25 Sociology Dissertation Ideas Ripe for the Taking

Choosing a sociology dissertation topic can be so hard!

It is a decision that you’re going to have to live with for a long time to come.

My biggest advice is: just pick a topic! There are pros and cons of all topics – so just choose one.

sociology dissertation topic ideas

Just pick a topic that’s small, manageable, and interesting to you.

Some good sociology dissertation ideas are:

  • What is the Evidence for the Gender Pay Gap in Western Nations?
  • What is the difference in Dominant National Identity Narratives between two Nations?
  • What are Trans people’s Perceptions of Facebook Support Pages for LGBTQI People?
  • What are the unique Challenges Facing Disabled People in Public Spaces?
  • How can Sports help new Immigrants develop Social Capital?

Below is a full list of 25 different sociology dissertation ideas.

Read Also: What is a Dissertation?

Sociology Dissertation Topic Ideas

Gender Topics

1. What is the Evidence for the Gender Pay Gap in Western Nations?

  • Methodology: Secondary Research / Literature Review
  • Pro: No need to conduct primary research
  • Con: A lot of reading
  • My Thoughts: Keep it broad to ‘western nations’ to get enough research papers to analyze

2. What Barriers to Success do Women Face in Male Dominated Workplaces?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Interviewing Women
  • Pro: You get to conduct original research
  • Con: Requires ethics approval and phoning around to find research participants
  • My Thoughts: You will need to select certain workforces in your region

3. What are Current Social Perceptions of Affirmative Action in the Workplace?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Interviewing Men and Women
  • Pro: Easy to conduct an internet survey in the age of twitter
  • Con: Requires ethics approval
  • My Thoughts: For this project, start by exploring my list of affirmative action pros and cons

4. How does the Media Represent Femininity in Television Advertisements?

  • Methodology: Discourse Analysis / Semiotic Analysis of Advertising. Consider also using the social graces concept to add a more analytical lens.
  • Pro: Usually no need to get ethics approval for text-based research
  • Con: This has been done a lot, so set it to your current year and compare it to past results to see if there have been changes in representation

5. What unique Perspectives do Women’s Accounts of History Provide for Re-Thinking the History of the Nation?

  • Methodology: Discourse analysis of recent history texts by women
  • My Thoughts: Define a timeframe for your analysis to make it manageable (e.g. ‘Women’s history books published between 2015 – 2020)
  • Also: The textual analysis should highlight how Women’s accounts add new methods / information / perspectives to accounts of history

Race Topics

6. What are the Unique Needs of Social Workers when working with Minority Youths as Risk?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Interviews of Social Workers
  • Pro: Conduct original research in your area
  • Con: Requires contacting and finding time to interview social workers
  • My Thoughts: Ensure you cross-check your interview questions with your dissertation supervisor

7. What Barriers do Minority Immigrants face when Settling into US / UK / etc. Society?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Interviewing new Immigrants
  • My Thoughts: You can define it to your particular region to narrow the scope of the research. Preface your analysis with an overview of theories of racism and explain how those theories frame your research

8. What is the Relationship between Race and Educational Outcomes in the past 10 Years?

  • Methodology: Secondary Research / Literature Review. Look at all studies from the past 10 years to try to identify trends in the data
  • Pro: No need to do interviews
  • Con: Lots of reading and analysis

Social Class Topics

9. What are the Issues and Concerns facing First Generation University Students?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Interviews
  • Pro: Very easy to find university students to interview
  • Con: Requires ethics approval
  • My Thoughts: I like topics involving interviewing university students because it is so easy to find people to interview – you don’t need to do a lot of awkward cold calling around to find people. Just put up a flyer around campus!

10. What Barriers do Working Class People Face when looking for Jobs after University?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Interviews
  • Pro: You may be able to use your university network to find recent working-class grads to interview.
  • Con: Requires ethics approval and finding research participants.
  • My Thoughts: This is an interesting topic that I think is under-examined. Use Bourdieu’s concepts of social and cultural capital to frame your analysis.

