Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.

Questions tagged [research-topic]

On identifying, evaluating suitability, or sharing a topic or focused direction for research.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
105
votes
9answers
64k views

How to come up with research ideas?

As a very new researcher who is exploring the best way to generate ideas, some guidance on this question would be very helpful. I have found that this is NOT easy. Ideas seem to pop out of my ...
59
votes
3answers
6k views

How can a layman easily get the consensus view of what academia *thinks* about a subject?

I'm a total layman, but sometimes I have really random specific questions, like What does science say about the transfer of learning, or what is the distribution of different of sexual fetishes in the ...
55
votes
6answers
2k views

What to do with spare research topics?

A while back I reached the stage where my ideas for research topics/papers exceeded my capacity to personally work on them. As a PostDoc, I tried to head-hunt students or more junior researchers in my ...
54
votes
7answers
8k views

Is it normal for a PhD candidate to be dissatisfied with their PhD thesis topic, if the field is not hot?

I am a 2nd year PhD student in Germany. I am working on computational mechanics. It is on modeling the mechanical behavior of a composite coating. My background is metallurgical engineering. When I ...
50
votes
5answers
31k views

How to find a good topic for a PhD research proposal?

In many countries an application for a PhD position includes a written research proposal, so my questions is what are some advises/strategies to come up with a good topic/idea for a PhD research ...
41
votes
4answers
14k views

Why do so many pure math PhD students in the USA drop out or leave academia, compared to applied mathematics PhDs in the USA? [closed]

I notice that many pure math PhD students, doing things like algebraic geometry or representation theory, drop out and enter industry and become software developers. The ones who finish their pure ...
41
votes
5answers
4k views

As an undergraduate, how can I explore research topics that may interest me without having a background?

I'm a fourth-year undergraduate looking to apply to graduate physics program this year. My problem is this: I don't know how to pick a study/research area for graduate school. I enjoy my ...
37
votes
5answers
111k views

How to select a Master's thesis topic if your advisor won't suggest one?

If a master's degree candidate needs to select a thesis topic, but their advisor is unwilling to offer suggestions on the matter, how should one go about selecting a thesis? How might one select an ...
32
votes
9answers
14k views

Can I get a PhD for developing educational software?

I am a senior at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After asking another question on this website, I have decided to become a professor of practice. To do this, I will pursue a Ph.D. A Ph.D. project ...
31
votes
3answers
8k views

What are characteristics of a “good” thesis topic?

This may be too discipline specific, but I'm going to give it a shot. I'm still relatively new to grad school (6 months), but I've been told by several older students to keep an eye out for potential ...
29
votes
4answers
12k views

Why is novelty mandatory for a Ph.D. degree?

The institute I am studying at has added the following requirement recently: A PhD scholar must publish two papers in his/her corresponding field in SCI journals. This means that a student ...
29
votes
5answers
14k views

A professor commented that my research is too simple as compared to my colleagues. What does that mean about my future prospects?

I gave a departmental seminar yesterday. It was a short 20 minutes presentation of my PhD thesis. I had presented two of my published works during the seminar. My research topic was to model an ...
27
votes
6answers
3k views

What are some good ways to figure out one's interests in mathematics, before applying to PhD programs?

Are there mathematics seminars to attend in the summer, or do they typically only occur during the academic year? I am referring to American universities. An idea I had last night was to YouTube ...
25
votes
3answers
7k views

How to convince my supervisor that he is wrong?

I do not have any particular situation at hand but I am about to start in a new short-term (research assistant) position. The thing is, I will be working on a topic that is very controversial. There ...
23
votes
2answers
3k views

Advisor ill, out all year… how should I proceed?

I’m a first year grad student beginning this year. My professor was diagnosed with cancer and won’t be in, probably all year, maybe even the entire time I’m in class. He’s a great man, and also a ...
21
votes
6answers
5k views

Is it ok if I haven't decided my research topic when I first meet with a potential phd advisor?

