Pre-Research Techniques for Graduate dissertation – Things You Must Do

Pre-research techniques for graduate dissertation writing encompass preliminary readings, brainstorming, topic selection, problem identification, research problem formulation, and specifying the aims and objectives of the study. Pre-research techniques help determine the tone and direction of the entire research. These steps are the formative phases that are crucial for conducting research. Many researchers start writing their graduate dissertation without considering the formative phase. Consequently, they end up deriving vague and invalid inferences. Therefore, it is crucial to spend some time on pre-research techniques for a graduate dissertation, and this article will tell you about some of the useful pre-research techniques.

Why are pre-research techniques for graduate dissertations important?

Pre-research techniques for graduate dissertation is important for several reasons. One reason is that you will remain confused if you do not clearly know what you want to accomplish. Secondly, pre-research techniques consolidate your research on strong footing and determine a clear direction for your research. These techniques help you develop and strengthen the key ideas of your graduate dissertation. Therefore, the importance of pre-research techniques cannot be emphasized enough. The planning phase equips you with the confidence that you can tackle the graduate dissertation and complete your degree with distinction by completing your dissertation on time.

What are some of the best pre-research techniques for graduate dissertations?

Here are some of the best pre-research techniques that you can use for a graduate dissertation:

Preliminary Reading

Every research starts with reading about the trending issues and challenges in a given field. For example, if you are a student of political science, you would need to read about the trending political issues at the global and local levels. Reading up on the trending issues and challenges helps you identify the contemporary debates and contentions among scholars. You can check for the latest research published in your field, giving you a broad idea of general themes and discussions. The preliminary reading is the first phase of pre-research techniques for a graduate dissertation since it helps the researchers identify the gaps in the prevalent studies and see if they can address the gaps through their research,


Preliminary reading gives a general idea about the possible topics for a graduate dissertation. However, researchers need to brainstorm to narrow the scope of the topic and make it specific. Initially, the idea you will have in mind about the dissertation topic could be too broad, and you must make it specific. Brainstorming is the preferred technique to do this. You can roughly jot down the ideas which you have in your mind related to the topic. You can write down as many ideas as possible on a piece of paper and let your thoughts flow freely.

The purpose of brainstorming is to free your mind and get past the stagnant phase of reading too much or worrying about how you can embark on the arduous task of dissertation writing. So, write down as many ideas as possible and do not hinder the flow of thoughts because the purpose is to evaluate a topic from multiple angles and perspectives. The points jotted down during the brainstorming become the key points of your research, and you can structure the main body chapters around those key points.

Topic Selection

Once you are done with brainstorming, the next phase of the pre-research technique for a graduate dissertation is topic selection. Topic selection requires deliberation and making a prudent decision because the topic selection is the vital phase that determines the success of your research. So, you must ask the following questions while you are selecting a topic for your research:

  • Does the topic seem interesting to you?
  • What are the existing gaps in the prevalent research studies?
  • How can you add value to the literature? What will be your approach?
  • Can you collect enough data on the topic through primary and secondary methods?
  • What is the relevance of the topic in your field?
  • Is it too broad or specific?

Finding the answers to the abovementioned questions will help you make informed choices. Once you are certain that you have the answers to all of the questions mentioned above, you can finalise your topic and move ahead to the problem identification and research problem formulation phase.

Problem Identification and Research Problem Formulation

Every research topic revolves around a research problem since the researcher has to take an argumentative approach and define his or her stance clearly. A research problem is the core issue which is the central position of the author on the issue. Key points in the entire graduate dissertation are structured around the research problem and strengthen the central idea. A research problem is the central idea of the research, which the researcher either defends or refutes by providing evidence and counterevidence. Therefore, researchers must spend considerable time formulating the research problem.

A research problem is a comprehensive statement that does not exceed more than three to four lines for a graduate dissertation. A research problem must be concrete, arguable, logical, and concise. It should not allude to vague concepts or generalisations because otherwise, it will muddle the later stages of your research, and you must keep your research focused. Research problem helps maintain a clear and directed focus throughout the entire research. Researchers often find themselves in hot waters while trying to come up with a logical research problem. However, they can always take help from expert writers at Masters Dissertation Help for formulating a strong research problem and successive stages of research.

Clarity about the aims and objectives

Clarity about the aims and objectives of the graduate dissertation is crucial because it sets the tone and direction of your research. Once you have a clear idea of how you will go about completing your dissertation and what will be the purpose of the research it becomes much easier to direct your research efforts towards the overall goals and objectives.


Pre-research techniques anchor your graduate dissertation on a strong footing and determine the overall orientation of the research process. These techniques solidify your position as a researcher and help you navigate the arduous task of dissertation writing. You can refer to the above-mentioned pre-research techniques for your research.

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