How to choose a development communication thesis topic

3 12 2008

My last three posts on communication thesis topics elicited more queries and emails from students than I had anticipated. Some of the emails were:

“Hello ma’am, i’m thinking of fraternities for thesis topic. what do you think about this? how students react towards it? why did they join? how it affects their studies? what is their perception on this? and im also thinking of call centers maa’m, ano ba yong perception ng mga students sa mga call centers ngaun? what do you think maa’m pwede ba to? my problem maam is i dont know how to state this for titles. and im also interested in this topic maam “Mobile Phone Text Messaging Overuse among Developing World University Students” the one youve posted  in Devcompage. I  really need your help maam and suggestions on my proposed ideas.”

“Ma’am, if at all possible, could you suggest possible topics related to economics (macroeconomics)?  My sister is doing her thesis as well this semester.” 

“What if ma’am i make i study on the students’ preference of research reference–internet or library. It’s all about their access and what they trust most. I hope ma’am it’s ok.”

“Here are our proposed thesis topics:

Student A
Effectiveness of concept notes or note taking alone in the process of learning
Effects of social networks in the  communication skills of the youth today
What pushes or urges the youth to contribute  or share their life stories in teens’ books (chicken soup for teens, chocolate for a teens’ dream).

Student B
Perceptions of the youth towards homosexual relationship
Effects of alcohol towards the youth in handling their problems
How does internet addiction influence the youth of today?

While the emails indicated an openness to consult the teacher, they also elicited an exasperated response from me. The list of  U.S. mass communication and journalism thesis abstracts is meant to give research ideas to the student. It is absolutely not to be copied and pasted in toto as there are Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues involved.

A student can take one current issue (e.g., melamine contamination in milk, methathione controversy, climate change, farm waste management, mining) and come up with any of these topics : 1) framing of the issue online, 2) framing of the issue in national newspapers, 3) mothers’ risk perceptions of melamine in milk, 4) rural mothers’ awareness of food safety issues, 5) information needs on each of these issues, etc. Based on these variations, one can  have 25 possible thesis topics to choose from and discuss with the thesis adviser.

We used this approach in our DC198 class and I was amazed at the list of acceptable thesis topics that my students discussed with me. Indeed, it helps to read up on the current issues of the day to get ideas for thesis topics. Creativity has no boundaries.

Hint: Readers should read the comments in Thesis/Research Coach of Devcompage as it is a rich source of thesis topics.



73 responses

10 12 2008
Nelfa M. Glova

This is a good post as finding a research topic seems to be a problem for most of us students. The mention here of looking at risk perceptions of melamine contamination in milk reaffirmed my desire to deconstruct the media discourse on the issue.

I agree with Ma’am Moni, there is a wide field to do research in the field of communication to the person who reads and watch the world around him/her with keen interest. Some of the paddies are ripe for inquiries, some waiting for the critical young researcher to blaze the trail and cut the grasses, so to speak. If one reads he/she would be able to spot gaps within what has been known and the unknown that is worth looking into.

I would like to add to the possible researchable areas in communication that Ma’am Moni put forward. The political economy and the media is still a not fully explored area of research. For example, as Dr. Enriquez of UPD-CMC said, ABS-CBN is no longer just a news-entertainment network today it is controlling other businesses even branching into environmental and child rescue advocacies. It would be worthwhile to look at its role in the political powerplay . Research is also ripe along the post-modernist/post-structuralist tradition. One could look at the dominant themes/ideologies imbedded in media messages and its implications on body image formation among adolescents. One could also deconstruct the media discourse of aging or towards marginalized groups in society in the light of Foucault’s theory of the included and the excluded. Provider-patient communication in sensitive cases like TB also deserves to be looked at especially that communication breakdown between them has a corresponding cost. One can use the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS) developed by Dr. Debra Roter in analyzing verbal utterances and tonal quality of interaction between them. With the guidance of an advisor, the student can learn how to use the RIAS.