I'm currently in my last semester as a master student and planning to apply for phd degree. I'm going to have a first meeting with my potential phd adviser in a few days and I'm really nervous. All I ...
21
votes
4answers
950 views

What habits should I build in the first part of my PhD?

I'm a first-year PhD student in a computer science department. As is usual at this school, my first three quarters are spent rotating with different professors, finding an adviser and a research fit ...
20
votes
5answers
6k views

How is a research direction determined between a graduate student and their advisor?

My question applies to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math disciplines (STEM). Q: By what process does a graduate student determine his or her research direction? (Assume that the graduate ...
19
votes
5answers
5k views

Is it advisable to have a master or PhD thesis topic in mind before entering graduate school?

This is a question that fascinates a lot of people prior to attending graduate school. The question whether one should already have chosen a thesis topic so that all efforts will be put on creating ...
18
votes
5answers
7k views

Got stuck with overambitious master thesis

I feel that I can get into big trouble very soon. I have been working on my master's thesis in computer science area for about 3 months(out of 6) and still haven't achieved any meaningful result. ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Does one need a specific field in mind to apply to a PhD program in mathematics?

When applying for the PhD program in mathematics, usually, one is not required to specify in what field (e.g., PDE, dynamical system, etc.) he/she intends to do. However, I don't know whether it will ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Choosing your research area

I am considering pursuing a PhD in computer science one day. What I am deciding now is what I want to...I guess specialize in (is that the way to put it)? What I want to focus my research efforts on....
17
votes
2answers
1k views

How do people in academia know whether their research, result, theorem or thesis is original work?

I am curious as to how academia continues itself without replication or reinventing the wheel. So many academicians in so many areas of work, how would one ever find out whether the work he or she is ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

How to find research topics and publish more?

I seem to be a bit stuck here. I am reading quite a lot, but I cannot find a topic to write about, which is original and which I could then publish as a paper. I am in the Humanities, so it's ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

How to choose a good research problem?

I am working to get a PhD, maybe next year this time around. Currently, this is my second year. I have published 3 papers. All of them are not about one problem but consider different problems. My ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

How to find relevant and new open research topics?

How can one find relevant and new open research topics? When working on my PhD thesis, I find it hard to find open questions in my very specific research area. Which approach do you take to find new ...
15
votes
5answers
579 views

What is “academic freedom”, when so many professors and post-docs do only the research that is being funded by external agencies?

Do professors truly get to work on whatever they want, in research? I just read a job description for a post-doc position; the job sounds extremely specialized, with no room to do anything else ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

How not to be like a rolling stone in research?

As a young researcher, it is really interesting for me to gain knowledge in different topics related to my major. I attend many conferences and seminars in my field, I read papers and books which I ...
13
votes
3answers
859 views

Why do I underestimate my own research ideas?

Before continuing on working on a specific problem, I do plan on few things which have not been explored in the available literature. However, instead of developing them (in terms of mathematical ...
13
votes
2answers
523 views

What should I do if I have specialized in a useless research area?

I am a PhD student in computer science, and chose to specialize in a research area that was interesting to me personally, but not interesting to most tech companies. I am approaching graduation and I ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

How to come up with research questions that are well-defined and suitable in scope and relatedness for a thesis?

I have decided on the area I want to contribute to, and have found a basic but huge problem for my research. Now my professor told me to redefine the area, so to break the, at the moment, huge area ...
12
votes
3answers
637 views

A discipline being superfluous? [closed]

I heard for the second time today that a discipline is "superfluous". This comment was made by a young assistant professor, who does not do research in this discipline. Just to be fair to the ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

How to find out if my specific idea is really new, or if someone has already worked on it?

I started working on my PhD few months ago and I am trying to solve a problem in a particular topic. The topic is quite specific and many people have already worked on it before. I am stuck at the ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

How does a professor know when a research project will get expected results?

