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Senior thesis topics: some new ideas for your project


Develop your earlier work -- What have you written previous theses on? Often you can develop and expand this idea and make it more complex for a senior thesis topic. Do beware though that you’re not simply just copying and pasting chunks of text from an earlier piece of work, as this would be classed as self-plagiarism. It’s the idea behind the work that is the focus here, not really the written work itself, but with hind-sight you may have seen a different way that you could approach this from? Or perhaps the word-limit in your earlier work meant that you included a paragraph towards the end that said something like: ‘with more time and resources, in a larger far-reaching study, this work could be developed by examining …’ and this senior thesis topic now gives you the chance to do that. It is worth running this idea by your tutor to ensure it is sufficiently different from your earlier work to score you high marks.

Develop other academic work – Who are the key theorists and academics in your subject field? Which work of theirs most interests you? When you critically analyse their work, is there anything that you think is wrong? Is there something in their work that you actually this is important, but they’ve completely missed it? Could their work be approached from a different angle? Sometimes a piece of work may have really irritated you when you read it, because you so strongly disagreed with it, and you want to set the record straight. These are all really good starting points to spring-board off from, in order to find a senior thesis topic. It should be a good strong piece of work, as you’d be showing your awareness of key academic research, analysing it critically and then offering a new take, which would show fresh insight into this research area.

Be original! – The higher the level of your academic qualification, the more original your thinking is expected to become. When you reach PhD level, your PhD thesis is expected to be: ‘an original contribution to knowledge.’ Originality is something to strive for in your senior thesis, it will score you high marks. If for example you were reading a literary text, and spotted a theme that you thought had not been explored before, you need to really thoroughly scour all books on the text, books on the author, the theme in question, and extensively research all electronic journals. If you’re certain your topic has not been researched, it’s worth discussing previous research in the area, to demonstrate you’re aware of what has been covered and how thorough your research is. Then, state how yours is a new approach, the significance of which has been previously missed.

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