I've had a couple of ideas that I have gone through without much success. Perhaps it has to do with my initial lack of understand of what a dissertation is. A little research brings me to Purdue's definition (somewhat paraphrased):
A dissertation is a lengthy formal document that argues in defense of a hypothesis. The research performed must be original and substantial and that its essence is critical thinking and not experimental data. Every statement in a dissertation must be supported by either a reference to published scientific literature or by original work. Each statement must be correct and defensible in a logical and scientific sense.Before I started talking with professors, I had the grand idea of writing an application that would data mine publicly available social networking sites and develop a somewhat intricate picture of the person a forensics team was evaluating. However, that is just software development. It's not moving the science of forensics ahead, so the school's advisers shut that topic down.
@itsme_brian what are you interested in and willing to live with for life?
— Sam Liles (@selil) February 16, 2013
Now the goal is to identify a topic that I can write about, enjoy, and make money on during the next 30+ years of my working life. Ideas?