Spencer / Dissertation

April 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

This morning’s lecture was just answering some general questions about the dissertation stuff.


If my dissertation has a good set of empirical data (such as if I were to have a lot of statistical information), it can be quite tricky to frame it/contextualising it. But you’ve got to be able to frame your topic/question in a way that works for you; depending on the kind of dissertation you’re creating.


Why am I actually writing this? Why is it significant? What’s at stake in the debate? Map the context onto a healthy debate, what are the stakes in the debate, and what’s the significance?
While thinking about my dissertation, project forward and think about what I can project out of it – how can my project work relate to my dissertation? How can I create an interesting project from my research and theory?

Is there going to be an empirical dimension to my dissertation? (Empirical evidence is a source of knowledge acquired by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical evidence is information that justifies a belief in the truth or falsity of an empirical claim)


For the dissertation proposal form:

– (Already structured) 500 words.

– Very loose look at what my dissertation will be.

– What the general topic I’m focusing on is.

– Aims & objectives (to do with what’s at stake).

– Possible content

– Suggested methodologies: is there a particular study I’m going to do, or is it about looking through literature? (I could do a dissertation purely with literature). I must justify and methodologies I use.

– Possible conclusions: any hunches I have (Never embark on research in a sort of carefree manner, always be upfront).

– Where’d I look to find my info: e.g. Google scholar. Things I’d look at: Key theorists/ key perspectives/key texts/key practitioners / key works/ contemporary /current discussion of the topic. Any new research I’d be conducting in relation?

– Any possible problems I may run into?


There’s not really a set structure to the dissertation, all are different, usually containing broad sections/territories. A literature review is usually framed as the general context of the work – key text / key theorists / key works etc. to do with the general topic, also looking upon a contemporary aspect of it.

Think about the angle I’ll be approaching things from: cultural, psychological, philosophical, physiological, economical, environmental perspective etc. There may also be another position I frame my dissertation upon, giving a good overview of the stuff I say, giving it a frame work, then talking about why it’s relevant today (any stakes embodied in it?).


In my literature review, it’s a good idea to try and establish a discipline, framing an argument, and pulling together two slightly different contexts/issues, making novelty in the dissertation, ultimately making it interesting


Separate section for methods/methodologies


Three chapters (or so), stages or phases for an argument, developing a position, trying to focus on one core thing for each chapter, then bringing all these chapters together to bring across my main point.


Visual disciplines – when I’m arguing in terms of design and animation, sometimes I’ll be using logical forms of argument, sometimes being persuasive using imagistic stuff to persuade, alternating between structured argument and persuasive ‘massagy’ stuff.


Structuring of dissertations vary slightly, with ordering of chapters varying.

Always give a good sense of the context at the start.

Always remember that you’ve got to be nice to the reader. Think of a room mate who’s smart but doing a totally different subject to you, you’ve got to explain, helping them understand, not making them feel like an idiot.


Presenting contrast in my work?


Cultural context? (aims and objectives)


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