Critique the future research suggestions

Next, you need to critique the future research suggestions proposed by the authors. You need to look at each future research suggestion ask yourself: (a) Is the future research suggestion too broad for a dissertation? (b) Is the future research suggestion achievable at the undergraduate and master's level? (c) Does the future research suggestion build on strong foundations? Each is discussed in turn:

Choose a future research suggestion that you feel you can build on; and that interests you

By asking yourself the three questions posed in the previous section, you should be able to list those future research suggestions that are (a) not too broad for a dissertation, (b) achievable at the undergraduate and master's level, and (c) built upon strong theoretical and/or empirical foundations. From this list, you probably should choose just one future research suggestion that you feel that you can build on. When considering which future research suggestion will form the basis of your dissertation, make sure that it interests you. After all, you will be spending between 3 and 9 months (give or take a few months) conducting research on this topic.

Turn your dissertation topic idea into a purpose statement

Having established a dissertation idea from a future research suggestion is an important step. However, if your dissertation topic idea is going to be accepted by your supervisor, you will need to communicate it effectively. To achieve this, you need to turn your dissertation topic idea into a purpose statement.

The purpose statement is the culmination of:

  1. The motivation driving your dissertation;

  2. The significance of the research you plan to carry out; and

  3. The research questions you are going to address.

In this respect, the purpose statement establishes the intent of the whole dissertation [see the article, The purpose statement, for an overview].

At this stage in the article, you should have established:

The next stage it to consider how to turn your dissertation topic idea into a number of research questions that you want to address. This is the final step in creating your purpose statement.

Moving forward...

When choosing whether a research limitation or future research suggestion should form the basis of your dissertation topic, it is also worth considering that it can be more challenging to do a dissertation based on a future research suggestion than a research limitation. This is because when you are addressing a research limitation, the journal article you are reading can often provide you with a roadmap showing you the literature you need to think about, as well as a possible research strategy to guide your dissertation. By contrast, when you are attempting to address a future research suggestion, the journal article you are reading tends to act more as a platform for your dissertation, rather than a roadmap. You may need to add concepts, theories, and new analysis techniques, amongst other things, just to get started. Therefore, when thinking about using a future research suggestion over a research limitations as the basis for your dissertation topic, ask yourself: Does this require such a move away from the existing journal article that I will be unable to use this as a strong platform to guide my own dissertation? If YES, this is fine, but you need to be confident that you can take this on. If NO, it may be more sensible to take on a research limitation where you can closely use the existing journal article as a roadmap to carry out your own research.

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