diary of a doctoral student

Finding the right thing to work on

How do you find a dissertation topic? It’s got to be something that interests you, or you won’t feel intrinsically motivated to work on it. It’s got to be something that fits somehow into your discipline, or your department faculty won’t approve it. It’s got to be important, in some way or another, so that it’s worthy of a dissertation.

In Working hard is overrated, Caterina Fake says:

Much more important than working hard is knowing how to find the right thing to work on. Paying attention to what is going on in the world. Seeing patterns. Seeing things as they are rather than how you want them to be. Being able to read what people want. Putting yourself in the right place where information is flowing freely and interesting new juxtapositions can be seen.

And where do you find free-flowing information with interesting new juxtapositions? On the web, of course. That’s why I’m blogging again.


5 thoughts on “Finding the right thing to work on

  1. You are so right. Working hard is important only when you are working for the right things. How do you know what the right things are? Stand still and watch the traffic around you.

    Here’s my lame analogy: Trucks are slow and lumbering on the highway, but when they is a bottleneck ahead, they will be in the right/fastest lane much sooner than all the speedy sports car. Why? They can see further ahead.

    It pays to look ahead and position oneself. That is called strategy. No strategy, no win.

    Welcome back!

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