31 07 2009

mam.. my topic is all about the impact of behaviors and attitudes of radio disc jockeys towards motivation of the students to listen them..

do you have any idea for the title?

31 07 2009
monina escalada

Aldrin, what is your research question or what are you trying to find out? Once you have sorted this out then it’s easier to improve your thesis title. What do you mean by behavior and attitude of radio disc jockeys? Attitude towards what? How will you measure behavior and attitudes of disc jockeys?

Let me know the answers to the questions I have raised so I can help you frame your research question.

Good luck. I hope to hear from you again.

14 08 2009
Writing the thesis outline: research methodology «

[…] How to choose a development communication thesis topic […]

27 09 2009
emma mutua

I need to prepare a proposal for mu thesis on a relevant topic on development communication with a focus in Kenya. any ideas on a viable topic?

27 09 2009
emma mutua

I need to prepare a proposal for mu thesis on a relevant topic on development communication with a focus in Kenya. any ideas on a viable topic that would touch on communication and its effect on communication?

27 09 2009
monina escalada

Emma, just read the various posts in Devcompage and also the comments in Thesis/research coach. There you will pick up ideas and insights that will likely help you think about your thesis topic.

Good luck.

3 02 2011
christianne eric orbiso

will you please help me in choosing thesis topics for development communication? tnx! godbless!

9 03 2011

hi I’m already third year college and we already started doing thesis proposal but until now we still don’t have topics , i already used all the the thesis topics you posted here in dev com page but my professor didn’t accept it, ma’am will you please help me to make my thesis topic about issues on Philippine broadcasting or any topics related to my course . i am already frustrated searching for my thesis topics because our mc defense is getting near its already on march 23 and 24.. ma’am pls … tnx

10 03 2011

Daphne, if your professor did not accept the suggested topics in Devcompage, I’m afraid whatever I suggest will be unacceptable. What is your major? What topics are acceptable to your professor?

11 03 2011
Jayson Villagomez

Hi ma’am, im a broadjourn student. I am now in finding my research topic. However, I still do not have a good topic. My prof approve the rhetoric analysis on the inaugural speech of selected Philippine President. But, its too hard to study that and I think it suits for Graduate studies.

Can you help me find a topic on mass media? Comparative/Perception/Contextual study?

12 03 2011

Jayson, what broadcasting journalism topics are you interested in? You need to read the research that has been done on that area to find out gaps in knowledge that your thesis could fill. Read previous theses, journal articles, papers, reports, books, etc. You can Google that topic to find links to online materials.

Good luck.

13 03 2011
Jayson Villagomez

Ma’am, I want to assess the expertise of campus journalists in writing and practicing the freedom of the press at a college level. In addition, I want to know the growth or development programs that writers(editorial board)take,if it is enough for them. If not, I want to provide a choices of trainings they may get and a list of skills needed that a journalist should have.

My topic is “Writing effectively: A study on the expertise of campus journalists in selected Colleges in Cavite”

14 03 2011

Jayson, how will you measure writing effectively and exercising freedom of the press? Freedom of the press may be a non-issue as campus papers are covered by RA 7079, the campus journalism act of 1991.

13 03 2011
Jayson Villagomez

Do you think this study has already been done?

ma’am, my statement of the problem is how effective are the campus journalists in exercising freedom of the press and writing effectively?

14 03 2011
Jayson Villagomez

Ah, Thank you to comment ma’am.

What if my Study is on the impact/effect of development programs for campus journalist in selected colleges in cavite?

I will give surveys to writers and take in-depth interviews with writers and advisers. I will study the programs they receive for skill development whether it is enough for them or not

14 03 2011

Jayson, what is it in journalism are you passionate about? Have you read research papers in journals like Plaridel, Journalism Quarterly, etc.? Check these links below for journalism studies:

15 03 2011
Jayson Villagomez

Ma’am, I want to study the effect of trainings and development programs to campus journalist for responsible journalism (ethical values).

