At York, students get the chance to showcase their initial research into their dissertation topic. In the autumn term, there were dissertation workshops to help third years start researching; this term we get to show off the progress we have made.
So, every week in spring term, about 20 or so students present their posters in the Politics reception area. Other students and staff members wander around, asking questions and giving advice on how to improve. Plus, there’s tea and biscuits! It’s really interesting to see the variety of different topics people have picked, and it’s also a chance to catch up with other students and see what they have been up to.
Below is just a taster of the different dissertations that are on offer:
Nik’s dissertation question is:
Should the economic or sociocultural sphere be of greater importance to state development in West Africa?
Basically, he is investigating whether economic policy with actors such as the IMF and World Bank or grass roots development are more important for a state’s development. He is focusing on three case studies: Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana. He will use comparative politics to compare elements from each case study to investigate his question.
Nik found doing the poster session useful as it helped him to create a basic outline/structure for his dissertation from all of his notes.
Holly’s dissertation focuses on feminism:
How is the Everyday Sexism Project perceived within the feminist movement?
The Everyday Sexism Project is a website that asks women to enter any instances of sexism they may have experienced in their day-to-day lives. The idea is to show that sexism still does exist, is encountered by many women in a variety of situations and is still an issues that needs to be debated.
Holly is investigating the dynamics of contemporary feminism and online activism by using discourse analysis of feminist media and blogs. So far, she has found there to be an overall positive response towards the project.
Jack’s dissertation is on the American political system.
How does the American federalist system of government manifest itself in elections, and to what extent does it explain the rise in split-ticket voting?
Split-ticket voting is where voters vote for one political party at the state level and a different political party at the federal level.
Jack is using data interpretation of regional demographics to investigate his question as split-ticketing voting is usually explained by demography, and can also be explained by geography and as well as specific issues to each state.
Rennie’s dissertation question is:
What is the most important factor in determining the percentage of female parliamentarians in predominantly declared Islamic states?
Rennie is using regression analysis to investigate her question. She wants to investigate why there is a variation between the percentage of female representation in the lower house of Parliament across Muslim countries.
Rennie found doing the poster session helpful as it has helped her to focus her research, and not get bogged down in irrelevant, although interesting, research.
Harry’s dissertation is focused on political theory.
John Locke on resistance: simultaneously radical and conservative?
Harry is looking at Locke’s theory of resistance and the legitimacy of resistance in overthrowing tyranny. He is investigating all of Locke’s works on this theme. He is using normative theory to research his dissertation. So far, he thinks that Locke’s theory does combine elements of radicalism and conservatism.
Harry has enjoyed the poster sessions as it forced him to be able to present his argument verbally.
Overall, doing the poster sessions is incredibly useful. It forces you to address all the research you have been doing, condense it onto a poster and then explain it to anyone who asks within the presentation hour. And hopefully this has given you an insight into the kind of topics you can research for your dissertation.
*My thanks to the students who agreed to be interviewed and photographed*