Dissertation Planning Tips

As students we all use the library.

Like most I like to think that being half way through my second year, I’m pretty confident in finding the what I need.

Last week however out tutor arranged a specialist session with Chris out librarian. I went asking myself “is this really needed?”

The simple answer is yes! He explained that research is not just about knowing where to look for information, its about the way you think about  what you look for.

Lateral thinking is key, along with organising what you find.

After the class session I booked for a one and one meeting. I came out not only feeling positive about going forward, but excited.

Here are some tips on starting the planning and organisation process.

One Note: I love one note! It’s a one spot shop for keeping notes on everything

one note image

It allows you to keep your research organised. You can easily copy links of articles that interest you or quickly note a thought.

Apps are available for all devices and online which sync up so no matter where you are, you can access what you need.


Key Words

Make a note of key words to search for.

This list should expand as your research grows.

If there are words which keep coming up make a note of it.


When using e-resources in the Uni library there will be the official Harvard citation available.

If you find something of interest dont just note the article note the citation as well. It will save time later

Keep an open mind

At this early stage don’t dismiss anything. We are told time and time again that our initial idea and final piece of work will probably be quite different.

Think Laterally 

The key will be to think laterally not literally. In reality there may not be exactly what you need, so break it down into sections then try and join the dots. It will also help with analysis.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

After seeing how much time my other half has given  to his research, and speaking to my tutors start the research as soon as you can. There’s not way it can be done with only weeks to spare.


Self-initiated: Time For A Rethink

Recent events, and decisions regarding the course has led to a major shift in direction.

The original intention was to help increase the number of people applying for the degree, however as the college made a decision to pull the degree this was no longer needed.

In  a meeting with Jackie it was decided that we should use this as an opportunity to promote the college and the students.

To be fair it was no great shock when the news was given to me, but things happen and it’s all about adapting.

I said I’d have a think about what we could do and get back to her.

A couple of days later in one of Johns classes he was talking about ‘mending the leaky bucket’, then we had a news day and it hit me.

We have a platform existing platform, which is under utilised, we have great students and most have something to say. So lets start shouting.

My idea was outlined in an email to both Jackie and John.

My Client – Jackie Goodman

After some thought, I decided that I would broach Jackie about working to help promote our degree and what it offers to potential applicants.

Client – Jackie: Head of Journalism and Digital Media @HSAD

Aim – Promote the Course and increase interest and application for new academic year.

Why – HSAD is the only college based Journalism degree to be awarded BJTC accreditation

The welcomes a more diverse range  of pupils to attend.

Smaller class size allows more access to tutors and resources.

Smaller classes allow students to me more than a name and number on a paper.

The cost is approx. £3000 per year less than Trinity or Huddersfield

Hull is a great city with reasonable living costs and great facilities

How – Conduct target audience analysis


  • Scheduled tweets at key times
  • Additional posts relating to activities such as news days, events and journalistic content
  • Interact


  • Populate the page with regular content including student work from news days


Link the Hull Central blog to a general blog about the course, what we have to offer and the students.

Have the blog linked to the social media accounts.


Creating short vids including current and past students talking about what they love about the course and what they have gone on to do.

These can be posted on all social media including a YouTube Channel.

Visit Colleges which teach media related subjects in Hull:

Speak to schools and if possible go along and chat to the students about the course and what it has to offer



CATS Reflection on Leveson

The Leveson  Inquest investigated the British Press following the Phone Hacking Scandal

2007 – News of the World’s editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcare were convicted interception of phone messages.


2011 – The Police launched an investigation names Operation Weeting following a civil settlement with Sienna Miller.

As a result of this investigation it was revealed that Milly Dowlers phone messages had been hacked, leading people to believe she was still alive.

The enquiry was in 2 parts:

1, investigates the contact between the press and the Police and the press and politicians, the ethics of the press and to consider the extent to which the current regulatory regime has failed and whether there had been a failure to act on warnings of media misconduct.

2, the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International, other media organisations. Also the extent which any relevant the police force investigated allegations related to New Internation and whether the police received or were otherwise complicit in misconduct.

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the findings, but declined to bring in the legislation.

Part 2 has never been released.


In 2014 the press formed Independent Press Standards Organisation known as IPSO

IPSO has never fined a paper

IMPRESS is the only organisation backed by Press Regulation Panel and Press Regulation. In 2016

Municipal/Community Reporting

In this lesson we looked into what it takes to be a good community or municipal reporter.

As silly as it sounds one of the first understand the difference between the different councils and what they are responsible for.

If someone is complaining regarding ongoing issues with x,y and z you need to be aware of who controls/has responsibility for it to allow the right to respond.

If there is an issue with bins or community issue you must know who to contact.

Here is a brief outline of who controls what:

County Councils

  • Education
  • Transport
  • planning
  • fire and public safety b
  • social care
  • libraries
  • waste management
  • trading standards
  • EHO

District, Borough and City Councils

  • Rubbish collection
  • Recycling
  • Council Tax Collections
  • Housing
  • Planning applications

Parish, Community and Town Councils

  • Allotments
  • Public Clocks
  • Bus Shelters
  • Community Centres
  • Play areas & Equipment
  • Grants
  • Consultation on Neighborhood Planning
  • litter
  • Graffiti
  • Fly Tipping
  • Dog Offenses

Understanding who’s responsible for what is not enough, its also vital to understand how the system works and who does what.

Local government regardless of the level is like a big machine and every person in every department plays their part.

Above all else THE most important thing for a reporter is to understand the people you serve.

All communities are different with differing needs and issues.

A good municipal reported understands people and what makes them tick, as well as what upsets them.

A reporter needs to be observant, accurate, empathetic and think skinned.

The are few tips I’ve been given are:

  • become friends or at least on first name terms with the press officers and staff in all majors services.
  • be seen, the more people see you in and about your patch the more they will talk to you and trust you
  • get to know the local shop keepers and community leaders, they usually like to talk


News Story Refection

It’s no secret that i dont find news writing the most natural of thing to do.

It has really taken a lot for me to understand the structure of writing news, I read some form of news everyday, its just going in at a really slow rate.

I do however feel i have got better over the year and will continue to work on this throughout the summer.

Of the two stories submitted for assessment, i think the council one was easiest, though my first draft was off the mark the final felt easier to write. I think it was down to the nature of the source and the subject. Even though the subject is one i think is of massive importance, the meetings are very factual and i found i was not involved with the story i was just reporting on it.

The story of Papas fish and chips was a fun one to do as i got to enjoy a portion myself. It was nice to be able to stand in line and watch people, and speak to the ones close to me.

As is usual with my writing it was easy in the beginning to go to feature like. I have tried really hard to keep to the news structure, and follow the rules,

Overall I am happy with the results and hope the hard work has paid off