|Dissertation Proposal Reflection|

Constellation, Level 5

We have been asked to write a reflection post on our dissertation proposal this term and how we feel that we have developed as an academic writer and applied the skills that we have learnt over the last 2 years to our dissertation. 

When it comes to large pieces of academic writing I am the first person to run in the opposite direction. I enjoy writing and have done ever since i was younger but with academic writing i feel that i don’t have enough confidence within my writing to achieve the best of my capabilities. With this proposal i decided to start early, i started thinking, researching and reading before Christmas, i thought that that way then i would have long enough to get my head around my idea, the academic reading that i had to complete and the depth of work that had to be completed.

I started off with an idea that i had spoken to my work placement about, i was happy to be tailoring my dissertation to a business as i thought this would help me get noticed more within the design world and extend my knowledge further. However when it came to researching particularly into the topic given to me, i found this difficult. I had already learnt about this topic through work experience but i was afraid that my knowledge within it wasn’t as strong as it could be. i felt that this would have given me an unfair advantage when it came to writing the proposal.

After handing in my dissertation request form and had my first tutorial with Ashley Morgan i began to realise further that the topic i had chosen wasn’t suited to me and that i should delve into a subject that i deemed as interesting and something that i knew a fair amount about.

So i decided to look at social media, particularly the effect that it has upon luxury brand loyalty. Finding sources of information to look at actually became quite simple, plus having a meeting with Martha (librarian) allowed me to source information that is specific and more direct within the content matter. I feel that if i hadn’t have gone and spoken to Martha then i would have been stuck doing a simple search and not getting the full amount of information that have found. She was really welcoming and helpful which made me feel a lot more at ease with the proposal itself.

I started to piece together information on “post it notes” and put them int specific categories, this allowed me to break up the information to put within my Lit Review and make the piece flow together as one. I read a lot during this project, looking at different elements such as perception and the human eye, social media and marketing strategies, to brand loyalty and luxury brands. One of the most interesting topics that i looked into was marketing strategies such as mallows hierarchy of needs, Aristotle’s seven causes of human action and Aaker’s brand loyalty pyramid. I’m looking forward to analysing luxury brands against these strategies to see how each differ and work together to create luxury brand loyalty,

Relating social media to branding and marketing has allowed me to gain particular knowledge within the subject that I didn’t have before, it has increased my expectation of social media and allowed me to realise the importance of it within the digital age. In the 21st century all media is becoming digital and online, this has increased marketing values and allowed for many companies to grow to an extent of becoming viral. I feel that as a graphic designer it is important to know that most of the future design work will be more upon screens and online than within traditional media. Understanding that the online trend is here to stay and it is only ever developing and advancing is fundamental as a designer.

Academic writing is a lot more difficult that i was told and sometimes i question whether three pieces of academic writing is enough to put you through a dissertation. I am on an understanding that people pick up different skills within different time frames, but as a student that before university hasn’t written academically, and the extent of essay writing was in GCSE’s, which were in 2012 for me, i found that 3 essays is not enough to help learn academic writing.

I worried a lot within this proposal, I’m very hard on myself to create perfection which i know is near impossible and that i should be more realistic. However i feel that my end result is a piece of work that i am proud of, I spent a lot of time with the handbook, referencing guide and a template given by Ashley and over the course of 5 weeks i feel that i have made a lot of progress creating the outcome that i have. I have started to believe in my academic writing capabilities more and look forward to putting these new techniques to use when writing my dissertation.

Even though at first i was not feeling positive about my Proposal, overall i feel that constellation over the last two years as helped me develop as a designer as well as a writer. it has taught me to look at the world differently, and be able to hide further deeper meaning within my subject work, as well as explain it within my constellation work.  I am proud of the progress that i have made within constellation and how it has helped me my confidence begin to increase within myself as an academic writer and Graphic Designer.




|Key Notes: Academic Forensics, the Literature Review|

Constellation, Level 5

Today we were given a lecture on literature reviews and how they are used within dissertation and academic writing. the aim of the presentation will allow us to understand exactly the different parts to a literature review: what is known, who knows it, and whats missing?


what is a literature review: 

A literature review is a summary of what existing scholarship knows about a particular topic. It is always based on secondary sources that is, what other people have already written on the subject; it is not concerned about discovering new knowledge or information. As such, it is a prelude to further research, a digest of scholars opinion a literature review should focus only on the relevant academic literature: popular or non academic sources may be brought in occasionally to illustrate a point, but the central interest is always on the theories put together by experts in the field.

what does a literature review do?

