Dissertation PDP 2015

Since attending University there has always been one dreaded worry at the back of my mind…dissertation. It is amazing how fast the time goes and the reality of choosing a thesis kicks in. Knowing writing has never been a strength of mine I decided the only enjoyment I would find would be in the topic I decided upon. Working with Cath in first year on style and sub cultures I was intrigued when learning theories I was able to relate back to myself. Understanding youth culture and how identity is so important I started to think about my friends and I, and what our collective style and identity consists of. Rather than looking at fashion I focused on accessories, something we all had in common with out style. I started with the idea of smart technology and how that has become so important with the make up of an identity, particularly the younger generation. I realised that it wasn’t the look of the technology we carried around with us, but in fact the purpose of its uses. I found myself constantly checking social media sites on my iphone or ipad, especially at times that I should be focusing on other things, like uni work. From my own binging on Facebook I was concerned with the negative effects it could be having, therefore giving me the inspiration to research further.

From writing my proposal I realised I didn’t have a very clear direction of what I wanted to talk about, and little of my proposal was used to guide my final paper. The more a read and researched the better understanding I gained as to what was relevant to include, my proposal was to broad and I would have got lost in what I wanted to achieve. On reflection the reason my proposal was so broad was due to worrying I wouldn’t have enough to talk about. However I soon discovered that there were many theories and studies that I was able compare, meaning in the end I struggled to cut back to the maximum word count.

Realising that the dissertation was such an important factor to my over all degree I knew I had to do well, and doing well for me meant enjoying it. I decided to have a positive attitude when approaching the dissertation else I would never find the motivation to complete it. To my surprise, enjoying writing the dissertation was a lot easier then I thought it would be. I have never been one to enjoy reading, mainly because I was always to distracted with my mobile phone and the stories found on social networking, (relating back to my topic). However I found the more time I spent dedicated to my dissertation work the more time I wanted to spend doing it. I truly wanted to educate myself with the research and theories that surrounded the subject of teenage social media use. I wanted to share what I had learnt with my friends as I found it so interesting, therefore making the whole process a lot easier and less stressful.

I saw the dissertation as 5 small essays, the introduction, the 3 main chapters, and the conclusion. Starting with the first chapter that made up the bulk of my dissertation, I broke it down further with 4 small sub-headings. Writing methodically meant I didn’t become overwhelmed with the word count, or got confused with trying to juggle to many balls at the same time. The most important piece of structure was writing a clear and specific introduction and conclusions. By highlighting my aims and objectives in each introduction to a chapter or subheading mean I could check to see if I had done what I said I would do. Therefore evaluating this in the conclusion and leading to understanding what I needed to do next, like a story each chapter revealed new information.

Although the topic of my dissertation doesn’t specifically relate to my subject work of textiles, the research highlighted a lot of theories on style and identity that I do find relevant. It has also made me aware of my interest towards teen development after also basing my Final Major Project along these lines. Looking back on previous work I have done I have always designed for the same or similar age group. Also finding out the theories of why we use social media has made me more aware of why I use it. Therefore, when I am trying to focus on my university work but allowing myself to be distracted by Facebook, I am able to tell myself reasons that are not needed for doing so and stop myself. This means I can be more focused on the work in front of me. For example, I now know that the hours I use to spend looking through old photographs of me and my friends on Facebook was just a way of reassuring myself that I do have a nice social life when there is no dissertation to worry about. By knowing this without having to search through Facebook means I no longer need to do so, providing more time to study.

I would like to continue researching into my dissertation topic as I do find it interesting when I am able to relate it to my own lifestyle. I am intrigued to discover how my use of social media will change as I get older and my needs alter. Do adults rely on social media just as much as adolescents? Especially those who have grown up in the ‘digital native’ and have known no different but to use social media. My initial idea was to look more at the changes to offline life that occur from social media use, which is still something I would like to read up on, but don’t get my wrong I’m not offering to write another dissertation.

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