chapter  4
WHAT SHALL I DO IT ON?
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The obvious approach to selecting a topic, and the one which you will most often be advised to take, is to choose something that interests you. This is a sound

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that do not easily lend themselves to a dissertation study. Some things are inherently difficult, expensive or time-consuming to study. Your resources of intellect, finance and time will be limited. You are advised to sort out what these are at an early stage. Make a list – some issues that you need to consider are listed in Box 4.1. Second, your institution may have rules about the need to collect primary data. This may be taken to mean that you cannot do a study of housing in Harare unless you actually visit the place. In other institutions, however, it might be quite acceptable to use data that somebody else has collected (including census data) provided you make due acknowledgement of this fact. Check the rules in your own department. Third, there may be many things that interest you, so how do you choose which one to study? If you are in this fortunate position then you might pursue several possibilities simultaneously. In all likelihood, one of them will soon turn out to be more promising and interesting than the others. On the other hand, you may not find that anything at all interests you very much! You may get quite an inferiority complex if you see your friends have topics (and therefore, you think, have a part of the discipline in which they are interested) and you haven’t. So, what other approaches are there?