Friday, June 15

Dissertations

My third and final year at uni is just a short summer away and so I'm starting to consider what I will do my dissertation on. I study media and, as with most topics, this leaves me with a huge choice of directions I could go in. So how do you narrow it down?
Firstly, it's important to pick something you really like. If you have to write 8000 words around the subject it has to be something you're really interested in. You need to stay motivated and engaged with your work for the whole 8000 words. So think about the theories you've looked at in your other modules and think about what theorists were easy to read and pay attention to.
You also need to consider that if you are writing so much on one thing, you may grow sick of it. I wrote an essay on Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes last term. I still like the shows, but I think if I had written a dissertation on them I would have grown weary. Picking something apart so much can ruin it for you. So if you need to choose a text to focus on, either choose one you really adore and which you are certain you could never hate. Or choose something you like, are interested in and can write about, but which you wouldn't be devastated if you were to get so sick of it you never saw it again.
As I commented before, it makes sense to consider previous modules and theories that you liked. However the other day, while discussing this with friends, I said to think about what modules you were interested in and I was met with the response "none of them". I  cannot describe how much that attitude irritates me. How can you come to university, study for two years and have no interest or even a vague enthusiasm for what you're studying? It sounds like a waste of your own time and no doubt it's irritating for the others on your course. I for one hate doing modules that I'm interested in knowing that others really couldn't care less. So if that's your view on it, and you don't have any interest in any of your modules, I don't really care what you do for your dissertation or if you even pass.
But on a cheerier note, if you are approaching a dissertation and you are bothered about doing well, I wish you the best of luck. I hope you find a topic that you really enjoy exploring and a theorist you really understand.
Now, it's off to the library for me. I'm going to find some books on Freud, have a read and see if psychoanalysis and popular culture is for me. If it's not, I'll return and look into another topic. A thrilling summer lies ahead.