Doctoral study topic areas take some time to firm up. Don’t be concerned that you haven’t yet figured out exactly what it is that you want to study. No one expects you to have a complete project mapped out at this stage of your journey. Doctoral study is a training ground and defining your research area is a point of entrance into the research process. There are some guiding prin ciples which, if applied to your work, will allow you to appreciate fairly quickly whether or not the topic you hope to research is manageable. Some topics appear on the surface to be reasonably manageable but on closer inspection it becomes clear that finding an answer to the problem would not be possible at all. Be clear that it takes some time to decide on a research topic and make it researchable and manageable. Of course, this can be a problem because, more than likely, this is when you really want to go full steam ahead with your study. As one doctoral student explained: “My first year, I have to say, was the most frustrating, partly because in that first year you don’t necessarily have a really good idea of where you’re headed. That was the major issue: trying to find out what it is that you are going to focus on, what your research questions are going to be. But from that point forward everything seemed to slot into place. I mean, I had ongoing challenges and difficulties and things to figure out but I never felt they were insurmountable.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Getting a Handle on the Topic, Questions and the Literature
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number