Do not choose a topic for which there is no secondary literature and no primary sources that are accessible to you. Some questions to ask yourself, your advisor, and me:
- Have other scholars found your topic worthwhile? It's better not to choose a topic on which there is no scholarly secondary literature whatsoever. (Possibly what you have is a good Ph.D. dissertation topic, but more likely it is not feasible for some other reason.)
- Are the sources for your topic written in a language you can read?
- Are the sources for your topic published, or unpublished? Are they available in print, on microfilm, or online?
- Are the sources for your topic available at Princeton? If not, can you borrow them (through Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Loan) from another library?
- Are the sources for your topic available somewhere else nearby? Can you travel (on a Friday, or over fall break) to another library or archive, or do you have other commitments that would make that impossible?
- Bottom line: choose a topic that is both small enough to be manageable and substantial enough to interest you and your readers