MY REFLECTIONS FOR THE FIRST THESIS SUPERVISING SESSION (Nov 7, 2009)
There may be different classification systems of research topics, but as a practitioner I’d like to classify them into doable and undoable topics.
But how do you know which one is doable, and which one is undoable? To decide, I always look at these 3 factors:
1. data availability: most important factor because research in social sciences is evidence-based. The quality of your research can only be as good a the quality of your data!
2. relevance to the target audience: you would not want to talk to black people about what kind of cosmetics is suitable for blondes!
3. significance of results: this means, do the target audience learn something after reading your research?
If the answers all of these questions are no, then you should change your topic IMMEDIATELY! If there are 2 ‘yeses’, then work in more details on the ‘no’ that is left to see whether it can change. If there is only one yes, consider whether you should stay with the topic, or change. If it is really significant, then by all means go ahead if you have nothing to loose. If it is relevant and is something that interests you, my advise is not to do it for your thesis; wait until you have finished your thesis first!