Preparing for our Dissertations and Introductions to Research for the Media

DISSERTATION TIME PEOPLE. ‘What?’ you say, ‘but you’re 2nd year? You don’t do your dissertation until Level 6 in Year 3?’ Actually, the kind academics at Sheffield Hallam University have decided to prepare us for our dissertations in a handy little module called Research for the Media… and I couldn’t be happier (you weren’t expecting that were you?).

In BA Media we can choose to write a typical 6,000 word dissertation or create an applied project. This is independent, self-directed work assessed in Semester 2 in Year 3. We are supervised by an Academic Tutor. It is up to us the choice of topic and approach but we must have the ethics approved.

For my own project, I want to write a typical written dissertation. I don’t have a topic in mind at the moment, but I really enjoyed doing textual analysis last semester and would like to do something including that, especially if it involves Critical Discourse Analysis, which I have become surprisingly confident at.

With that introduction done, in our first workshop today, we were asked what our personal philosophy was. Myself and my course mate Shannon agreed that the thing we believed in most was being happy. We try to live in a way where happiness is most important and prioritised for ourselves and those around us. When life tries to knock us down and things go wrong, we are tested and our happiness is tested but these are the things that help us grow; developing our strength and resilience.

In regards to writing our dissertations, I used this as a metaphor in that we may be motivated to write but something may go wrong, or we may get fed up and get knocked down and decide to give up on the dissertation. What is important is that we continue to pick ourselves up and push through until we finish those 6,000 words.

Always do ‘One More Thing, One More Time’ (Josh Sundquist – Motivational Speaker, Amputee, Author and Paralympian).


What skills and knowledge do you need to carry out a successful research project? 

  • žOrganization skills
  • žTime management
  • žThe ability to meet and set goals/ deadlines
  • žThe ability to work under pressure
  • žCrisis management
  • žAdaptability and flexibility
  • Patience
  • The ability to work independently, using your initiative
  • The ability to stay motivated and interested
  • žHigh levels of enthusiasm
  • žThe ability to reflect
  • žProblem solving skills
  • žSkills of analysis, evaluation and synthesis
  • žThe ability to review and critique
  • žTeamwork skills
  • Social/people skills
  • Listening skills
  • žReading skills
  • žCommunication skills (verbal and written)
  • žPresentation skills
  • žEditing/proofreading skills
  • žInterviewing skills
  • žQuestioning skills (written and verbal)
  • žThe ability to empathize/support others
  • žThe ability to establish rapport
  • žIT skills  (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • žNumerical skills  (budgeting and costing)
  • Data analysis skills
  • žKnowing how to use datasets and databases
  • žExperience of using primary and secondary sources
  • žThe ability to develop aims and objectives
  • žKnowledge of research methods
  • žKnowledge of research methodology
  • žAn understanding of theoretical frameworks
  • žAn understanding of the relationship between epistemology , theoretical perspective and methodology
  • žThe ability to choose a good workable topic
  • žThe ability to work well with your supervisor
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