Because the project lasts so long and delves extensively into its topic, the student should select a topic that is interesting and engaging. The creative student may, upon beginning research, discover that the chosen topic presents such a new idea to the field that no directly relevant research currently exists. In that case, the student must create the research from scratch. He or she should begin research by reading everything available that relates even indirectly to the field of study; for example, if the student is studying a Mesopotamian text upon which no one else has written, he or she may read journal articles and books that deal with other ancient texts from that location, language, or time period. This is called secondary research, and it aids the student in developing a voice of credibility. Secondary research provides an education in the terms, issues, history, and research authorities that belong specifically to that field of study, and the student who becomes conversant in all these areas can begin to write a masters thesis that can sway the opinions of experts in the field.
Students who struggle with developing thesis ideas may benefit greatly from discussing possibilities with other people who know the field, such as professors or classmates. Talking with others often generates unexpected, inventive thoughts, and people who already know the subject matter will be able to volley those thoughts competently. If the student still cannot arrive at an interesting idea, he or she should choose some aspect of the field and begin reading on it and talking about it with the professor. A thesis idea will eventually come.