Choosing a thesis topic

This is how to do it!

Before you start writing a thesis, you have to make an important decision: choosing your thesis topic. You will be working on this topic for a long time. So, it is important that you are passionate about it and that there is enough for you to research! How do you find a suitable thesis topic? What criteria must a good topic meet? What do you do if you are feeling uninspired? 

Your thesis topic (also referred to as 'research topic') guides your overall thesis. Your problem statement and your research questions arise from this topic. Your research topic also partly determines what your research will look like. Literature research is better suited to certain subjects, while others are better explored by conducting surveys or in-depth interviews.

Sometimes your client can suggest a thesis topic. This is, of course, only the case if you are writing your thesis for a company or organisation. With a university thesis, sometimes you can choose from a list of existing topics, but you may also have to come up with a topic yourself.

Choosing a practice-oriented or scientific thesis topic?

For an hbo thesis, you will usually choose a practice-oriented thesis topic. With this, you delve into a concrete problem that your client or internship company is facing. Your research is intended to explore the problem and possible solutions in more depth, and to come up with an advice plan.

A university thesis takes on a scientific approach. You can also write your university thesis for a client or an internship, but the focus will then still be on a scientific issue. 

Examples of thesis topics

To help you begin choosing your topic, we have collected a few examples of topics for both HBO and university theses.


Examples thesis topics: hbo

Examples thesis topics: University

Social media marketing at AthenaCheck

Effective social media marketing for thesis proofing services

Addressing patients with 'u' or 'je' at Praktijk Groen in Dordrecht

Exploring how to properly address patients at the GP

Conducting more efficient conversations regarding complaints at T-Mobile

Making handling complaints more efficient


As you can see, these topic examples are not all equally specific. When determining your problem statement and research question, you can further define your topics.

What criteria must a good thesis topic meet?

First, it is important that you are happy with your chosen topic. Make sure you like this topic enough to dive into it for at least three to six months. Of course, that's not all that matters.

 Pay attention to the following points when you choose a research topic:

  • The thesis topic must match your study programme.
  • There should be enough literature available on your subject. This is especially important for your theoretical framework.
  • The subject must be relevant. For higher professional education theses, the practical relevance of the internship organization counts above all. For a thesis at the university level, scientific relevance is most important. In addition, many educational institutions pay attention to social relevance: to what extent does your research benefit society?
  • Make your topic specific. 'Marketing trends,' for example, is too broad a subject. A topic like 'trends in social media marketing at hospitals' is more specific and therefore better.

Don't worry: your thesis supervisor can help you choose a thesis topic. They can give you advice on which topics may or may not be suitable.

Tips for choosing a research topic

Before choosing an appropriate thesis topic, you need to do the necessary preliminary work. Does a topic not come to mind spontaneously? Try these six tips to find a good research topic:

  1. Dive into scientific articles or read journals from your field. Look specifically at what researchers mention as suggestions for further research. Is there something in there that you can work with?
  2. Keep an eye on the newspapers and news sites. What's going on right now? Can you think of a research topic using that?
  3. Get inspired by thesis examples from other students from your study program.
  4. Browse through the exam material of interesting courses you have taken. Are there any topics that particularly appeal to you?
  5. Take into account the master's or PhD research that you may want to do. Is there a specific research topic appropriate for this?
  6. Talk about it with your thesis supervisor. They can probably think with you about a topic that suits you.

Don't forget to do some preliminary research if you have a topic idea. This way, you can conclude whether there are enough scientific sources out there for your subject, or if it has been worked on too much already. You want to make sure that you have resources for a literature review, but that your topic is still contributing something to the field. This is important before you start your thesis.

Wanting to have the finishing touches done for you?

Have you completed your thesis after a few months of work? Then, it might be a good idea to let someone else go over your text. Are there spelling errors? Are your sentences clear? Is there a clear common thread in your thesis? The editors of AthenaCheck are happy to check your thesis for you for all of these things.