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How did you choose your dissertation topic/major professor?

night wind

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I just finished my master in sociology at a program ranked about 40-50 and will continue for Phd there. My MA thesis is about social network and inequality in China. My major professor is mainly interested in social networks. I have also done some research on religion in China with a Chinese professor in our dept and find it interesting. We are required to choose the chair for our dissertation committee by the end of next semester, but right now I do not know which professor to choose and what topic shall I focus on.

I majored in another subject during undergrad and I switched to sociology with little background in sociology. When I switched to soc, I had a broad interest in social inequaltiy and Chinese societies. I thought I would figure out what specific subject I am mostly interested in studying along the way. In the past two years when I was working toward my MA, I have taken courses and done some research on social networks and religion. I find social network and religion in China interesting, but the problem is that I am not sure whether I am interestd enough to write my dissertation on it/them. I feel like I have not find my identity as a scholar in sociology. And there are not many professors/areas of interests to choose from in our dept.

So my questions are:

How did you choose your dissertation topic/major professor? Did you have a perfectly clear idea before you start grad school or did you figure it out along the way?

Have you done a lot research on relevant topics before you decide your dissertation topic?

Can you offer some suggestions to me on how to narrow down my interests and prepare for my dissertation?

When the interests of the professors in your dept were not a perfect fit with yours, to what extent do you "pander to" the interests of your major professor or stick to what you are interested in?

I guess there are enough questions. I am really worried now and I would appreciate any helpful comments or suggestions. Thank you for your time!

Edited by night wind
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