Being a newly graduated fashion design student, I feel like I have gathered a few helpful tips over the past four years at university. There are many obstacles to overcome in final year but submitting a dissertation can be a massive one for most people. Dissertations are supposed to be challenging but can be particularly so if you study a creative subject, as we’re not used to writing as many essays and doing assignments.
So I thought I’d share a little of what I learnt and to try to help you get the best experience out of writing your dissertation-
Fully understand your topic-
An obvious one but it’s surprising how confused you can get, even if you think you fully understand you topic. It’s best to plan out everything! Work out what exactly your topic is, what you want your writing to achieve and what you want to cover in it. You also need to think about what you want your goals to be and how the writing will conclude.
For example- my dissertation discussed the topic of ‘Feminism in Fashion’ (a board subject) through a case study of the brand ‘Chanel’ (much more focused)
Consider how you can best gather loads of information for your topic, but also how you will be able to narrow it down so you can better understand it.
I also think people tend to think too far outside of the box and try to be too different, but end up getting confused or bogged down. Yes, many dissertation topics have been done before but remember that your writing has your own individual sound and style; this will set it apart for the rest.
Get enough resources-
This is one of the most crucial parts of a dissertation and something that is most commonly overlooked. Your dissertation isn’t about how much you can write about one thing over a certain period of time, it is there for you to prove how you can look at a whole range of resources, extract important information and compose an insightful, interesting and informative piece of writing. Books, magazine articles, journals, YouTube videos, films, posters, newspapers, websites, letters- will help greatly when relevant, cite it all!
Try to enjoy it-
Hating every second of it isn’t going to it any easier. Basically it’s a relatively small piece of writing about anything you want to write about within your field of interest- so choose to write about something that you have a genuine interest in. Consider writing about something in which you have a little knowledge already, and you want to learn more about and show real enthusiasm about doing so or something in which you have a lot of knowledge, can discuss confidently while expanding on your existing knowledge. This is such an easy way to guarantee you enjoying your topic and your dissertation. I hate writing, loath it, but found my dissertation interesting and at some points relaxing to writing.
Don’t doubt yourself –
It’s so easy to think that just because you don’t like writing essays, don’t do it often or have previously been rather rubbish at it, means that your dissertation isn’t going to be any good. It’s probable that anything you’ve written before wasn’t about something you were interested in. Even if it was, don’t go into it with a negative mindset, because it won’t help at all. Just begin writing, and don’t judge your work too harshly. I promise the more you work on your dissertation, the better your writing will become.
Just do it! -
Dreading it, putting it off and burying your head in the sand wont get it done, and it needs to get done. It may not be worth many credits, or matter to you overall but you wont be able to pass without it. Like anything, doing a small amount every so often is much better (and easier) than doing it all in one go. I know it’s easy enough to say but I’ve been there, and if you’re not joining in with the mad panic at the end, you’ll feel so much better.
Best tip- just start writing. The first thing you write probably won’t end up in the final draft, but its best to get the ball rolling. Just write down your thoughts and type up anything that pops into your head, before long the words will start flowing.
I hope some, if not all of these tips were beneficial. Remember, any work set by tutors or lectures is manageable (even when it seems very much the opposite) and can be completed to the best of your ability with careful time management and a strong work ethic.
* Get it professionally printed and bound if you can- it does contribute to your mark!
* Meet with you mentor/supervisor as much as you can- they will really help you!
* You’re a creative person, be sure to put the same creativity into your writing!
Topic- Does feminism have a place in Fashion; A Chanel Case Study
Word count requirement- 6,000 (10% leeway)
My word count- 6,568
My Mark- 74% (1st)
Time span- September ’15-January ‘16
Cost of professional printing and binding document- £13
Dissertation credits- 10%
Future posts to come-
Final Year Fashion Design Student Survival Guide- 5 Top Tips