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Finding a thesis topic (03:27 min)

you are watching the video finding a thesis topic from the defining information needs series this is Anna she is studying at T Oberlin and wants to ride her master thesis in the field of marketing she does not know yet how to find a suitable topic she goes to the economics and management library to ask the librarian miss Miller for advice miss Milla tells her there are three steps to finding a research topic first of all she should decide on a suitable subject area in the second step she should obtain a general overview of the topic and in the third step she should narrow the topic down there are several ways for Anna to find a topic for instance she could go through the teaching material and notes she is made or she could choose a topic based on observations she has made in her everyday life or during an internship that are academically relevant Anna may also have discovered gaps in research her contradictions in specialist literature while riding a seminar paper which she could investigate in more detail Anna has already collected a few ideas miss Miller recommends writing them down Anna should think carefully about whether she is really interested in the topic she chooses because she will be dealing with it intensively over a longer period of time she should also ask herself if she has any previous knowledge of the topic it makes sense to choose a topic that is of relevance to further study and career goals it is also vital to ensure there is enough relevant literature the topic must be suitable in terms of scope and requirements and it has to be approved by a professor Anna asks miss Milla how she can obtain an overview of the topic as quickly as possible MS Milla says that a rough literature search will give Anna an overview of research progress on her topic and possibly reveal existing research gaps some databases like the web of science support this kind of search for example she can find out which research disciplines deal with a particular subject whether the number of corresponding publications has increased over time and which countries are studied in the publication’s miss Milla advises Anna to collect her findings in a mind map and establish how they relate to each other this enables Anna to identify the focal points gaps and interesting links using the mind map she can narrow down her topic further and decide which aspects she wants to study more closely and which ones she will leave out of her research she can restrict her topic according to such criteria as period geographical regions certain groups of persons strands of theory and explanatory approaches miss Miller points out that finding a topic for an academic paper is a process that takes place in several steps and that the topic might change during this process at the end of the process she will define a specific research question and look for suitable literature Anna thanks miss Milla for her useful tips miss Milla and her colleagues are happy to help either in person or by email at info competence at WME Berlin de