It's that time of the academic year again. I'm getting more comments and email requests (spam comments too from essay writing businesses which I remove as soon as I can) on this topic than any other. So here are some groundrules on my response to dissertation requests.
- I will respond to your questionnaires and interview requests whenever possible. I've welcomed the chance to answer questions on the effects of the recession on the PR industry from a New York University student and on the ideal curriculum for a PR degree from a Leeds Met student in the last week.
- I will not give anyone a topic to research. I can give general suggestions (see below) but your dissertation is your one chance to pick a subject to study. Don't give it up, least of all to a stranger.
Good dissertation topics have the following characteristics:
- There is an existing body of (academic) literature for you to read.
- It is a subject that allows you to contribute your own original research.
- It probably involves an element of novelty and change.
Let's take an example. A student took the 'glass ceiling' as her starting point (well-established body of literature) but chose to ask about the barriers to entry for young men onto PR degree courses (involves change, very researchable).