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How to Come Up with a Disquisition Topic

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Finding or creating great topics to write about can be hard. We know exactly how hard. We have also spent time feeling disheartened, staring at blank pages, hoping for exciting words to appear. Being hopeful affects nothing, not even while picking lottery numbers, checking Facebook, or waiting for a train. Only doing something constructive brings results.

This guide will suggest real things to help produce disquisition topic ideas.

Know Why You are Writing

It is good practice to know your ‘why’. You intend to write something impressive and informative – why? A good reason for writing makes all the difference in choosing what to write about. It is most likely as part of a study course, or for work purposes. The finished work will probably be confined to a certain subject.

If doing this for a hobby, there is freedom to write about anything at all, but even that can be difficult because too much choice can be bewildering. Work out your ‘why’ and write it out neatly in a nice clear statement. Say it out loud, tell the universe.

When the universe knows your reason, it will immediately send all the answers you need, perfectly packaged. Maybe not. Let’s uncover some more information first. What do you want to write about?

Are You Writing a Disquisition, Thesis, or Dissertation?

Is a disquisition the right format for the project? Are you familiar with what a disquisition is? See this guide if you want more information. Without going into detail here, these three types of work have different identities, which you can read about in this guide on differences between a disquisition, thesis and dissertation. Is knowing what to write about and why enough to allow writing to start?

It should be, but knowing the subject well might still require that extra ingredient in order to create a big spark when that unique angle of entry into the subject is applied. Presumably you are writing on something you know about but need another aspect that interacts with it, raises curiosity, or provokes people to become your readers.

Knowing the general subject is a great start. If it’s a broad subject, it might be necessary to sweep some parts aside and focus on one aspect. Just like the hobby writer, free to choose anything, having the entire subject of nutrition or online marketing is too big and can be overwhelming. And this also brings indecision.

Both of these will crowd your mind, stifling your ability to work. It’s the feeling of “there’s too much to do” or “the task is too big”. This can prevent work from even starting. Pick something interesting and isolate it.

Will Your Subject Keep Readers Engaged?

The subject should interest the writer before anyone else. Enthusiasm makes a big difference to everything we do. When Van Gogh painted the Mona Lisa, he didn’t get bored and check his Twitter feed every few minutes.

Moreover, J K Rowling wasn’t thinking “this is so dull” while writing Harry Potter books. They loved what they did, and it shines from their work. No one can fake enthusiasm and interest for long, and lacking interest makes everything more difficult.

The finished work might satisfy the writer, but will it also interest the targeted readers? It’s likely to be a specialist subject, but if it’s too specialized, it might reduce readership. The advice here is not to be blinded by passion for the subject, thinking that everyone shares your level of interest.

Is Your Subject General or Obscure?

Consider this about obscure subjects: they might be read by very few people, and there might not be much material on the matter, which could make it difficult to find enough to write. Digging up facts could be very slow. Do you have strong research skills?

What have you written before and were you happy with it? It is possible to repeat that process, only with a different topic. And where did that topic come from? Was it given freely or did it need a big effort to generate it? How can you come up with more ideas?

Coming up with Ideas

Having studied the subject in hand, your mind probably holds the keys to a great topic. How can we get that information out in order to shape it into something wonderful? What about just sitting and thinking?

If not properly directed, it is not very productive; it sounds like meditation. It is worth trying, but is there time to learn to clear your mind and master meditation? To activate creativity, stimulation is preferable to silence.

No two brains are the same, they all respond and react differently, it is what makes us individuals. Some methods for idea generation will work better for some people. For this reason, we need to consider several approaches.

First, we will look at some of the more commonly used methods, starting with mind maps. This method allows the extracting of information from your mind in a random order. But the result is a very organized visual arrangement of information.

How to Mind Map

Start with a central theme, nutrition, for example. This is the broad subject, and it needs narrowing down. Write it in the center of the page. Extend lines from it leading to subcategories: health effects, fruit, vegetables, processed foods, historical, children, adults… Then, from each subcategory, extend more lines, further dividing the topics.

