5 tips on choosing a PR dissertation topic

Dissertation, dissertation, dissertation. The words on 90% of me and my fellow 3rd years’ lips atm (along with ‘shall we buy snacks?’ and ‘what time is Gogglebox on?’). The aim of this blog post is to help PR students like myself have an epiphany, which I had about a week and a half ago, about finding an area of PR that you won’t get bored of 2,000 words in.

1 | Be interested in it. Like, really, interested.

We got told this from the outset, but I didn’t realise just how deep an interest was going to be needed. You may be interested in alcohol and Oceana, but can ya write 10,000 words on it? Probs not. For example, if you love reading about PR dramas in the news (erm, Justin Bieber nudes anyone???) then an area like Crisis Management could be for you.

2 | Keep it focussed 

I did not do this at the start: my topic was too broad and vague and, tbh, I didn’t really know what I was even trying to say myself. Since I’ve narrowed it down to one particular area (children’s charities in the healthcare sector and the PR strategies they use, if you’re interested) I am far more excited to get started because 1) I actually know what I’m going to be looking into and 2) when I grow up (lol) I want to work for one of these charities which leads me on to number…

… 3 | If you know where you want to work after graduating, choose a topic that relates to it!

I’ve never written a dissertation before, but I’m pretty sure if you turn up to a job interview at a top Entertainment PR agency armed with a dissertation about how Miley Cyrus could have done with a better PR team, the interviewer will take more notice of you than if you have 10,000 words about the economic climate on Mars.

4 | THINK about it

Think about your connections, who you know in the relevant industry that you could interview. Think about what units on your course you’ve done particularly well in (e.g, I, personally, am not going to be writing a dissertation on Investor Relations). Think about whether you’ll be able to find out new research that is not yet available. Likewise, think about whether there will even be any resources/materials available on that topic for you to analyse.

5 | Don’t bloomin’ leave it to the last minute 

This also goes for the whole dissertation in general, but make sure you choose your topic in plenty of time (preferably before or during the summer before 3rd year). It will give you time to alter your topic and do some initial research to find out if it’s a topic worth writing 10,000 words on.

Say it with me now, dissertations…are….fun!! 😉 good luck!!

Liv xo

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5 thoughts on “5 tips on choosing a PR dissertation topic

  1. I’m in the same boat as you – these were great tips. I think number 3 is especially important (at least if you know what you want to do later on). If you can find something that truly, really interests you then I think it will make the coming year a lot easier than if you try to “impress” with something that may be academically important and difficult but also a snoozefest.

  2. another key thing- perhaps a tip number six- choose a topic where you have contacts who know contacts who can help you. Tap up friends, family, lecturers- whatever. You might be surprised at how helpful they can be! Access to research material and advice about where to look for journal articles, interview candidates etc can be like gold dust.

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