rather than finding, a topic. You may want to begin with research interests you've already begun—in your job, in your graduate course work, your master's thesis, or with other research projects in which you've been involved.
Is It the Right One?
Use the following criteria to evaluate your topic area:
- Are you passionate about your topic?
- Are you well grounded in the scholarly literature?
- Is your topic manageable, given your time frame, resources, and availability of data sources?
- Is your topic within your range of competence?
- Is your topic significant in practical or theoretical terms?
- Is your topic original? (Has it been done before?)