Keep refining each item on the map, watch it grow and see how far it goes. Although going too deep can take you too far from the original theme.

We all process information in three main ways: auditory (words & sounds), visual, and kinaesthetic (senses & feelings). Generally, everyone favors one of them over the other two. A completed mind map is a great visual prompt.

Of course, it contains no new information; it only represents what you know. But you did not hold this information in your head in this format. It’s possible to produce a much bigger version if other people help. Seeing the information this way can help to stimulate new ideas.

Somewhat similar to this is looking through study notes, coursework, and textbooks. There might be parts you have forgotten, parts that were confusing, or were not expounded upon. This practice can provide a prompt for a topic.

Yes – Brainstorming

What idea-generating article would ignore brainstorming? This is generally a group activity; people get together to produce ideas or solve a problem. During brainstorming, participants are invited to offer suggestions, no matter how crazy and unorthodox they first appear. Nothing should be dismissed or ruled out; ideas do not always arrive assembled and ready to use.

The next task is to see if these strange ideas can be formed into useful components. It can be equally fruitful to do this activity with people who do and do not know the subject in question. Those with knowledge of the subject can think further into it, those without are not restricted by the subject’s boundaries.

Surprisingly, some studies show that individual brainstorming can produce more and even better ideas than a group. The downside is that individuals cannot usually develop the ideas so well. And with no group to assist in individual brainstorming, one cannot draw on their wider experience.

While brainstorming has proved itself over decades, it has a drawback: some brainstormers feel intimidated by others in the group. They can feel self-conscious about not being as quick, or concerned that their ideas might get laughed at. A good alternative to try is brainwriting.


Similar to brainstorming, this is a group activity for producing ideas. It differs by being a written exercise, and all ideas are anonymous. Everyone has a pen and paper, there is a five-minute limit to write three ideas each, no matter how strange.

Papers are then passed around, everyone reads what is on their paper, and another five-minute round begins. This time writers are allowed to come up with fresh ideas or add to those already on the paper. After six rounds, the papers are collected and everything is read out and discussed.

Where traditional brainstorming can be quite lively and noisy, giving some people no chance to concentrate on the matter, brainwriting offers quiet time while everyone is writing. If choosing to look into this method, it might be worth also searching for round robin brainstorming; there is very little difference between them.

But what if it is not possible to get together in person with a group to do this?

The answer is: don’t. Like anything nowadays, you can do it online.

Try Online Brainstorming

Yes, like many things, this is now catered for in a virtual setting. As people are so well connected digitally now, if you are not already in touch with others aiming to write something similar, it is easy to find people who are. Form a group and help each other generate topics with online brainstorming. And there are free providers. Talking of ‘free’…

Free Writing

If working with others is not an option, or if working alone is the preferred option, free writing is a good choice. It is similar to individual brainstorming, and done only in written form. It was devised specifically for generating topics.

Focus on the subject, then write – typing or freehand – continuously for 15 minutes, ignoring all spelling and grammar rules. The aim is to write continuously, without stopping at all. If no relevant words come to mind, write filler words, but try to keep them connected to the subject, such as ‘I’m writing about nutrition food and the benefits of good food. I want ideas about nutritious food and anything connected to this subject food glorious food…’ Yes, really.

In simple terms, it pressures the part of the brain that produces words, like squeezing a big tube of toothpaste. Keep the pressure on and focus on the subject. Sooner or later that pressure will push out something good. Compare this with looking at a blank page/screen and waiting for good ideas. This method guarantees there will not be a blank page at the end.

Other Group Methods

Good old ‘bouncing ideas’ off someone else is effective. Just talking to someone about the subject can provoke ideas. The person doesn’t necessarily have to know anything about the subject. In fact, talking to people about the subject might cause them to ask questions you never thought of. Their questions might point towards something people really want to know, or just don’t understand because no one has covered it in existing literature.

Look at Topics Already Used

The existing literature shows what topics have been well used over time, making a list or mind map of these can highlight gaps to explore and exploit. If you find an area where lots of attention has been focused, look into why. Every paper written on a subject increases the subject’s roadmap. As a direct result, this inevitably creates new roads to explore.