Thanks mam for the link. I will surely read it.

2 04 2011
Jayson Villagomez

Ma’am, I just had a defense yesterday on my topic. Sadly, my study has been refocused from “Responsible Campus Journalism: An assessment on the Lasallian School Press COnference of cmapus journalists in selected Lasallian schools” into “An assessment on Responsible Campus Journalism Practices of selected Tertiary Lasalle Schools”
However ma’am, im confused what practices means and i cant formulate my statement of the problem. Ma’am, what do you think should I do?

4 04 2011

Jayson, your thesis review panel is absolutely right. The thesis topic you presented is not quite worthy for a thesis as it sounds like a term paper. The topic suggested is much better. The first step is for you to find out what responsible campus journalism practices are. You need to read also the campus journalism act. Do your research, google the web for related studies.

5 04 2011
Jayson Villagomez

Thanks Ma’am. Where can i find locally related studies because my RRL is composed of Foreign studies?
We’ve asked some professors on the subject of practices. They said that we can focus on the ethical values or the editorial boards of the selected universities. Ma’am, do every university has it’s own editorial policy, right?
In addition, Ma’am the campus journalism act of 1991 has many sections. Should we cover it all sections or just pick one and focus on that?
another thing ma’am,should we also have to make a content analysis on the newspapers? I hope ma’am you can help me with my concerns. Thank you again, ma’am.

7 04 2011

Jayson, discuss these details with your thesis adviser. I don’t want to preempt what they want you to do for your thesis.

7 04 2011
Jayson Villagomez

ma’am, i havent found an adviser yet for my thesis. I just ask my professor in COMRES 1 to guide me which is not encouraged. The adviser will take control next school year. But for now, I am preparing my thesis proposal to my prospective adviser and COMRES 2. Ma’am, what do you think is the best theory and method in assessing policies? descriptive? comparative? explorative? Sorry ma’am. I hope you understand my concern. Thank you.

8 04 2011

Jayson, read, read, read.

6 06 2011

Ma’am my thesis topic is about the factors that affects newsframing of community newspaper journalists in calabarzon. I am still confused with my topic. I could not imagine how will i do this thesis topic. Any suggestions?

8 06 2011

Maya, the thesis topic is your choice, isn’t it?

8 07 2011

yes ma’am that’s my choice.however i thinks that my topic was too simple.

4 08 2011

good day mam!

I have a problem regarding my thesis topic, the title is “Influence of Computer Gaming Towards the Academic Performance of the Intermediate Students”..of a particular elementary school..our instructor told me to find another reason that “disturbs’ the academic performance of this students.
But i’m finding it hard to find another reason for ‘computer addiction really is rampant to that school. My moms’ a teacher at that school and she told me about her dilemma that students would cut class just to play computer games and/or would go to internet cafes even late at night.

What’s worst is that, the rate or price per use of these computers are very affordable, even for those who only have five(5) peso coins inside their pockets. For there exist a ‘hulog2x piso’ which literally means that anyone can enjoy playing, surf the net or use the computer for five minutes just by inserting one single peso inside an operated machine.

The purpose of my study is that to regulate the internet cafes in a particular barangay from where this particular school resides.

thanks poand God Bless!

16 08 2011
Harriet Musinguzi

I would like to pursue a PHD in the area of Development communication. My area of focus is on the information gaps and how they affect the realization of set outputs in development programs. Can I be helped to improve on this topic by framing it better.and by any chance, are there funding opportunities because as per now, I want to start by paying for myself expecting that I will get a bail out along the way

17 08 2011

Harriet, as a PhD student you need to read, read and read. Read on what has been done in your area of interest to learn what the gaps are. Funding opportunities are often linked to the priority concerns of donors. For instance, if you were going to do research on biodiversity conservation in rice or sustainable land use in rice environments or health communication, you should be linked to a research program on such topics. Often, it is also knowing the people behind the project and your reputation as a researcher that can facilitate tapping funding support.

