Figuring out a dissertation topic is a process as individualized as the students in a doctoral degree program. Luster usually encourages candidates to begin with a title.
“That’s going to be your selling point for everything, and it has to be understandable. It must be concise. It must have a theoretical construct in it. The title will take you a lot of places and will help lead you into the writing process.”
To this Lorenzo adds a less lofty but equally valid cross-check: She learned to really drill down any topic with the question, “Who cares?” If there are people who are invested in learning more about the topic (if there are, in other words, people who care), it may warrant further research.
These preliminary exercises lay a solid foundation for the dissertation process, but the actual research and writing can still feel intimidating. Luster, for example, had written a book before starting his dissertation, and points out that a dissertation “is not like any other writing that you’ve done.”
So, where do you start? At UOPX, you start in your first class.