This chapter considers three basic criteria sets for choosing a suitable research topic examines ways of breaking down a research topic through writing explores the relationship between topic development and the successful completion of writing tasks, such as the production of an updated research rationale Choosing a topic There are many possible reasons for the initial choice of a research topic at PhD level. Sometimes the choice may be limited by practical constraints such as supervisor availability. For some, the choice is determined by the supervisor’s own interests or by financial incentives such as scholarships or study grants. In joint research projects with a designated principal investigator, individual choice may appear to be limited. But when choice is a real option, the freedom to choose can sometimes become problematic and even burdensome – in particular for those who have spent many years of their lives responding to questions that have been posed by others. How do researchers make their initial choice of topic and justify this choice? Answers to this question can be surprisingly varied and include the following, where the supervisor’s role and influence is a deciding factor: My supervisor suggested some topics and I chose one (computer science). My supervisor chose this topic for me (computer science).
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- Developing a Research Topic through Writing
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