12 10 2011
Harriet Musinguzi

Thanks for the response

1 12 2011

good day ma’am my research topic is how blogs and facebook influence the awareness and opinion of people about current issues. my problem is my prof does’nt accept it and asks me where’s the devcom in there.

2 12 2011

Jamie, you need to emphasize the devcom angle of your proposed research. Thesis advisers and professors will always raise that question. So what’s the devcom part of your topic? Instead of “awareness and opinion of people about current issues” focus on its other uses — as a learning resource, etc. Read the work of Dr. Kaye Sweetser. In other words, review the research literature on you topic — what has already been done so you might find inspiration there.

9 12 2011

Is it difficult to choose “New media” as an area for research topic. Do all research need huge data or information?

9 12 2011

Nicy, research is not about the volumes of data you crank out. It is about raising a good research question and finding answers to it through the scientific method.

13 12 2011

Hi Ms. Moni. It’s been a month already and I am rather frustrated in coming up with a relevant postgrad thesis proposal. I am taking my postgrad degree in DevCom at UPOU, and I am a beginner in thesis writing independently, during college, thesis was a group effort.I feel I’m the most troubled for I can’t seem to figure out a topic. I was advised to figure out my interests, fashion ranks 1st hence I tried the Success Indicators of Marikina City as a Tourist Destination”. Imelda Marcos has been quoted in most fashion books I read, with her shoe collection and it has always piqued my interest; Marikina is the shoe capital of the Philippines why can’t they be given the opportunity to supply items to brands and big dept stores? Is it only because of the minimum labor China offers? I am not from Marikina though but this keeps me intrigued.
I also wanted to know if the Phils can have a place in the fashion world, i could include a comparison of fashion capitals: New York and Paris, even Tokyo in my study, comparing what we should have to achieve their status. But my former prof told me our fashion is (sadly) incomparable to those of the fashion capitals’ because we are copy cats.

Fashion I believe could help our economy and job opportunities to communities who provide products like abaca, rattan, pina, weave, etc. Wherein fashion could be used to promote local tourism.

She asked me to set aside fashion first. So I am trying to, my 3rd topic which interests me as well is gay rights, and being in the 3rd sex. Inequality. something like a Qualitative Study on the Most Influential Gay Men in the Philippines.

Then again, it may be a lot to argue about. Do you think this would work? I figure it is a developmental issue on inequality.

Are these topics post-grad worthy?

I hope you can give me an advice on this (pls), it has been a month already that I have been thinking about this.

Thank you🙂

14 12 2011

Candy, unfortunately you are doing a graduate degree in Devcom, which means that you are not quite free to tackle topics that are outside the realm of development. Devcom students have to refer to the UN millennium development goals to see where their topic might fall under. I’m afraid q qualitative study on the most influential gay men in the Philippines may not qualify. Read the millennium development goals to draw some inspiration. Visit also: to read excellent illustrations of development communication studies. That can help you get some ideas. Once you have some reading, let me know your likely thesis topics so I can give you my two cents worth of advice. Good luck.

8 02 2012

hi maam, i am a 2nd yr CommRes and having a very hard time thinking of research topics. so far, i had quite a number of topics that got rejected and i even got called “stupid.”
im starting to feel hopeless, deadline for submission of whole chapter 1 will be on monday😦
i need your help. BADLY. thank you, have a nice day.

8 02 2012

Johnraf, what area of communication are you passionate about? Since you’re in a panic situation, here are some topics I also sent to my student. But you need to read related research on any of these:

Engagement in a social networking site to enhance teaching effectiveness of high school teachers in …..
Use, perceptions and effectiveness of Facebook as an academic tool for high school teachers in …….
E-learning benefits from students and teachers’ use of social networking sites in higher education

Michelle, Webb, Marsena, Jerman, James and Witty, James Vince. 201o. Findings on Facebook in higher education: A comparison of college faculty and student uses and perceptions of social networking sites. The Internet and Higher Education. Vol. 13 (3): 134-140.

