Selecting Research Area

Selecting research area is the very first step in writing your dissertation. It is important for you to choose research area that is interesting to you professionally, as well as, personally. Experienced researchers note that “a topic in which you are only vaguely interested at the start is likely to become a topic in which you have no interest and with which you will fail to produce your best work”[1]. Ideally, your research area should relate to your future career path and potentially contribute to the achievement of your career objectives.


Selecting research area


The importance of selecting research area that is appropriate for dissertation is often underestimated by many students. This decision cannot be made in haste. Ideally, you should start considering different options at the beginning of the term. However, even when there are only few weeks left before the deadline and you have not chosen a particular topic yet, there is no need to panic.

There are few areas in business studies that can offer interesting topics due to their dynamic nature. The following is the list of research areas and topics that can prove to be insightful in terms of assisting you to choose your own dissertation topic.

Globalization can be a relevant topic for many business and economics dissertations. Forces of globalization are nowadays greater than ever before and dissertations can address the implications of these forces to the various aspects of business.

Following are few examples of research areas in globalization:

  • The role of globalization into the emergence of global financial and economic crisis of 2007-2009
  • Impacts of globalization on marketing strategies of beverage manufacturing companies: a case study of The Coca-Cola Company
  • Effects of labour migration within EU on the formation of multicultural teams in UK organizations
  • A study into advantages and disadvantages of various entry strategies to Chinese market
  • A critical analysis of the effects of globalization on US-based businesses

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is also one of the most popular topics at present. CSR refers to the additional responsibilities of business organizations towards society apart from profit maximization. There is a high level of controversy involved in CSR. This is because businesses can be socially responsible only at the expense of their primary objective of profit maximization.

Perspective researches in the area of CSR may include the following:

  • The impacts of CSR programs and initiative on brand image: a case study of McDonald’s India
  • A critical analysis of argument of mandatory CSR for private sector organizations in Australia
  • A study into contradictions between CSR program and initiatives and business practices: a case study of Philip Morris Philippines
  • A critical analysis into the role of CSR as an effective marketing tool
  • A study into the role of workplace Ethics for improving brand image

Social Media and viral marketing relate to increasing numbers of various social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. Increasing levels of popularity of social media among various age groups create tremendous potential for businesses in terms of attracting new customers.

The following can be listed as perspective researches in the area of social media:

  • A critical analysis of the use of social media as a marketing strategy: a case study of Burger King Malaysia
  • An assessment of the role of Facebook as an effective platform for viral marketing campaigns
  • A study into the sustainability of viral marketing as a marketing tool in the future
  • An investigation into the new ways of customer relationship management in mobile marketing environment: a case study of catering industry in South Africa
  • A study into integration of Twitter social networking website within integrated marketing communication strategy: a case study of Microsoft Corporation

Culture and cultural differences in organizations offer many research opportunities. Increasing importance of culture is directly related to intensifying forces of globalization in a way that globalization forces are fuelling the formation of cross-cultural teams in organizations.

Perspective researches in the area of culture and cultural differences in organizations may include the following:

  • The impact of cross-cultural differences on organizational communication: a case study of BP
  • A study into skills and competencies needed to manage multicultural teams in Singapore
  • The role of cross-cultural differences on perception of marketing communication messages in the global marketplace: a case study of Apple Inc.
  • Effects of organizational culture on achieving its aims and objectives: a case study of Virgin Atlantic
  • A critical analysis into the emergence of global culture and its implications in local automobile manufacturers in Germany

Leadership and leadership in organizations has been a popular topic among researchers for many decades by now. However, the importance of this topic may be greater now than ever before. This is because rapid technological developments, forces of globalization and a set of other factors have caused markets to become highly competitive, and accordingly, leadership is important in order to enhance competitive advantages of organizations in many ways.

The following studies can be conducted in the area of leadership:

  • Born or bred: revising The Great Man theory of leadership in the 21st century
  • A study of effectiveness of servant leadership style in public sector organizations in Hong Kong
  • Creativity as the main trait for modern leaders: a critical analysis
  • A study into the importance of role models in contributing to long-term growth of private sector organizations: a case study of General Electric
  • A critical analysis of leadership skills and competencies for E-Commerce organizations

Global financial and economic crisis of 2007-2009 and its macro and micro-economic implications can make  for a good dissertation topic. Although almost a decade has passed since the crisis, its memory is still fresh and various aspects of the crisis and its implications remain unaddressed from an academic point of view.

The following are few examples for crisis-related topics:

  • Effects of the global financial and economic crisis of 2007-2009 on research and development practices in consumer electronics industry
  • What we have learned? Reasons and implications of the global financial and economic crisis of 2007-2009 revisited
  • A critical assessment of the role of US Federal Reserve in the emergence of the global financial and economic crisis of 2007-2009

Moreover, dissertations can be written in a wide range of additional areas such as customer services, supply-chain management, consumer behaviour, human resources management, catering and hospitality, strategic management etc. depending on your professional and personal interests.

[1] Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2012) “Research Methods for Business Students” 6th edition, Pearson Education Limited.


Selecting Research AreaMy e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Dissertation in Business Studies: a step by step assistance offers practical assistance to complete a dissertation with minimum or no stress. The e-book covers all stages of writing a dissertation starting from the selection to the research area to submitting the completed version of the work within the deadline.


John Dudovskiy