This is a task to complete during interview week (9th March - 13th March).
1. Go to the library
2. Find BA (hons) Graphic Design dissertations from 2013/14 - hint: upstairs and to the right
3. Grab at least 2 dissertations
4. Study each of the dissertations and focus particularly on their written FORM paying close attention to punctuation, grammar, tone-of-voice, referencing, vocabulary.
NOTE: not all the dissertations are "perfect" but studying a number of them will help to demonstrate how written work should be presented at undergraduate study.
5. Write a blog entry for this task - discuss 3 things that you have learned, observed, noted about the dissertations that you looked at and how this will help when addressing your own written piece.
The first dissertation I looked at was from 2013/14 entitled: ‘How has Postmodern Theory Informed Graphic Design Practices and Aesthetics?’ by Emma Johnson. Her introduction is successful in the fact that she introduces the topic well and explains it in a way that doesn’t instantly confuse or overwhelm the reader. She makes it clear that to understand postmodern design you must have a basic knowledge and acceptance of what modernist design can be defined as. I noticed that her sentence structure is quite irregular, in the sense that she uses a range of sentence types, with some of them being quite short and punchy, lacking explanations and development. She does make attempts at using the PEE sentence structure but not all of the time.
Her referencing is good, but not standard to me. She puts the page and date reference in brackets next to the quotes accompanied by an *, I am used to referencing with numbers and putting everything in a bibliography at the end of the written piece but at least she has actually referenced her quotations. Her range of vocabulary is mature and consistent and she refrained from using basic words for her descriptions which is good. In place she could have used more sophisticated vocabulary and perhaps could have developed her point a little more, but the general standard is high.
High levels of grammar and punctuation and the general tone of voice is appropriate for this type of academic writing. She makes good points and doesn’t go into too much detail in terms of historical context, so it doesn’t get boring and she doesn’t detract or wonder off too far from the actual topic. Her paragraph sizes are good, not too long and not too short either. When it comes to her conclusion, i think this needed to be a bit longer and more in depth. Postmodernism is such a vast topic and you can really make strong statements about it and really convey your personal opinion. I feel she lacked this in her conclusion. Having said that though, she did wrap up her essay well and in a concise way which I guess is what conclusions are all about, I would have liked to have seen more personal views though.
The second dissertation I examined was titled ‘Diffusion of Style in Global Culture’ by Abbas Mushtaq – out of the two this was the thicker one, and from first glance you would assume that this was the more advanced and accomplished piece of writing. This persons introduction is very sophisticated and really tackles the question in a detailed and thorough way. He outlines the essay, breaking down the structure of the paragraphs and tells the reader what to expect content wise from each section. I like this, you could argue that this pads out the essay and uses up unnecessary parts of the overall word count, but I think it has been done in a concise enough way and gives the reader an idea of the general tone of the writing. The general tone of voice is very sophisticated and mature and it definitely reads like a successful piece of academic investigation.
The paragraphing and sentences are mature and vocabulary use is good, but I feel more synonyms and more sophisticated lexis could have been used, it felt a bit repetitive at times. He goes into a lot of detail which is good, but at times boring. Historical knowledge is extensive and this is seen throughout the introduction. The conclusion is at least double the length of the first dissertation, and I feel sums up the issues covered a lot better. The last paragraph sums up his views in a concise way and generally ties the whole text together nicely. I think he did waffle on a bit in his conclusion so perhaps could have worked on making it less padded and more to the point. But again, this is such a large topic to tackle that I guess detail in required in this context.