Adolescents (or Adults) searching for health information on the Internet

Health attitudes, health cognitions, and health behaviors among Internet health information seekers

Consumer health information seeking on the Internet

Credibility of online health information sources: Differences in demographics and health beliefs
This study examines consumer evaluation of sources of health information on the World Wide Web, comparing the demographic, attitudinal, and cognitive differences between individuals that most trust a particular source of information and individuals that do not trust the specific source of health information. Comparisons are made across a variety of sources.

8 02 2012
Ishmita Moorar

Hi maam, i want to my thesis on the digital age – Communication styles of today’s youth. How shall i proceed?

8 02 2012

Ishmita, the first step is to read related research reports, journal articles, books, theses and papers on the subject.

16 03 2012

Hi maam, I am a final year student and still in panic to find my research project for my thesis

Now, I have 2 topic to offer
a. it’s about violence in news related to getting pleasure of the audience, or
b. The mixing concept radio tv on tv program in Indonesia, could i submit the mediamorfosis concept here?

17 03 2012

Amanda, I don’t quite understand how violence in the news will be measure and how it relates to getting pleasure from the audience. What do you mean?

22 06 2012

Hello Ma’am. I was reading the posts here hoping to find a topic that might interest me in conducting my master’s thesis in DevCom. I found many good topics here but I cannot see any that will help a particular community. I really want to conduct a study in which the community is directly involved or a topic that will bring about “development” to a chosen community. However, my ideas are so scattered that I cannot think of any feasible issue about participative researches. Could you please help me in deciding about a topic I could work on? Thanks Ma’am.

1 02 2013

Ma’am, gud day.Just wanna ask how could i connect communication on the socio-economic status of mangyans. thank you ma’am. God bless.

6 02 2013

Nyssa, I don’t have the answer to your question. You can look at communication patterns among the Mangyans but unless there is an on-going development program using communication where the Mangyans are participants, it will not make sense to related communication with socio-economic status. Besides, it will be difficult to reliably measure the influence of communication on socio-economic status, whether one is a Mangyan or non-Mangyan. Think about it.

12 02 2013

ma’am, could it be possible if i pursue needs assessment on their socio-economic status, and from that i’ll formulate a devcom tool? thank you ma’am. God bless.

25 02 2013

hi ma;am, my thesis topic is knowledge of baranagy captains in anti-social ordinance and as of now i cannot start may chapter 1. can you help me to make an outline how to make my problem and it’s background? thank you.

2 03 2013

Kim, are you a communication or devcom student? Your topic, “Knowledge of barangay captains on anti-social (??) ordinance does not reflect communication variables.

2 03 2013

yes mam I’m Devcom student. My final title is Knowledge of Batangas City’s Barangay Captain on Anti-Social Behavior : An Input for a Communication Material.

4 03 2013

Kim, the title or topic is not worthy for a thesis. Let your thesis professor or adviser contact me and we can discuss why not. My email address is:

4 03 2013

thank you po ma’aam.
I’ve come up with a new thesis topoic which is Needs Assessment on the socio-economic status of Mangyans: An input for development communication material.
Do you think this one is okay? Thank you po and God bless.

7 03 2013

Isel, sorry but no pa rin. Your thesis can just be on the socio-economic status of the Mangyans. But where is the communication perspective in this thesis topic?

12 03 2013

hi ma’am, i’m from Aceh, and now i’m trying to make a proposal post grdt thesis. as a development city, especially after conflict and tsunami, mass media is one of important machine to en role development communication. what do you think the best topic of communication development in aceh that i should take to made it an interesting study?
thanks for your help

15 03 2013

Sara, what is your specific research problem about tsunami, conflict and the mass media in Aceh?

23 05 2013

hi, kindly check this topic out, investigation of ict on edecational experience of elementary school pupils

17 06 2013

Dan, what do you mean by ‘ICT on educational experience” of elementary school pupils?