Reading recent academic works on your subject, such as dissertations and theses, will be more pertinent. They show where the current focus is. Also, the writers will have been instructed by people still working at the respective universities. It may be possible to get in touch with them for some topic help.

Look at Future Research Directions

Research papers often have a section called Future Research Directions. This is where authors state what they believe to be the next stage of research in that particular subject. Depending on how recently written, that research might not have started or may only just be under way. This is potentially a great way to find writing ideas; you can look around to see if there is any mention of the proposed area of study in academic journals or industry news.

Find Clues in the News

For a non-academic subject, it might be possible to find clues in the news. If writing about current events, for example, where better to look than current news? If it is related to a specific industry, then check trade magazines, and articles online. Also remember that if the subject is academic, there are always businesses and industries surrounding it.

For example, medicine is not just about studying to become a doctor, there is a massive industry around it, and that means massive amounts of text and news will be available.

Pay for a Topic Suggestion Service

If the disquisition deadline is looming, or there is no chance of creating a topic using any of the methods above, there are some excellent topic suggestion services available. But when ordering, there is no infinite list of topics to pick from, they will ask for study details, what the final written work will aim to show, and plenty of other details. The better you explain and describe, the more accurate the suggested topics.

Stay Positive

Your state of mind makes a big difference to the outcome. Panicking and feeling pessimistic are not productive. Having enthusiasm, and confidence that the right idea will come and lead to an excellent disquisition, will really help. Asking the mind to work on a problem sets its problem-solving powers in motion. Your mind works for you – to bring you what you want, even when not actively thinking about it. Keep a pen and paper handy, delivery times vary.

Don’t Just Grab the First One

Even if pressed for time, do not just go with the first idea that comes. Sometimes your creativity will bloom gradually; some reasonable ideas will come at first, and then, unexpectedly, something really good will appear.

There should be at least one good idea that calls out “I’m the one”. Often just part of a topic might come to mind. Keep going, the rest will come. Stopping the thinking work too soon could mean missing out on this.

Knowing if it’s the Right Topic

Before getting into action researching material for the chosen topic, work out whether it is unique or at least covers an as-yet unprobed facet of the subject. This itself requires some work. If writing as part of a study course, discuss the topic idea with tutors or professors.

Otherwise, test the idea on others, see what they think. For specialized subjects, ask the opinions of those who are familiar with it.

Whether writing a disquisition, dissertation, or thesis, it will need to be structured appropriately. This is not covered in this article, but we have a guide dedicated to how to structure a disquisition.

Use What Works for You

Any of these idea-generating methods can create something you can use. Coming up with good ideas is a creative process. Using organized methods doesn’t work for everyone, they feel it is like trying to force the process. Ultimately, it does not matter how the idea comes about, just as long as it does. And they will come about, you have to believe it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1How to come up with a disquisition topic?

Identify your passions, explore current literature, pinpoint gaps in research, and consider real-world problems. Formulate a disquisition topic by merging personal interest with scholarly gaps, ensuring it is specific, relevant, and contributes to existing knowledge in your field.

2What is an example of disquisition?

A disquisition example could be an in-depth analysis of the socio-economic impact of renewable energy policies, exploring their effectiveness, challenges, and implications for sustainable development. The study delves into policy outcomes, contributing valuable insights to energy and environmental research.

3How do you use disquisition in a sentence?

In her disquisition on artificial intelligence ethics, the researcher meticulously examined ethical considerations in algorithmic decision-making, shedding light on potential biases and advocating for responsible AI development to ensure equitable and transparent technological advancements.

4What is the difference between disquisition and exposition?

A disquisition is an in-depth investigation or discussion, often scholarly, while an exposition is a comprehensive explanation or presentation of a topic. Disquisitions delve into analysis, whereas expositions focus on elucidating concepts, making them clearer for the audience.

About Nicolas

Alvin Nicolas is a specialist in disquisition writing, editing, and proofreading, adept at refining and perfecting written works with precision and expertise.