Deciding on a topic for your dissertation or research project is both exciting and challenging. You're able to pursue a topic that holds significant personal interest but it must also be feasible, focused and of signifcance to your field. This video outlines some considerations to bear in mind when choosing a research topic.
To aid you in planning your research, download our Research mapper that poses some key questions you will need to address at an early stage. For a more comprehensive approach to devising a research project, have a look at the SAGE Research Methods Project Planner.
Research Question Models
In fields such as health and social care, models such as PICO or SPIDER are often used to formulate research questions. You can find out more about these models From this NHS Guide. If your tutor has recommended using PICO or a similar model, our PICO searching form can take you through the steps to build your research question and guide you into your literature searching as part of your literature review.
Before embarking on your dissertation or research project, you may be asked to complete a proposal outlining your ideas and intentions before you begin your research.
A proposal might include the following headings:
|Section ||Contents |
||Introduction to topic area that provides the background and context to your research.
||Justification for your research topic in terms of its significance to your field.
||Pinpoints specficially what you intend to achieve through your research. This section might list key questions you seek to answer or define the research problem to be addressed.
||Critical survey of the existing research on your topic and identification of gaps in current knowledge. This will generally be structured around the themes that emerge from the literature.
||Your proposed approach to conducting your research wth justification for your choices. This includes the philosophy or paradigm underpinning your research and an explanation of the data collection tools that will be used.
||Projected dates of key milestones in your research project.
||List of the sources you have read so far in preparation for your research.
Dowload our Research Proposal Structure for a more detailed breakdown of the sections of a research proposal. However, bear in mind that some courses may have specific requirements for structures or templates, that you're expected to use for proposals so check the relevant guidance on your Blackboard module site.