  • situates your research focus within the context of the wider academic community in your field.
  • reports your critical review of the relevant literature
  • identifies a gap within that literature that your research will attempt to address.
  • identifies literature in other fields that may help alleviate this gap.

what will you be asking/discovering?

  • what research question are you asking?
  • why are you asking it/them?
  • has anyone else done anything similar
  • is your research relevant to research/ practice/ theory in your field?
  • what is already known or understood about this topic?
  • how might your research add to this understanding or challenge existing theories and beliefs?

where does it go? 

Depends upon your topic, question and form of dissertation

  • it can be a chapter at the start that sets the context (for disciplinary work)
  • it can be spread out throughout a number of chapters (interdisciplinary work)
  • it can be spread out through the entire dissertation (for transdiciplinary work)

I found that going to this lecture was specifically interesting, as a student that at the start of the lecture wasn’t 100% certain on what a literature review was i feel now that I understand and I am confident that I could write one by using all of the information above.

|Key Notes- Research, Research, Research|

Constellation, Level 5

Today we had a key notes lecture presented by Ashley Morgan. the lecture was all about research for our dissertation and how we can collect the information within different ways. Ashley defined what counts as research and backed up findings compared to those that are not. 


What is Research? 

research comes from the idea to discover meaning within more information. to find out more about a subject, or the way that a particular thing works, the manner in which certain phenomenon have occurred.

Research 1: The act of discovery: when you undertake a dissertation you need to research. 

  • act of examining, exploring, discovering and giving context to your ideas.
  • discovering what academic authors write: arguments, ideas, proposals, information, debates, background information.

Research 2: Contextual Research:

  • which research do you need to research into? (background information)
  • peer reviewed texts-what this means
  • look at met search peer reviewed.



Research is not: 

  • an examination of old texts
  • newspapers
  • random trawls of the internet
  • something you do quickly
  • asking your friends some information which you then use in the dissertation as evidence 
  • asking questions, or posting questionnaires on Facebook or other social media without ethical clearance or a research method. 


What is ethics:

  • most research-library based
  • some- face to face interaction (studying shops)


Ethical clearance:

  • the person might feel obliged to speak to you, about things they would not rather share and might feel coerced.
  • at the worst end of the scale you might cause harm to people. even if the people are known to you the questions seem innocuous, you still need clearance.
  • you need to keep hold of the information that you have been given, not share it with anyone else and then destroy it after you have used it, so that it cannot be used by anyone else, and most importantly, it cannot be used against the person in some way.

Research 3

  • ways in which the research of others impacts on your dissertation
  • forums basis of your lit review
  • gives you a backdrop from which you can write your ideas


  • read academic work in the area
  • keep thinking about your idea, how can other peoples research inform it?
  • met search/ googlescholar
  • use inter-library loan- the free systems where you can order in any books and papers that we do not hold.


I particularly find the key note lectures useful, I like attending them to get a full grips on what I am being asked to do for my dissertation. I found this lecture today specifically useful as even though we have been informed how to research for our essays in order to back them up, it was interesting to see what other facilities and networks were available to us in order to complete our research on a higher level.


|Constellation Review- Glamour and the Grotesque|

Constellation, Level 5

within this blog post i am going to critically analyse using the questions provided for us about the glamour and grotesque study group that we have been studying over the last term. showing how the theories we have been taught are useful to us and how we can apply them to our own field of work.


  • Describe the process of completing your columns analysis for formative assessment in December?

