A Deep Dive into Vision’s Dissertations

Let's see how the team at Vision have dealt with their dissertations.

(Image: Pexels)

Outside of their duties within York Vision, our team have been extremely busy with writing and planning their dissertations. For example, here’s mine:

Jasmine Moody, Lifestyle Editor

Course: BA English in Education

Topic: An Investigation into how Western Gothic Monsters in Children’s and Young Adult’s Japanese Literature Represent the Impact of Cultural Globalisation on ‘Other’ East Asian and Western Cultures.

Summary: A close analysis of a corpus of Japanese literature for children and young adults. Using the corpus, and literature, I explore how these monsters in Japanese texts reflect the impact of globalisation on East Asian cultures. For example, I look at the superflat theory, hybridity, and the sexualisation and demonstration of the ‘other’ body. I have written a separate article here detailing my experiences.

Enough about me though! Take a look at what the some of our team has written, or plans to write about!

Katie Preston, President & Co-Editor

Course: BA English and History

Summary: I’m focusing on the blood and body of gay men in the poetry collections ‘Visceral’ and ‘The Man with Night Sweats’ and comparing these representations to the stigma of AIDS and the LGBTQ community during the 1980s. I’m looking at the portrayal of blood and the body as autonomous versus tainted in queer-written poetry and the British media respectively. As a joint honours English and History student I have to do a ‘bridge’ dissertation joining the two subjects. My planned focus is incredibly niche, especially for History, so there’s every chance I could be one of the first to explore this topic with this specific lens which is both exciting and scary, however, I’ve had some amazing feedback from staff within my departments and am excited to get started!

Daniel Bennett, Deputy Editor

Course: MPhys Theoretical Physics

Summary: Applying Geometric Phyllotaxis To A 3D Model of Type I Collagen

The scientific community still doesn’t know for sure what our bones look like at the really small (nanoscale) level, there are just a lot of different theories. I took one of the simplest theories and coded it into a 3D computational model to essentially test if the theory holds up under different conditions, to see how valid it is. 

This was my 5th choice project because while I found the theory interesting I always found coding a weaker area of mine. My main advice to anyone would be, in massive block capitals, “PICK A DISSERTATION TOPIC THAT PLAYS TO YOUR STRENGTHS”. I didn’t and ended up spending about a third of the project developing incorrect code and having weeks where I thought I had made a massive breakthrough only to discover I had missed a full stop in a line of code which made 20 hours of work redundant.

Now that my dissertation is submitted and I’ve had time to reflect on the past year, does a small part of me miss doing this project? No. Stop asking me about it. Go away.

Tips!: Don’t be afraid to annoy your supervisor by asking them constant questions, they are there for a reason and it’s better to ask them as soon as something comes up rather than wasting time going down a wrong path; you’re never going to fail your dissertation due to asking too many questions, but you may do if you don’t ask enough.

Tom Willet, Food Editor

Courses: BA History & MA Public History

Summaries: BA: A study of intergenerational transmission of memory in reference to the Holocaust

My undergraduate dissertation looked at the intergenerational transmission of memory, and the barriers to this transmission that instances of historical atrocity can erect. I interviewed twelve children of holocaust survivors, talking to them about the ways in which they have dealt with a traumatic past. And how they have come to understand what they have lost. The experience was personally clarifying, it helped me understand my own family. 

MA: My MA dissertation looks at the town of Lewes, East Sussex (my home), and its striking bonfire night traditions. It works with the well-established notion that commemorations of the past are really statements about the present and digs into what the bonfire rituals mean to people today. If you haven’t heard of Lewes Bonfire I suggest looking it up, it’s pretty unbelievable!

Tips!: Don’t be too worried about wanting to change your topic at the beginning. I think everyone has those feelings but more often than not your initial instinct was right, and you really enjoy the project. Also, talk to your supervisor as much as they will let you!

Matt Rogan, Opinion Editor

Course: BEng Computer Science

Summary: My dissertation is all about implementing an online learning system to help people overcome issues of interaction and motivation, specifically with technical modules. I chose this because it’s very topical (I definitely found it different learning an entirely new concept online!) and I have 4 years of experience as a tutor; it was very interesting trying to solve that problem! I managed to get a 2:1 for this project.

Tips!: Start your dissertation sooner rather than later… it’s definitely beneficial if you need participants for your study!

Nicholas Chen, Deputy Film and Travel Editor

Course: MSc Global Marketing

Summary: Well as an MSc Global Marketing postgraduate student, the final villain that is the dissertation has yet to come for me, which is due in September, however, it is a group project to research an industry sector and the topic is to form a Marketing strategy for a company in that sector, where the group does the research altogether, but each individual dissertation is written separately. So the group project part is basically getting a lot of references, which I reckon will save my ass in the end! Finding references is the worst part as I usually just write a lot. I don’t even bother to remember when the deadline is. Like many university group projects, the experience isn’t perfect, but at least most of the group members are able to come down to some agreements. With the experiences of practices from many previous group projects obtained from my long journey of University education (I studied at the Uni of Bath before in another Masters), I can endure the group bit, and as a writer, I am quite sure it will work out in the end. 

Tips!: Also, a not-so-pro tip for making your essays a bit more convincing and may be guaranteed to get you higher marks – after writing a paragraph, you say some BS like ‘this is a phenomenon/common practise in the research industries supported by…’ then you literally Google that sentence in Google scholar, and if a journal matches it you use that as a reference, showing a bit of further reading there – whether you decide to read it, or not.

I hope that by reading this you have all come away slightly more knowledgeable about the dissertation process. It’s a long road you may have to travel, but it is worth it for sure!

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