How to Keep your Doctorate on Track
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How to Keep your Doctorate on Track

Insights from Students’ and Supervisors’ Experiences

Edited by Keith Townsend, Mark N.K. Saunders, Rebecca Loudoun and Emily A. Morrison

The path of a doctoral student can feel challenging and isolating. This guide provides doctoral students with key ideas and support to kick-start a doctoral journey, inspire progress and complete their thesis or dissertation. Featuring observations from experienced supervisors, as well as the reflections of current and recent postgraduate researchers, this intimate and entertaining book offers vital insights into the critical moments in any doctoral experience.
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Chapter 2: Choosing your topic: a supervisor perspective

Jimmy Donaghey

Abstract

Choosing the topic of a doctoral thesis is a significant part of the journey towards a PhD. Much depends on the type of pathway the student is taking. This chapter focuses on the key issues with regard to identifying a potential topic. For example, the topic should be capable of generating lessons to advance what is already known in theoretical, empirical or methodological terms, and it should garner interest from the wider academic community. Three separate yet related areas for the student to consider when choosing and developing the research project are discussed, and the importance of selecting an area of interest is noted. Additionally, guidelines are set out concerning changing the topic of the thesis, if this becomes necessary during the PhD journey.

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