11. How did US Democratic Candidates Appeal to Social Class during the 2020 Democratic Primary Race?

  • Methodology: Discourse / Textual analysis.
  • Pro: Easy to find texts to analyze using Google and YouTube searches.
  • Con: Check with your dissertation supervisor to see if they’re on board.
  • My Thoughts: It would be a very interesting analysis comparing the ‘moderates’ to the sorts of messages put out by Bernie Sanders’ campaign during that primary. Search YouTube for their campaign videos.

12. What are the Differences in Youth Cultures Between Working- and Middle- Class Youths?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Interviews.
  • Pro: An intriguing topic for a motivated research student to tackle.
  • Con: It may be hard to find young people to interview and this causes difficulties during your ethics review.
  • My Thoughts: An interesting topic with a lot of background research (particularly from the UK) which can frame your literature review.

Read Also: What is Thick Description in Research?

Sexuality Topics

13. What are the Self-Reported Challenges that LGBT Youths face when Coming Out to Friends?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Interviews.
  • Pro: A clean and manageable topic for a dissertation.
  • Con: Interviewing vulnerable youths may require additional ethics requirements.
  • My Thoughts: A really interesting topic that could become a very interesting analysis.

14. What are key cultural differences between Working-Class and Middle-Class LGBT Youths?

  • Methodology: Either Primary or Secondary Research
  • Pro: Crosses the intersectional boundaries of social class and sexuality, which can lead to some great analysis.
  • Con: It might be hard to find research participants, so consider doing a systematic literature review instead to try to find trends across existing datasets.

15. What are Transgender people’s Perceptions of Social Change in the past 10 years?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Questionnaire.
  • Pro: You could find transgender people to do your questionnaire through facebook groups and other online forums.
  • My Thoughts: Use the internet to seek out groups of transgender people that may participate in an online questionnaire.

16. What are Trans people’s Perceptions of Facebook Support Pages for LGBTQI+ People?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Questionnaire.
  • Pro: You could find trans people to participate in the interviews through the Facebook support pages.
  • My Thoughts: I would suspect there will be a variety of different responses which could lead to some interesting analysis.

Disability Topics

17. What are the unique Challenges Facing Disabled People in Public Spaces?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Interviews.
  • Pro: I think it would be easy to find research participants on various online forums for this one
  • Con: Will require ethics review before you start the study.
  • My Thoughts: I would frame this discussion around the social vs. medical models of disability and use that as a basis for my analysis.

18. How do People with Disabilities Perceive the value of Facebook Support Groups?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Interviews.
  • Pro: The logical place to find participants would be within the Facebook groups themselves.
  • Con: Will require ethics review before starting the study.
  • My Thoughts: This would be another very interesting analysis that is manageable and won’t grow too large to complete in time.

19. How do Television Advertisements Represent Disabled People?

  • Methodology: Discourse / Textual Analysis
  • Pro: No need to wait for ethics approval – you could get started right away.
  • Con: It’s a pretty commonly done study, so some students may be turned off that it isn’t as unique as others on this list.
  • My Thoughts: Select a date range for adverts to look at and seek out advertisements via national video archives, YouTube, or by recording television advertising on strategic dates over a 1 month period.

Sports Sociology Topics

20. How can Sports help new Immigrants develop Social Capital?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Interviews
  • Pro: You can easily find participants by linking up with local sporting clubs.
  • My Thoughts: I think this would be a really interesting analysis especially for someone who is a recent immigrant themselves.

21. How have the Olympic Games historically caused Social Justice Concerns in Host Cities?

  • Methodology: Secondary Research / Textual Analysis
  • Pro: No need to get ethics approval usually.
  • Con: Might be hard to find data, but I’m sure google searches will help identify historical newspaper articles on the topic.
  • My Thoughts: It always comes out that some cities are busing homeless people out of cities or doing other nefarious things to make their cities appear cleaner and more upper-class than they really are – so I think this would be something to dig into for an interesting study.

22. What are the Experiences of Female Football Fans at Games?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Interviews
  • Pro: Great for a female student who is a football fan. She might be able to use her networks to find research participants.
  • Con: It still might be hard to find research participants.
  • My Thoughts: I’m not sure what the data would reveal for this one – so it’s be interesting to look into.

Sociology of Nations

23. What is the difference in Dominant National Identity Narratives between two Nations?

  • Methodology: Discourse / Textual Analysis
  • Pro: No need to get ethics approval usually as it doesn’t involve research participants.
  • My Thoughts: I would use Benedict Anderson’s concept of imagined communities for this study and use discourse analysis as my methodology.

