Skip to main content

English Dissertation: Three core questions

The most basic core of a dissertation plan hinges on three main questions:

  1. What do you want to know?
  1. How are you going to find out?
  1. What will you do with the answers?

The answer to the questions will hinge on your initial narrowing of a research area.   The range of research or project areas can be varied, but a very generic approach might suggest that for a literature project the answers could include:

  1. What do you want to know?
    • How or whether a text, or texts within a particular period demonstrate a particular characteristic, or reflect a historical or sociological context.

  • Whether concrete evidence can be identified which adds to our understanding of a particular text, or whether a group of evidences can be analysed in ways which allow for different conclusions

  • How different critical approaches to a text or texts can add to our appreciation / understanding of it.

  1. How are you going to find out?
  • Through primary research and close analysis of your key texts.
  • By looking at either primary historical documents, or through a critical review of secondary texts which explore primary historical evidence.
  • Through research of secondary texts (critical articles, essays, etc.), and a synthesis of theoretical ideas with your own.

  1. What will you do with the answers?
  • Conclude how they can inform our reading of the text, or our reading of the historical period, conclude how they allow the text to inform our understanding of ourselves or or society.
  • Conclude how they can inform our knowledge of the period or place in history, and with what degree of certainty.
  • Ascertain to what extent they either prove or disprove your hypothesis, and conclude how this result adds to our understanding of sociological contexts and behaviours.

Popular posts from this blog

2) Introduction to morphemes

So does language begin with words?

No. Language begins with sounds. It is important to understand this first and foremost. We have already raised this point, but it is worth raising again – language begins with sounds!

If I appear to be emphasizing this with a rather bizarre desperation, it is because it would be easy to think that since we are beginning our exploration of language and linguistics with words that this is where language begins. When you think about it logically though, all words are composed of various sounds grouped together. The word ‘cat’ is composed of three distinct sounds - /c/, /a/ and /t/.

So why aren’t we starting with looking at how sounds create language?

Well, in the not-too-distant past, when European football used to be free on the telly, Manchester United or Arsenal would jet off to Spain for a titanic contest with Barcelona. When the commentators referred to Barcelona, they would pronounce it ‘Bar-se-low-nah’ (bɑ:sɜ:ləʊnæ). After a few years th…

A fond farewell

Every time a new term starts, I find myself wondering what the hell happened to the supposed weeks inbetween?  We leap from teaching, to marking, to assessment boards to enrolments - and after all that, BANG!  Back in the classroom!  At which point we often start wishing there had been at least some time to prepare our classes...

But things have been rather different this time.  About a three months ago I was (admittedly to my own surprise) considered worthy enough to be offered an incredibly exciting job with the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and the University of East London.  The regular whirlwind of activity over the Summer then, is having something of a more terminal period: Teaching, marking, assessment boards, enrolments and BANG! I'm walking out of Newham College for the last time!

It is now almost exactly 10 years since I joined Newham College.  The plan then was, at heart, very simple: The residents of Newham Borough represented a vast population …

Moodle looks rubbish: The myth that may be costing HE institutions

It was interesting, but not entirely surprising to read Phil Hill's blog on e-Literate suggesting a dramatic slow-down in the take-up of Moodle in HE Institutions.  Not surprising because there seems to be a myth about Moodle that has always flickered in dark corners and is fanned into flame by for-profit LMS providers at the nearest opportunity.

This myth is that Moodle looks rubbish.

Other LMS providers set up a course content page filled with as many html5 gadgets as they can imagine, and compare it to the most basic topic-format Moodle page.  "There we are!" they declare, "Look how rubbish Moodle looks compared to our system!  And in the modern world where students are using tablets and mobile phones more and more, isn't it important that your University LMS looks smart and contemporary?"

And so Universities look at these other LMS systems and think: 'Ooo, it has this, or it has that!  Our Moodle doesn't have them!'  Which in turn prompts a…