I read that "One difficulty with research problems is that it is hard/impossible to know if the problem is easy or not" or when it can be solved. So how a graduate-research student (i.e., PhD or MRe) ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

I wish to try out a technique which my supervisor does not want me to, because its not his expertise

As a part of my PhD work, I wish to try a technique which is upcoming and frequently in use. I am not sure if it will be successful, though I have a good feeling about it. My supervisor is simply ...
11
votes
2answers
625 views

What makes good research questions good?

I am in Computer Science and currently in my proposal phase. For my problem statement, I want to come up with good research questions. However, at the moment I am struggling with the definition of "...
11
votes
1answer
474 views

Are you limited to the interests of the professors or your advisor during graduate research?

I am applying to school for a degree in food science and am looking at potential schools and advisers. I've stumbled upon a particular subset of food science that I really want to get into, but only ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

How can I make sure that my paper's work is unique? [closed]

I am trying to write a research papers that applies the ELK stack to visualise social media data (twitter API). How can I make sure that my work was not done by someone else before? I searched in ...
10
votes
5answers
5k views

Should I leave my current PhD if I don't like the research problems my advisor suggests?

Warning: Extremely long post. Not really even the full story but one must stop somewhere. My problem is the following: I am a pure mathematics PhD student in (a remote part of) Europe and am part of ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How to avoid plagiarism when working on an idea not developed from a student who quit the PhD program?

I am doing a PhD in economics. I had an idea on an issue of my interest. With making some research, I found out that there was a previous student at my university, who did not finish his PhD, but he ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

If you have broad interests, should you describe a narrow research topic in statement of purpose anyways?

All the advice for writing a Statement of Purpose (otherwise referred to as 'Personal Statement') for graduate (Masters) on the internet usually pins it down to narrowing down your interest to ...
8
votes
3answers
810 views

Tips on choosing a research topic with little relative background?

I know this might seem like I'm worrying about something too early, but I am a rising sophomore (undergrad) that is anxious about independent research. I am currently in a physics lab right now that I ...
8
votes
3answers
955 views

Should I choose a research field that I'm not really good at, but have strong interest?

I'm a first year masters student. Currently I'm doing coursework but I'll have research in second year. I find all subjects interesting. I feel better when I'm doing subjects including a bit of ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

PhD position interview: How specific should my idea of the topic be?

I just finished my master in Geophysics with some help from here ;). Now I applied for several PhD positions in Natural Sciences and just got an invitation for a personal interview for one of them. ...
8
votes
2answers
584 views

What are the 'objective circumstances' that one young researcher should take into account when choosing a research topic?

Premise: I originally asked this on MathOverflow, but it was pointed out to me that it could be better fit for Academia Stack Exchange. Note: I have received extremely varied advice on the following ...
8
votes
2answers
285 views

If I start in an area I don't feel too excited about, is it possible for me to eventually return to what I truly like?

I am a second year PhD student, and I still don't have an advisor. I chose this school because it has a ton of people working in the sub-field I am interested in (Mathematical Optimization). I tried ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

I want to change my thesis topic (to the extent that the ethos is still in tact) but my advisor does not agree. What can I do?

I am doing a phd where my aim is to solve a problem A which is very interesting. My supervisor has got a lot of connections in a technology B and he claims to be an expert in B. I came to this group ...
7
votes
1answer
426 views

Was there ever a time in American history when humanities PhDs were more sought after than STEM PhDs?

Was there ever a time in American history when there was greater interest in a humanities PhD, say, a PhD in Philosophy or Creative Writing, than a STEM PhD? Perhaps during the period of time ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it usual for a PhD thesis to have two distinct subjects?

In my PhD studies I have slipped off my original track of research. This was also caused by the fact that I found out that my work can be generalized to a broader scope. It is not so bad, during this ...
7
votes
1answer
263 views

Do I have to be secretive about my research until it's published?

I'm a Master's student studying Computer Graphics and Animation. I've already proposed my thesis and have been deep in prototype development for a while. I've gotten some pretty cool results already (...