Welcome to the most important article on my blog. I would like you to start reading from it. It responds to the most frequently asked question of recent years students:
How to choose the topic of the bachelor or master thesis?
Well, if you came here at the right time, that is, before choosing the topic of your thesis. If you have already chosen the topic then I hope you have done it well. If the choice turned out to be bad, read it to the end, you may be able to fix the mistake you made.
Consequences of choosing the wrong topic of bachelor or master thesis
However, before I get to the bottom, I would like to show you the results of choosing a bad topic. During the many years of practice, the most students came forward with the question – “Wybrał zły / za trudną / za ambitną temat dyplomowej, what should I do?” The answer is simple, write or try to change / modify it. However, some cases are unique and it is really difficult to advise then.
The case was very complicated. First of all, the chosen topic was definitely too difficult. The person who finishes the specialty of business management has a much more interesting topics to choose from, avoiding heavy and boring statistical analyzes. Secondly, the topic was not very specific, which resulted in the third problem, ie a sudden change of the topic by the promoter (the defense was a month). The promoter made it even more complicated because the mix of financial results and forecasting in one job is really a challenge even for high-class statisticians.
The situation seemed theoretically out of the question, 3 weeks left to give up, and the whole concept changed. How did we solve this? I proposed changing the subject to “Forecasting as a factor influencing the making of investment decisions in an agri-food enterprise”.
What really surprised us, the promoter agreed to this change. After many hours of consultation, the work was adapted to the new topic and submitted on time. However, it cost a few sleepless nights and a lot of stress. The costs of consultations could also have been avoided. The student defended herself with a fairly good result, however, as she admitted, the subject never interested her, so writing a job was a chore. Why, then, did she choose such a topic? She had no idea herself, so she agreed to the promoter’s proposal.
Do not let them impose a topic, choose one that suits you and not a promoter!
The presented authentic story shows what unpleasant consequences can have a wrong choice of topic. And would you like to choose a topic where work would be a pleasure? Would you like to write 2 chapters in a week that would be accepted without any corrections? Would you like to conduct such research that would interest your promoter and reviewer? Would you like defense to be just a pleasant formality, and your knowledge of the subject surprised and embarrassed the commission? Read to the end.
We have prepared video versions of the following guide. See it and let me know if you like it.
When is the best to choose the subject of a bachelor or master thesis?
The answer to this question is simple. The subject of the diploma thesis is worth considering during the first year of studies, then you slowly get to know your interests, have time to read the literature, choose a research method, find a company that will be the subject of your research, and meet lecturers at your university and choose appropriate promoter.
Choosing the subject of the bachelor thesis – an ambitious version.
In the perfect world, it’s best if you chose the topic of your work during the first year of study. As you can see in the picture below, you would have a lot of time to prepare a great job. You would give the second year in honor of the theoretical and the beginning of research. The third is to describe the research and put the work together.
Choosing the subject of the master’s thesis – an ambitious version.
If, however, you are in a uniform master’s program, it is ideally that you choose the topic for the third year. You would devote the fourth year to the theoretical part and to start research. The fifth year is to prepare a research chapter, refine all the details, put the work together and introduce any corrections.
So much in theory. Practice looks different, who has time to think about the subject of the diploma thesis, when he has a lot of other duties while studying, and also tempt the charms of student life. In addition, it is worth allocating this time to gain work experience.
The length of the seminar
In the following considerations I have assumed that the seminar will last for 2 semesters. At some universities you will have a seminar for 3 semesters, and for longer master theses. However, I assume that regardless of the university, 3 academic semesters is enough time to calmly prepare a good job.
Choosing the topic of the diploma thesis – optimal version
In my opinion, the best moment to start preparing for writing your diploma thesis is April, May or June in the year preceding the defense. Then you should choose the scientific area from which you want to write a job and prepare 3-4 alternative topics.
So you defend yourself in June 2018 – you’re starting your preparation in April 2017.
- you have a lot of time to choose a topic and develop a plan,
- you will find a company that will be the object of your research,
- you will analyze the amount of available materials,
- you will see if the subject really “turns” you, or just a momentary interest,
- once you have a topic, it’s easier to choose a good promoter. Typically, good promoters are quickly “occupied” and you will stay ahead of the competition,
- at the time when others will wait for months to check their work, you will have everything accepted.
When do I have to formally declare the choice of the diploma thesis topic and is it possible to change the subject later?
