Today marks the day for our hand in of our Dissertation proposal. To mark the end of constellation this years, we have been asked to write a reflection on our process and feelings about this year’s constellation.
At the start of the year, the prospect of even thinking about my dissertation was something that scared the hell out of me, let alone even setting in stone my idea and writing a 4000-word plan on it. So when it came to writing my dissertation proposal its easy to say that it was a pretty daunting task that I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to undertake.
When we began term 2 and started to have meetings with our dissertation tutor, my biggest issue was that I just wasn’t sure where to start. However, once I had my first meeting with Jayne she helped me create a bigger sense of direction and I left feeling as if I could actually achieve this. I began researching and reading gradually over the second term, but I almost put off thoughts of having to actually write a dissertation proposal to nearer the end of the term.
I’d always had the idea of basing my dissertation around magazines. Editorial design is my favourite part of graphic design so it felt natural to base my dissertation around a topic that I particularly enjoyed and was passionate about. However I just never really knew how I could write 10000 words on just editorial design. The study groups in term 1 of 2nd year really helped me develop this though, I did the goddesses and monsters study groups and one of the theorists that we studied was Sigmund Freud. I did Psychology at AS level, and we also studied Freud then and because of his controversial and slightly almost uncomfortable theories, he is someone that I had definitely developed an interest in. So this when the idea of combing the two concepts came about, I wanted to look at how Freud’s theory of Castration fears applied in advertising. I was advised to focus on one magazine, so I decided to choose Vogue because it is a magazine I read consistently and of course it is one of the most famous magazines in the world. Jayne helped me developed the idea of sexual objectification, she showed me numerous amounts of theorists who have studied objectification theory. So whilst reading I developed the statement: Sexual objectification of women in fashion advertising in magazines such as Vogue.
When it came to the proposal I had no clue how to write a literature review, I had attended Martyn’s keynote lecture, re-watched Martyn’s keynote lecture and had a meeting with Jayne about it, yet I still couldn’t quite seem to get my head around it. The literature review was definitely the hardest part of the proposal by far. Maybe if we had more workshops where we actually had to write literature review examples with help from tutors maybe I would have understood it more. Because of this when it came to writing my literature review I never felt entirely comfortable writing it, and it felt like a very long stressful experience where I had constant anxiety that I wasn’t doing it right. However, upon asking around how others were writing it I was reassured that it wasn’t just me feeling this way and that we all seem to be writing it in a similar way.
To help me write the literature review I decided to collect all the quotes that I wanted to include first in a separate document and divided the quotes up and grouped them with other quotes that were on similar topics. This provided me with a bit of a structure for my literature review and helped me find it slightly easier. One thing I struggled with whilst writing my literature review was resisting the temptation to argue my point and put my opinion into it as if I were writing an essay.
I think when it comes to essay writing, it has always been something that I struggle with. Especially since when I came to university I had very little knowledge of how to even reference, so that is something that I am still developing the ability to do now, so it still makes me slightly anxious when it comes to referencing because I always have the paranoia that I haven’t done it correctly. I think over all with the lack of confidence in my abilities to write and lit review and to reference the whole process of actually writing this dissertation proposal has been quite a stressful one and a process I haven’t really enjoyed. However, now I have done it I believe that it has set me up really well in terms of giving me more direction for my essay and I know where I want to go next.
Despite the stress of the dissertation proposal, I am still extremely interested in my topic and I really enjoyed researching and reading about the different theories behind my idea. So I am looking forward to developing this idea further and eventually writing my actual dissertation on it.
The prospect of writing my actual dissertation now doesn’t seem quite so daunting and scary now I have completed this proposal, even if it is only the proposal. It has made me realise how much is out there to write about and I kind of understand now when people say that you won’t struggle to find topics to write about, you’ll struggle because you’ll have too much. So now the proposal is finished I can conclude it has been a reassuring experience even if the journey to completing it was full of stress and confusion. I am proud that I have come this far within my university experience to the stage where I am beginning my dissertation, I am slightly scared that it has come around so fast and I dread to think how fast the next year will go. But nethertheless I am excited to see what will come and how my dissertation will develop.