24. What are a sample of people’s perceptions of the meaning behind the National Flag of a Nation?

  • Methodology: Primary Research / Interviews
  • Pro: It could turn out to be an engaging and visually appealing study.
  • My Thoughts: There have already been some studies done on this, but I think once you do your literature review you’ll be able to find a unique perspective on the issue.

25. How do Nationalist Narratives impact Morning Television Programs in a Given Nation?

  • Methodology: Discourse / Textual Analysis
  • Pro: There is already a lot of information out there on this topic for you to use for your literature review.
  • My Thoughts: Choose your home country / state / city. You can collect data by recording TV programs rather than interviewing people.

How to Choose a Dissertation Topic

The most important things to keep in mind when choosing your dissertation topic are:

1. Something you like.

Make sure you choose a topic you find interesting. Don’t worry if it’s over-done as you can always find a unique angle. You’ll start reading articles and textbooks about the topic and find a unique angle for your own study.

2. Something you know a bit about.

I’ll often have students come to me and say “I don’t know what to do for my dissertation!” I’ll often respond by saying: “Well, what was your favorite paper you wrote in your degree that you really enjoyed?” All you have to do is dig deeper on that topic you’re already interested in and know a bit about.

3. Something small and manageable.

Make it small. You’re not going to get a Nobel Prize for your dissertation. Too many students try to create a huge, mind-bending dissertation. No, the best thing to do is bring it back down to earth and do something small. It’ll grow and grow and you’ll constantly need to keep bring it back down to size – so start small in the first place.

4. Something your dissertation supervisor can help you with.

Every dissertation supervisor has strengths and weaknesses. Talk to your dissertation supervisor about their expertise. They will be experts in certain types of methods and they will have their own topics that they’re experts in, too. If you work within your supervisor’s wheelhouse, you’ll always have an expert to lean on for help.

How to Structure a Sociology Dissertation

Most dissertations follow a similar structure, but make sure you check with your dissertation supervisor in case there are specific requirements within your school.

A typical sociology dissertation follows the following structure:

1. Introduction

The introduction should give a fly-by of the topic, show what your contribution is, and outline the key points in each section to follow. I encourage my students to write their introductions last – it’ll be easier to write it at the end.

2. Literature Review

The literature review gives a background on what has already been written on the topic. It outlines existing themes in the current research, then shows how you will build on previous studies to present something new and interesting.

3. Theoretical Framework (Optional)

This is optional, and may not be expected by your school. A theoretical framework outlines the lens through which you will look at the topic (e.g. feminism, postmodernism, etc.). If you are studying social class, you might talk about Bourdieu’s theory of capital here. If you are studying nationalism, you might talk about Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities concept. If you are studying race, you might outline Said’s concept of Orientalism, and so on. Explain all the theoretical perspectives you will use to analyze the data.

4. Methodology

This section explains how you will collect and analyze the data. Common methodologies include qualitative and quantitative analysis. Common methods include grounded research, interviews or questionnaires, discourse analysis, social semiotics, etc. You will also use this section to outline your ethics procedures and how you ensure your data is reliable.

5. Data Analysis

In the analysis section you present the data you collected in themes. Some research traditions blend analysis and discussion, while others separate out the analysis and discussion. If you separate them out, this section may be quite short. Check with your dissertation supervisor for guidance.

Go Deeper: 15 Data Analysis Examples

6. Discussion

The discussion gives your perspective on what the data reveals. You may blend the discussion and analysis, or you may write them separately. If you are using a theoretical framework, you will bring that framework to bear when analyzing the data by making statements like: “From a feminist perspective, this data shows…”

7. Conclusion

The conclusion should sum up your key findings, outline strengths and shortcomings of your study, and what the implications of the study would be. Good conclusions also state what future lines of research should be so you are leaving the door open for future research.

Final Thoughts

I hope this list of sociology dissertation ideas has been useful to you! I’d encourage you to choose a topic that interests you and change it so it is a topic you’re comfortable with (remember: consult your dissertation supervisor for help).

Read Also: 53 Best Education Dissertation Topic Ideas

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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