There is a book called “research methods”, it’s very helpful. I am not sure if it has the dissertation format, but I did post an example of a dissertation on foster care if you are wondering about format.
Maybe Start with research questions that would be relevant to a topic. Things you really want to find out about a topic and write as many research questions as you can around the topic and that should help narrow it down. Questions open up possibilities so don’t be afraid to go crazy and you should be able to come to a question that’s big, one that requires a specific type of assessment from Multiple resources. Don’t make it too big. Start big but then narrow it down.
is foster care healthy for children?
what other care facilities are out there for children and how are they affected?
What does the research and statistics say? What methods were used to get these assessments?
What other methods could have been used instead to get more nuances on the topic?
if they used a quantitative approach to the assessment, try a qualitative approach. What would that look like ?
are kids opinions about their upbringing in care facilities important and should we consider them in these findings?
this Is just an example of stream of consciousness questions. then you become like a detective and show evidence and results that support or discover something about the topic.