Typically, each university has a specific date to which you must select the subject. Then you submit a declaration to the dean’s office in which you enter your topic. Usually this is a semester or two before defense. Officially, you can not change this topic anymore. However, as it happens in life, it is officially written only. If you find that you have chosen a wrong topic and can not handle it, let your steps first go to the promoter, then to the dean’s office and how it will be to the Vice-Dean for Student Affairs. Of course, some universities are very restrictive about deadlines, but I know from practice that it is often possible to change themes even two months before the defense. Speaking colloquially – do not give in and combine!
Remember that you can always try to change the subject!
Before we go further, I would like you to remember:
First the choice of topic – later the promoter
Although in every guide you can read that the first step is to choose a promoter, my opinion is different. The basic decision is to choose the subject of your work. You have considered what you want to have more or less about the topic, you start looking for a promoter who specializes in this field and agrees to such or similar topic. This topic should be adapted to the promoter, never the other way around.
Therefore, the situation should not be allowed if the promoter chooses the subject for you. Why? Let’s say you are interested in IT and new information systems in management. Would you like to find a promoter who punishes you to write a job regarding the activities of the Poviat Labor Office in order to reduce unemployment in the XYZ district? I do not think so…
How to choose the topic of the bachelor or master thesis?
You already know when to choose the topic of the diploma thesis, what are the consequences of the wrong choice, you also know that the choice of the topic and then the promoter must take place first. But what should you do to choose this topic well. Follow these tips:
- Think about what really INTERESTS you.
Think about what academic subject you attended most and which study gave you the most pleasure. What do you like to read about, what do you like to watch? A big hint can be your job.
The choice of topic and professional work
If you work in a family company, it is worth trying to write about it (Example: Problem of succession in small companies, on the example of XYZ). If you are a warehouse manager, the topic will be: Warehouse logistics management on the example of XYZ.
- Decide whether you are writing a theoretical or research job.
What kind of diploma thesis to choose, always spends students’ sleep. While in the case of the master’s thesis there is no problem, because you always have to do research there, we have a free hand at the bachelor thesis. (Theoretically, because it usually depends on the promoter).
I recommend a selection of research work. Why:
- less writing a boring theory (write 50 pages of the theory itself is just a journey through agony),
- it takes far less time. Research on a well-constructed research tool is not a problem, the description of the results is also very fast. In empirical work theory can be reduced to the minimum, the most important is the research part,
- such works are usually decidedly better,
- using own research increases the prestige of a given job,
- when you conduct interesting research in a good company, who knows if you will not receive a job offer. Incidentally, it is worth adding that some companies are very open to cooperation with students, often using their research.
- although the entire research methodology and the construction of research tools theoretically seem complicated, it is not. In case of problems, I help in preparing the research part!
- Check the available literature
Never, never choose topics related to new phenomena to which there is no literature. I know that a nice subject may be, for example, “Assessment of Donald Trump’s policy in 2016-2017”, but believe me you will fall. You will not find the materials, and you will not invent too much. The diploma thesis is reconstructive work, which is why you must have many sources, preferably new ones. Before deciding whether a topic is for you, go to the university library and check the internet resources.
Never suggest a topic to which you have not checked the available literature!
- Check the popularity of the subject among students
If the topic is chosen by half of your year, the promoter will probably reject it, and if he or she accepts it, do not be surprised that the assessment of work and defense will not be too high. You also have to take into account the possibility of plagiarism. Therefore, avoid trivial and very general topics. Check out a series of sample topics.
- Check the popularity of the topic on the internet
If there is a lot of similar work, you must be careful not to be accused of plagiarism. Remember also that the use of ready-made works is treading on fragile ice.
- Find empirical work for the company in which you will conduct the research
If you plan research work, then you should have the chosen company where you will conduct the research. Make sure that they will make the materials available to you without any problems, as well as allow you to conduct research. It is worth you to choose a company that will work well with you. Without proper motivation, it can take a very long time for employees to complete 50 surveys.
- Research in government and local government institutions
Often studies for diploma theses are conducted in such institutions. The quality of their cooperation with students is a river theme. Therefore, find out earlier how cooperation will work with them.
- Get an idea of what your friends from previous years wrote about
As it happens in life, more experienced friends are an excellent source of knowledge. Ask about what they wrote, at what promoter, they can show you their work (just do not copy?)
- Look for help in advance
As the experiences of thousands of students have shown, cooperation with the promoter may be different. Therefore, find out if you will find someone who will possibly help you with a given topic, not counting the promoter. Of course you can take advantage of my offer.
These are the most important aspects that I would like to pay attention to, probably now you will ask: “How do you know that a given topic is good”?