31 05 2013

madam pls i need a topic on maternal mortality for my thesis how do i formulate one? thanks

17 06 2013

Nana, is this for a communication or public health thesis?

21 06 2013
Nitchie Go

Hi Ma’am, I didn’t know such website exist🙂 i’m so glad I came cross your site. I’d like to inquire for a possible topic for communication research as well. I’ve changed my research topic for multiple times already. Almost all the ideas I can come up with focuses more on Psychology and not Communication. Professors always tell me to draw a topic from my interest. But its either the topic is “reaallly old” or its not really focused on communication. Anyway, im starting from scratch again, and I received a good tip. I’m planning to focus on Feature Writing or Blogging, hope you could give me some good suggestions on what to research about these areas.🙂 thanks.

29 06 2013

Nitchie, you need to read up on research reports, journal articles, theses, etc. related to the thesis topic of your choice. What is it about feature writing or blogging do you want to examine?

6 12 2013

Hi mam! I’m actually having trouble thinking of a topic for my communication research. Any suggestions? I am really rooting for your reply.

13 12 2013
Meby Morales

hai ma’am . good day!

we are having a hard time to think of our thesis title. We are thinking a topic about the Disaster Preparedness or Awareness Of Super Typhoon Haiyan Victims in the Northern Part of Cebu. Do you have any suggestion for a possible title to our chosen topic?


13 12 2013
Meby Morales

hai ma’am . good day!

we are having a hard time to think of our thesis title. We are thinking a topic about the Disaster Preparedness or Awareness Of Super Typhoon Haiyan Victims in the Northern Part of Cebu. Do you have any suggestion for a possible title to our chosen topic?

thank you for response!

3 02 2014

Good day ma’am, please I want to write on recycling waste issues for my environmental communication project and also a very interesting developmental issue for my development communication project, i am so lost on how to write or formulate a topic. Please I need your help, thank you…..

11 02 2014
mary krezelle mamon

hello ma’am. i’m really having a hard time formulating a topic for my thesis. my adviser wanted me to study about media, or movies. since i am a devcom student, i want to study topics that would fit my field of interests. the problem is, almost all of the topics i’m interested in is already taken up by my classmates. but i would also like to take up my adviser’s advise to study about media, but i really don’t know what specific “area/s” of media i would study about.

24 02 2014

hello ma’am! it’s been a year since the last time i’ve visited your page.. i am already a graduate of mass comm and i thought i won’t do any research again.. but they are requiring us to have at least a research proposal, which i will be pushing through if i’m gonna enroll my masters. could you give me any idea of a research proposal which is trendy today? thaks and godbless!

16 03 2014
Tina Yons

pls ma, am a master’s student in devcom and am looking for assistance on how to get thesis topic. am really confuse. my areas of interest is community, mass media in community development and culture.

24 06 2014

Hi Ma’am,

I sent you an email. I hope that’s ok with you. I’m a bit shy to leave a comment here for the whole world to see….

30 06 2014

Mitzi, I already replied to your email and suggested what you need.

24 02 2016

hi guys can you please help me , I have here with me my friend who want to write a topic about how fraternities affects the behavior of their members or any topic that could be related with how fraternities build a strong bond with their members or in contrast , what is the essence of them joining it, a topic that even fratmans and non fratmans can relate… please help thanks

31 03 2016

Good day Ma’am, I am in the midst of developing my thesis and your site has really been a great help during the process. I have a question regarding the methodology. My topic is: The use of Dynamic Equivalence in translating Devcom materials as an effective method in translation; producing the same effect or close possible as the original. How do I go about the methodology? I am a bit confused if I do just sample works and compare or do I have to do surveys as well? Thank you! Mia

27 06 2016
Lyza tahum

Hello Ma’am I’m actually having a hard time thinking of a topic for my communication research. Any suggestions? I am really rooting for your reply.

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