The Agony of Choosing – Dissertation Topic on Literature and Culture

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Man Writing at Night

It can be really difficult to define which topic is the best for your dissertation or which attracts you more than others. A typical piece of advice is to think about those texts and books which gave you pleasure during the whole studying process and to consider the possible variants to explore them further. For example:

  • find and read more works by the same author;
  • compare and contrast the works of different authors on the same theme or the authors’ different opinions of the same time period;
  • read articles and general opinions on the theme which you regard fascinating; for instance, films of the New Wave, The Renaissance poetry, or the representation of children in nineteenth-century literature.

Topic Representation

The topic you have chosen can be represented in different ways. Here are the most common variants for you to know:

An author-based study, which includes the analysis of several texts by the same writer/artist/film director. A comparative study bringing together texts by different writers/artists/directors from the same period or which address similar concerns, e.g. three or four novels which deal with issues of race in the Caribbean. A detailed study of a single text, bringing in discussion of a range of relevant issues and/or contexts.

Here are some tips to take into account before you begin to define the topic:

Accessing Sources

Your final project is the reflection of all your work made to transmit a certain idea. In that regard, your research has to be substantial and demonstrate that you have examined all possible sources to compose your work. Thus, it should be ascertained that you took into account electronic sources as well as print ones. Take photocopies of the latter as far as some of them can be available only in a print format.

Choosing an Accomplishable Project

Think over the volume of your final project as a whole as well as its separate parts. Think out such topic that would be manageable and not too extensive.

Maintain Balance

A profound study means that you are able to keep the breadth and depth in your dissertation. For example, you decided to write about one single book or the literary devices of one single author. It means that you are to discuss the chosen aspect as broad as it is possible. You can mention various critical points of view or different theoretical groundworks that show future trends in your research.

Yet, your work can be based on the research of many texts of different authors. Here, the main thing is not to make your final project an average paper. Concentrate on a special aspect which combines the chosen subject of research and uncovers it from opposite points of view.

Girl Balancing

Yet Not Discussed – More Opportunities for You

As you know, some themes are more popular and, consequently, more discussed when it goes about academic research. The others are less researched and represent a more narrow field for further investigations. Every type of topics has its own pros and cons.

For example, it is far more easy to research the subject that was previously discussed a hundred of times. It means that there are many articles and books dedicated to it. They can be quite useful, forming your individual impression of the issue and serving a perfect source base for your own research. However, such established topics narrow the space for your creativity and new thoughts and ideas. Everything is discussed and clear.

Another variant is a well-known or contemporary topic. For instance, it is not a bad idea to take the poets of the sixteenth century and compare and contrast them with modern songs’ lyrics. Therefore, the problem of novelty is out of question in itself. Nonetheless, you can face with such obstacle as a lack of theoretical sources to maintain your final project and you can have a kind of a feeling “out on your own.” On the other hand, it can become even inspiring to produce an absolutely new original research.

Contrast and Compare

You can make also a good use choosing such option as a comparison of two subjects. For instance, you can take two artists from different countries working in the same genre and compare their literary devices when it goes about the same feelings or similar actions; there are many possible ideas to realize. However, then it is better to ask to be supervised by two mentors, where each of them is a specialist in the areas of your work. Find out more about literature and topics, following this link.

Argument – Last but Not the Least

Most students make one typical mistake. They try to think out the argument/thesis of their final work at the very beginning. When you just start reading books and articles on your topic, it is not a high time to formulate a thesis. On this stage, you are not well-knowledgeable for it and you cannot argue something without being your research finished. The formulation of argument should arise by itself, so to say, in the course of the whole work on your project. Until that moment, you can have only suggestions to move in a certain direction. Bear in mind that a thesis can be modified; it is not “written in blood.”

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