Do you like a good research project

The first and sometimes most difficult step in writing a thesis is finding a research topic. Here you will find tips on finding a topic.


Your thesis is a project that will accompany you for a while. You will invest a lot of time and instead of going to the outdoor pool in summer, you will sit at your desk and write. There will be good days and there will be bad days too. And especially then it helps a lot if you have chosen a topic that really, really interests you.
Your topic also sends a signal. It's your figurehead for a job. By choosing a topic, you are showing interest in a specific area. If you want to go into investment banking, then it makes little sense to write about consumer behavior. Sometimes you also demonstrate a special methodological competence.
The question now is: how do you find a topic that you are passionate about?

Start with yourself

You yourself know best what interests you. Think about which subjects you were particularly interested in at the university. What was it that fascinated you? Where did you do pretty well? Where did you find it easy to learn? For example, I've always been interested in products and brands and opinion research, so it was clear that I wanted to write an empirical paper in marketing.
Think about in which professional direction you would like to go later. This is a starting point to see which topics are currently being discussed in this professional field.

Talk to practitioners

Perhaps you have people in your circle of acquaintances and friends who are already working. Perhaps you know colleagues from an internship. Maybe your parents' friends work in areas that interest you. Talk to them and see what the practice is currently interested in. You can also discuss ideas you have with them. Share your ideas with as many people as possible, because even if you are just talking you might come up with ideas about which topics could be interesting. In the discussion with practitioners, you can test whether your idea is suitable in practice, or they can inspire you to come up with an idea that you have not even thought of before.

Talk to potential caregivers

Are there supervisors at the university or the FH whom you particularly like or who have taught in a subject area that particularly interested you? Many are happy when they are approached directly by students. Because they usually do their own research on a topic that they want to advance. If you're working on a topic suggested by supervisors, you're killing several birds with one stone. Firstly, you know that your supervisor is really interested in the topic, has a lot of knowledge in this area and that this background knowledge will give you better support. Second, supervisors usually have a long history of whether a topic is really suitable for a bachelor's, master's or doctoral thesis. Thirdly, they know whether there really is research potential in a topic, so that it is easier to derive a relevant research question. And sometimes you are lucky enough that your work falls into a research program. So you also have colleagues who are researching in the same subject area and with whom you can exchange ideas.

Look into practice

As a marketing scientist, it is admittedly pretty easy for me to choose a topic. In my own consumer behavior or when observing the marketing practices of companies, I repeatedly come across things that interest me and which I then turn into a research project. But even if you are not doing research in marketing (there should be such a thing), then open your eyes and absorb all the information that could even remotely lead to a topic. Good sources are, for example, daily newspapers, social media, trade magazines such as Wirtschaftswoche or brand eins, reports from management consultancies, exhibitions, etc. In this way, you can find at least one topic that is currently of real interest in practice. You are, so to speak, at the cutting edge.

Look into the research

Science also offers enough points of contact to find a topic. In every research paper there is usually a section at the very end that deals with the limits of the investigation or with ideas for further research. You can use these paragraphs as a source of ideas. Take a look at completed theses at your or other universities / universities of applied sciences, then you will have an estimate of what is roughly required of you. Look in scientific journals and analyze what is being researched there at the moment, what you could build on. It doesn't always have to be the case that you make a big hit with your research topic. As a rule, it is sufficient to illuminate a topic from a different perspective, with a different theoretical background or a different method.