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dissertation topics for development studies


How to pick the perfect development studies project topic

Studying development studies can be an extremely rewarding experience, both in terms of personal development and the impact your work can have on society. Because the field of development studies offers so many different career paths and opportunities to help others, picking the right topic to study can be difficult. The good news is that you are not alone—there are plenty of other students who might have picked the same topic as you did or struggled with finding the right topic too! Follow these tips to find a topic you enjoy that will challenge you but still be fun and rewarding.


The good thing about topics in Development Studies

many options and topics can be discussed, which means you can find something you are interested in. The bad thing is that many options and topics can talk about, which may be difficult to narrow down your choice. That is why we want to help. If you want us to look over your completed dissertation proposal or final thesis before handing it in, leave a comment with Dissertation Proposal Review or Thesis Review and include a link/reference! We also have free samples available on our site. Just click Free Sample under any sample chapter on unifinalprojects.


Things you should consider before writing your project

Do you have sufficient knowledge and experience in any of these fields? Do you have a personal Interest, or do you want to challenge yourself with a new area? If so, your work will be more interesting for your supervisor and your future readers. On the other hand, if you are fascinated by some particular issue but know nothing about it, start learning about it! Perhaps somebody else has already researched it. Make sure that there is something new for yourself to contribute and use what others before you have produced. Do not re-invent a wheel if there is one available!

The types of projects in development studies


There are a few major projects in development studies: research, participatory action research, advocacy, and applied. Within these categories are numerous approaches that vary based on your school and concentration (e.g., social work, economics), such as a focus on urban or rural areas. Each approach has its benefits and potential drawbacks when developing yourself professionally. For example, working in an urban area may provide opportunities for networking with local organizations while also allowing you better access to resources. Working in a rural area is likely less formalized—and so there might be more opportunity for creativity—but you will also have limited resources nearby.

Effective ways to research your ideas

If you are interested in getting involved with a project but do not yet know what area you would like to work on, research is one of your best tools. The same rule of thumb applies here:

  1. Be as specific as possible.
  2. Keep your eyes peeled for organizations or causes that resonate with you, read up on whatever you can find about them, and see if anything sparks a connection or an Interest in a particular issue.
  3. If not, start looking into other possibilities.

Networking—both online and offline—is another way of gathering more information; reach out to friends who are experts on these topics and ask them questions (after doing some background research first). Ask all those burning questions: What do they like most about their projects? What challenges have they faced? How did they overcome them? Are there any issues or problems they think aren’t being addressed enough by other organizations? Would they recommend working in a similar field to others, and why/why not? It is important to consider whether you are passionate about these issues before committing yourself too deeply. Asking yourself Why am I doing this? is often a good place to start when it comes time to reflect on your motivations.

Tips on how to write an effective research question

When thinking of a research question, try not to narrow your focus too much. Have a broad idea of what you want to study, but then identify specifics that will help narrow down your focus. This way, you don’t end up with a research question so vague that it’s practically impossible or so specific that it lacks breadth and scope. Avoid asking questions that can be answered without any data (like what time is it?). More importantly, choose questions that have answers—in other words, ones for which there are sources out there telling you what is true or untrue and how confident they are in their findings.

Writing your proposal or dissertation.

Now you know what you’re going to study and why it is time to start writing. But there is a right way and a wrong way. Whether in college or grad school, here are some tips for writing your proposal: Get feedback early. Use drafts to get comments from friends, peers, professors and others who have done research like yours before. Review other student projects so you can see different approaches—and figure out what might work best for you. Ask yourself these questions about your research question or hypothesis: Is it feasible? This is one of those known unknowns I mentioned earlier; getting information on feasibility will help you write a better proposal faster.

How much work will it take? Will it be worth it? What resources do you need to complete it? What kind of equipment or software do you need access to? Are there any legal issues involved (like having permission from people)? Can you recruit participants easily enough, or do they already exist (for example, if your research focuses on students at a specific university)? If not, how long will it take to find them? What are some potential pitfalls that could prevent the completion of the project or make its results unusable? You don’t want surprises down the road. And finally, Do I want to spend two years working on something that’s probably not going anywhere anyway?


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