I have a few things that I would like to explore for my Masters thesis. However, I don't know yet whether I am good at this kind of topic, its more historical than what I am used to etc.

But my question is this:

How do people settle on a research question they haven't really explored yet, but then also know that they will be able to have something (more or less substantial) to argue for / to contribute once they are in the topic?

I feel like have an interesting topic, but I have no idea yet what I want to argue for or whether I have anything to contribute yet.


Simple: You start exploring several ideas, gathering references, learning how the attempted solutions work, searching for possible extensions/alternative approaches.

As Edison said: "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration". You'd have to put in the "perspiration" part to be able to see the "inspiration" spark. Or, as Pasteur stated it, "Chance favours the prepared mind".

  • 2
    I think this is correct but I also want to empasize the importance of being in regular contact with your mentor. You have to put the work in, but it is also helpful to have scheduled meetings on a frequent basis with somebody who knows the ropes (and the literature) who can help keep you from going down dead ends. – shane Mar 14 '16 at 22:23
  • @shane, you are absolutely right. Bounce off your ideas at your environment, specially more experienced ones as available. – vonbrand Mar 15 '16 at 17:30

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