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Every student knows that it is never too early to start to have some initial ideas. So, if your dissertation for the Master’s level is upcoming, you must preplan your way through. Besides, the planning for it needs to start before you submit your proposal. Pre-research strategies are extremely helpful. They can give you a clear idea of what your dissertation will be about right from the start. It is like a groundwork for the whole dissertation. Plus, it also keeps you excited about the dissertation. And your interest naturally improves the quality and outcomes of your dissertation.

Is there any need to plan pre-research strategies?

Sure! A dissertation at this level is open-ended from the student’s end. That means the students have a full take over the work. They get to select the topic and work out the methodology themselves. So, pre-research strategies help them better understand the subject lines. Plus, it helps them to outline their sources. And it helps them get the know-how on their interest-based topics. It is quite helpful if you want an effective plan for your dissertation. Such strategies can narrow your dissertation focus to the very core. After all, such strategies are the base framework for your dissertation. So, yes, they can make or break the efficiency and success of your dissertation.

Frequently, students avoid these pre-research strategies. They think of them as a dry or actionless waste of time. But this is not the case. In fact, it helps you narrow down your ideas from a broad field to a specific research question. Anyway, the following are some of these strategies to help you select your dissertation topic and set realistic expectations:

Find broad themes that interest you

If you want to write your masters dissertation on a topic that interests you, you must go through this. Besides, this is quite easy. All you have to do is think broadly. Sounds easy, right? It is easy. So, think broadly about what interests you in your subject. And to keep these pre-research strategies refined, you can evaluate different themes in the same light. After all, selecting a theme that reflects this light is best for you. You can also find out and assess the hot topics in the field. You can find out topics majorly discussed either in research papers or in popular journals. In addition, you can prepare a list of themes that are current issues in the professional field of your subject. Most importantly, focus on finding a particularly important theme to your national setting.

Outline interesting topics within those themes

Although most students find it difficult, this is the easiest and most fun part of all pre-research strategies. All you have to do for this part is narrow down the list of your selected themes to a smaller list of topics. You can first rank the themes based on your interest preferences. Then, you can think about at least two titles for those themes. In addition to helping you narrow down your list, this will help you get a clear view of your interested topic and theme. You will be able to focus more easily on your dissertation with a topic of your interest. After all, we are always naturally curious about our interests. So, just stick to the plan of narrowing down the themes and coming up with possible topics.

Round up questions to ask about those topics

The most important aspect of pre-research strategies is to derive the questions from topics. Why? Because so many complications go into this part. Firstly, the question has to be relevant to the topic. And it has to pique your interest as well as the topic. Plus, it must hook the attention of the readers. It has to be simple and easy for maximum understandability. Secondly, it has to be an open doorway for discussion and argumentation. It has to be the main focus of your dissertation topic. So, try to outline it out of the title and the main core idea behind the title. You can take ideas from the theme from which you derived the title.

Choose a question and check its viability

Though this might sound tough, this is another easy one among the pre-research strategies. In fact, this is more about shortlisting and selecting. So, outline the questions from your interest-based topics. And once you do that, pick the most reasonable ones out. This is what checking viability is all about. Yes! You just ensure whether the question you derived is sensible or not.

Moreover, the question you take out has to be answerable in the project size. After all, you have to base your whole dissertation on it. So, it seems only fair that you pick a question with a wider answerable scope than the rest.

Finalise a topic and start the literature review

This is the last of all necessary pre-research strategies you need in the initial and exploratory stage of your dissertation planning. This is the final stage of preparing for a dissertation. So, all you have to do is finalise the groundwork you were planning. Yes! This is where you get the essence out of going through themes, selecting topics, and deriving questions. After all, this is where you settle on a topic and firm context for your dissertation. But before you settle, make sure that the topic interests you. In fact, think of it as a double-check. Plus, this double-check is highly necessary because a dissertation is a long commitment. Besides, you must have your interest in two if you plan to get through it. Also, avoid settling for a topic that is too large because it will tire you halfway through.

Once you settle on a topic, stay focused on it. Lastly, start the literature review early on. Make notes and chalk out quotations while you research the topic of your selection. Plus, keep a record of the citations if you can because it will help during dissertation writing.


Pre-research strategies are effective and necessary for planning a Master level dissertation. It helps you stay focused on the work. Plus, it helps you stay efficient with the framework and structural planning of the dissertation. These strategies are applied from early on to reap the maximum benefits. Moreover, these strategies can help you streamline the dissertation process. In fact, you are sure to find an exciting and sensible topic for your dissertation if you employ these strategies.

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