Someone's Doing My PhD: The Terrifying Thesis Similarity
In the academic world, the choice of topics is limited to the most current and important ones that make difference when the author writes the work. Similarities in topics and areas of research occur much more often that one can imagine but no one really gives a serious thought to how many people are working on, say, thesis with the same topic. In fact, it is very easy to discover that someone is writing a thesis that has a very similar topic: just Google it and you will see how many projects have been done so far and you will have the idea how many are being completed at the moment.
Some people might be terrified by the thought that there is a threat to the uniqueness of their work. From the very early childhood, we are taught that every person is unique, so anything he or she produces also differs from works of others. While some are terrified, other people accept it as a challenge to produce even better work and reduce the value of “competitors” work for academia. In one way or another, people are afraid that someone may threaten their originality and take away the value of their work.
Already feel like opening Google and searching for theses similar to yours? While you certain can do it, think about something for a minute. What specifically is required from a person who discovered that somewhere another person is writing a thesis or another scholar work with a terrifyingly similar topic? Should this person let the educational institution know about it? Or maybe that other person needs to be contacted and talked into choosing another topic?
Have NO Fear!
It is highly unlikely that the educational institution or that person will agree to do something about the topic because situations like this happen all the time. There are millions of students around the world, so the chances of at least some of them doing similar work are very high because people need to write about topics that make an immediate impact. Trending topics are therefore selected by million students, so thinking that everyone chooses a unique topic is just wrong.
There is no point to worry about the originality, though. When they taught you that each person is unique, they were right. The idea that two people produce absolutely identical research on the same topic is a complete myth because each person has their own mindset and approach to studying. Therefore, it is incredibly unlikely that someone has produced the same text as you because no one thinks the way you do. Of course, this does not involve plagiarism cases after you had your thesis posted on the university website but it will be discovered and the person will be punished, so you do not have to worry about that, either.
From Personal Experience
The fact that someone is writing a similar work might be approached from another perspective. For example, that person could be viewed as a fellow scholar and collaborator who shares some viewpoints with you and disagrees with others. It is a good opportunity to have a meaningful discussion about the topic and produce some knowledge that can be used in your thesis. Also, you can identify some mistakes in the works of others and make sure that your own work does not contain them. Eventually, you will realize that there is no point in worrying about the similarity between the thesis topics because the final versions of the two works will be completely different and approach the topic from a different perspective.
The academic world is an ever-changing field and scholar work there is never finished because there is always something new that could be either added or deleted from the previous research to make it more fresh and reliable. The thesis is not an exception in this case because they also can be updated to stay relevant. This once again shows that chances of someone submitting exactly the same text equal zero. Moreover, one should think about viewing that other person as a potential collaborator or just a colleague who is interested in the same research area. This means that your concern and interest about something is shared by other people, which should reassure you in making the right choice in thesis topic.