At the beginning of 2009 I will be starting my MSc research project and dissertation. By then I need to have decided on, applied for, and been accepted for a project topic. Even now the choice is becoming quite tricky.
I am studying with The Open University, and the research project and dissertation is module M801. The university provides a selection of pre-approved topics, each of which has a limited number of student places, or I may propose a research topic of my own. In past years I have taken a look at the pre-approved topics, and not found any of them very exciting or interesting. In the back of my mind I had a small collection of ideas, one of which I planned to select and propose.
Now, however, I find that one of the university-proposed topics is nicely aligned with my background skills and experience, and looks like it might even be fun to do. This leaves me with a dilemma – apply for the pre-approved topic (and do it quick, as there are only a very small number of places available), or continue with my original plan.
For interest, the pre-approved proposal is titled Improved user interfaces for private family wikis and would nicely build on both my work with my open-source Wiki (“Friki“) and one of the two OU modules I studied (and enjoyed) most recently, M873 (“User interface design and evaluation”).
My top contender for a proposal was probably something along the lines of deriving an ontology of mechanisms for populating dynamic web pages, although other I have also considered some other ideas such as trying to determine the effect of educational assessment instruments and techniques on the development of implicit software development practices.
Choices, choices. What to do?