The way in which i began to complete my analysis is by creating Cath’s columns. i began by pulling apart the image in which i have chosen and started to highlight all of the components within the image. i did this by taking into consideration every detail i could find including material choice, camera angle and facial expression. I found this necessary to complete as these all added up as components of glamour according to the theory in which i ad found upon my image. after looking into the image and the role in which Audrey Hepburn plays within breakfast at tiffany’s really did allow me to be able to direct the image thoroughly and gain a sense of character personality within the image. this was my most important part of my research as this then allowed me to talk about in more depth how different components to the image also helped portray the character in which Hepburn had played. this enabled me to complete the first column ‘describe’ with ease and in the most thorough detail. i then went on to what i found was one of my easiest columns ‘anaylse’ i find it simple to link the information i have dissected  from the image and be able to link this to quotes however the last column i struggled finding more than just the reading list to gain information upon the topic. however i knew that this would occur choosing an interesting and different topic.  although i do feel as if within the column analysis that i have enough information and quotes to be able to complete and compact yet informed essay.

Annex - Hepburn, Audrey (Breakfast at Tiffany's)_14.jpg

The image in which i have analysed for my essay.


  • What difficulties did you encounter filling in the second and third columns?

Difficulties i faced during the process mainly seemed to occur during the third column. as i stated above i found it difficult to find new and interesting quotes on the theories that we had been taught without just using the reading list. However i found that this would be ok to use during this particular brief, plus i found that the east ways to find out about this information would to take a more abstract approach to the topic by looking at the fashion within that era and within the setting itself.

  • How did you over come them?

I overcame this problem by looking at the more abstract parts of the image itself looking into fashion, photography and the different components within that particular era itself. I found this to actually become more interesting and by reading up on this and the research that i had conducted myself i found i was learning more than i had originally set out to.

  • What are the significant concepts/theories that have emerged in your columns analysis? Explain why these have interested you?

I particularly was interested within the freud theory of castration fear, after learning about freud within psychology in previous education i found that going back through the theory as well as applying this to the this particular image and project was an interesting concept. Explaining that the use of phallic objects within advertising and imagery is to replace the genitals that men believe the woman has lost overtime. This creating a sense of relief from the anxiety they have over the thought of loosing their own genitals. I feel that this concept truly interested me because i like the psychological perception upon more theories. I feel that this always adds more depth to imagery, and create interesting and intelligent conversation.

  • How can approaches in this study group help with the development of your ideas and ways to progress with your dissertation preparation?

As I’m considering completing my dissertation more on the behavioural science, i feel that the use of the facial expressions and psychological theories used within this study group can allow me to apply these theories within my dissertation and really add more depth and intricacy to my writing style. Also the use of looking for information within places i wouldn’t have originally thought of could in fact help me when it comes to dissertation writing itself. I have also found being given and explained the information in depth within a short space of time has really allowed for me to process the information quicker and allow for more information to be discussed within my writing therefore i found the writing process for this study group quite enjoyable.

  • How could these concepts/ theories help with developing ideas in your studio practice?

I feel that this study group has changed the way that i now look at most advertisements, films and general day to day life. looking at the stereotypes that are the connotations of glamour and grotesque within photography and imagery in general, with the theory to back it up really has allowed me to look at things differently. I am now more critical within day to day life especially within advertisements and films. Looking at the media’s portrayal of the glamorous woman, phallic objects and other themes brought upon the study group itself i am more judgemental of and therefore this tends to lead to more intelligent discussion within my peer group and on social media itself.

  • What has been useful in the analysis and writing about others work in constellation sessions so far?

I feel that being able to associate the different theories within the study group and apply them to different pieces of work shows a recurring theme within the idea of glamour within industry. This also helps back the theories up as truthful and allow for them to be more trustworthy within the process itself. Because of this i was able to write my essay with confidence and show the theories that i had applied to my own images.

  • How has your thinking about your own practice developed/ changed from your CSAD experience as a student so far?

I feel that because of constellation over the last two years i really have been able to look at the world different not only within advertising and within my own design field, but also during the day to day life and looking at the way people dress and act in order to the theories that we have been taught. I feel that this has helped me critically analyse the work that i have been so far this year and really see what connotations the imagery that i have used has within my work. this has made me a lot more conscious of the work that i am creating.

In conclusion i have particularly enjoyed constellation this year, i feel that this has allowed me to analyse my own work and theories within my own field of design and apply this to day to day life.