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PhD Topic Ideas: A 10 point rule book to develop your original yet viable PhD topic

PhD Topic Ideas: A 10 point rule book to develop your original yet viable PhD topic

If you the one reading this blog, it is likely that you are wanting to enroll for a PhD programme but still struggling with the topic selection for your PhD thesis. It isn’t as straightforward to find the most appropriate topic for your research as you may perceive it to be. But if you have the right attitude and the required patience, then surely you would be successful.

There are a certain set of rules that you must follow if you want to ensure that you choose the right research topic.

  1. Before making the final decision, you must read a lot of dissertations that are linked to your subject or your key interest areas. It would familiarise you with different ideas and research styles. It would not only help you to zero down on a topic but also give you a multidimensional outlook and later help you to devise your research style.
  2. Make sure you look for a topic that interests. Listen to the advice of your professors but go with the choice that is entirely yours.
  3. Get back to old ideas. Check old resources you might have used any time in your graduation years and try to see if some evolution could be done on them.
  4. Consider several ideas rather than looking for that one perfect idea. At the initial stage, you must have a welcoming approach to even the craziest ideas. Think of as many ideas as you can. It would eventually bring you closer the topic you have been looking for your research.
  5. Before finalising on a topic, ensure that nobody has completed a similar research. Collect supporting arguments why your research matters. It would help to keep you convinced and at the same time to convince your supervisor and examiners at the later stages.
  6. Assess the need for resources and information for the research. Make sure you have done a thorough analysis of the needed resources and information for the entire research to be conducted and surety that you have access to all of that.
  7. Have a precise and succinct topic. Usually, researchers who begin their PhDs with over ambitious projects struggle at the latter stages.
  8. Have a flexible perspective to your main research question as it may change during the course. Be flexible as you can so that you can quickly adapt to new evidence.
  9. Take expert opinion with your supervisor while you are deciding as they can give you a practical perspective to the obstacles and challenges that may come at the subsequent stages, which you may not be able to anticipate.
  10. Listen to your heart and be ready to fall in love with your topic.

Always know that, even after having decided the topic very cautiously, there would be moments when there would be a feeling of saturation and exhaustion with your topic. Do not feel dejected and know that it is common and part of the process.

Does Every PhD Research Require a Conceptual Framework?

Does Every PhD Research Require a Conceptual Framework?

A majority of reports indicates that over 89% of research candidates find it difficult to decide if their research requires a conceptual framework or not.

Are you fighting the same battle?
If yes, then this article will surely help you out!

The conceptual framework is an essential ingredient for your research. It provides a glance on researcher’s synthesis of literature on how to explain a phenomenon.

The requirement of a ‘Conceptual Framework’ depends on the type of research. But before explaining which research requires a conceptual framework, let me first tell you what purpose a conceptual framework fulfils:

  1. It generates proper links from the literature to the questions and research goals.
  2. It serves as a medium to keep research on track.
  3. It provides a clear insight on the variable of a study.
  4. It explains the concepts and proposes the relationships among the concepts.
  5. It provides an organized structure for the research design and methods.
  6. It guides the development & testing.
  7. It represents the relationship of the developed hypothesis with central factors or key concepts.

Now, moving towards the purpose of this article, let’s see, which research requires a conceptual frame:

A conceptual framework is understood as an explanation of how a research candidate sees the different concepts and outcome of the study and its relation with each other. It can be an adoption used in a previous study with modification to suit the inquiry.


A research can be categorised into two types mentioned below:

  • Exploratory Research: It is also known as formative research, its objective is to gather preliminary information that will help define problems and suggest hypothesis. It is conducted for a problem that has not been clearly defined. Exploratory research helps determine the research design, methods of data collection and conceptual framework.
  • Explanatory / Casual Research: Casual research is quantitative in nature. It is pre-planned and structured in design that’s why it is also known as conclusive research. It is different from exploratory research in terms of explaining cause and effect relationship between variables. Explanatory research shows the cause and effect relationship in terms of experiments and doesn’t require a conceptual framework.

There are two research methods for exploring the cause and effect relationship between variables:

  1. Experimentation
  2. Simulation

What if your research requires a conceptual framework?

Well, don’t worry; we have got your back.

But, what all do we require for developing a conceptual framework?

Below are the ingredients required for developing a conceptual framework:

  1. Literature Review
  2. Knowledge of specific research domain
  3. Research Background
  4. Personal Experience
  5. Data

We understand that the conceptual framework is a prominent document for your research. Let’s discuss how to develop a conceptual framework.

Developing a Conceptual Framework:


  • Identify Concepts:

Identify concepts from the literature review and provide a categorization among them. The concepts can be categorised as abstract or concrete.

An abstract concept is broad and may not be readily observable while the concrete or specific concepts are amenable to measurement.’

  • Define Variable:

Defining variable is the main function of a conceptual framework in a descriptive research. A variable is something that changes. The change in variable depends upon the various factors; some of the variables are like constant only (name of someone) while other change frequently (Value of Stock Exchange)

  • Operationalize Variables:

The operationalization of variables involves strictly defining variables into measurable elements. It defines fuzzy concept and allows them for empirical and quantitative measurement. To improve the robustness of research design and to increase the quality of the result, operationalization of variables sets down the exact definition of each variable.

  • Develop Propositions:

Develop the relational statement or propositions among the concepts. This helps in providing an idea for hypothesis development and testing.

  • Explore the relationship between variables:

Exploring the relationship among variable is an important part of developing a conceptual framework. Some research abstracts contain the variable of research and thus may serve the purpose.

Even though conceptual framework is the heart of a research, not every research requires a conceptual framework.

Do you require assistance in developing a conceptual framework? Then drop a mail at!

Design of Research Questions

Design of Research Questions

Devoid of coming up with concrete research question(s), any research based study can never be started. Based on observational phenomenology, a broad research objective is formed, and then through epistemology and construct building, the research objective is boiled down to concrete research question(s). Unless those research questions are not specific and measurable, the research work can never be effective in all aspects. Specificity of the research question is required in order to keep the study focused. There are several organizations, which assist researchers in designing research questions for their studies. For more information about designing research questions, kindly go through the pages of

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