My students say that their biggest challenge is to come up with thesis topics. My view is that if students read widely — theses, journals, books and the web — they can think of new ideas or adapt previously done research. To my horror, I find that many students are defeated by their lack of web searching skills. For instance, a visit to the website of the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication or to the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication of Indiana University will enable one to read the journalism and mass communication abstracts which are organized by level and year starting from 1996 for the Masters and 2002 for Ph.D. From the abstracts and articles, one can adapt some of the topics to the current situation and match it to one’s interest. The simple rule is to choose topics that one is passionate about.
For instance, from my visit to the AEJMC website, I thought of these possible topics and students can spin off many other relevant topics. Just off my head, here they are:
- The Framing of A Food Safety Controversy: How Newspapers Covered the China Melamine Contamination in Milk Issue
- Rural-Urban Differences in Risk Perceptions of the Melamine Milk Contamination Issue
- The Framing of A Climate Change Effects: Newspaper Coverage of Climate Change Stories
- Rural-Urban Differences in Knowledge Gaps on Climate Change
Content Analysis of Scientific Evidence For Herbal Remedies Presented in National Newspapers
- Social Comparison and The Effects Of Advertising Images of Ideal Female Beauty