I'm a 2nd-year grad student in a US PhD program in one of the social sciences. Coursework has forced me throw out the initial ideas I had about research, which I proposed in my application nearly two years ago. Now I'm actively hunting for the "right" topic.
People ask me all the time, "what's your research on?" and I'm not sure how to answer.
This is not about "how to pick a research topic" as much as how to professionally present one's very tentative research idea(s) before one has a topic.
Should I: 1) Preface any response to the question with "I'm still early in my program and haven't written my dissertation prospectus yet, but I'll probably focus on ..." 2) Should I be honest about having multiple ideas or just pick one in order to better focus the conversation?
Any advice probably differs across contexts -- i.e. talking with peer, talking with senior scholar. All tips are appreciated!
I know this question is subjective, but I think about the situation every day, and I feel like I need some advice.