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A creative arts dissertation Many programmes in the arts offer the option of completing a creative rather than critical dissertation; that is, of submitting a piece of creative writing or a portfolio of artworks, rather than an extended critical project, for the dissertation component of the programme.However, in virtually all cases, your creative project must be accompanied by a substantial critical essay (or introduction, or commentary) that theorises your creative practice.
You’ll have also reviewed the in which these scholars have arrived at their conclusions – the assumptions on which their work is based, the theoretical frameworks they've used, and the methods they've used to gather, marshal and present their data.
You will have used these observations, along with discussions with your supervisor, to plan how you're going to tackle your research question.
However, the complexity of working with human subjects means there are a number of additional questions to consider.
First of all, you'll want to answer certain broad questions about the kind of analysis you're undertaking: is it qualitative or quantitative, or a mixed approach that uses qualitative data to provide context and background to quantitative data (or vice versa)?
No part of your dissertation should be hermetically sealed off from the others, and there will undoubtedly be some overlap between your methodology and literature review section, for example.
You might even find yourself moving material back and forth between sections during edits.Regardless of your level, your dissertation methodology will develop as you review the literature in your field and refine your initial research questions.Your literature review and methodology will therefore develop in tandem with each other.Critically engaging with one's own work is a notoriously difficult thing to do, which makes the development and adherence to a rigorous methodology especially important in this context.You need to not only show that you're capable of detaching yourself from your own creative work and viewing it through an objective lens, but that you are able to see your own creative practice as methodology – as a method of creating work that is grounded in theory and research and that can be evaluated against clear target goals.You should not only include the necessary information about your equipment, lab setup, and procedure to allow another researcher to reproduce your method; you should also demonstrate that you've factored any variables that are likely to distort your data (for example, by introducing false positives into your design), and that you have a plan to handle these either in collecting, analysing, or drawing conclusions from your data.Your methodology should also include details of – and justifications for – the statistical models you'll use to analyse your data.If you're completing a postgraduate dissertation, the chances are you already have a broad awareness of the different theoretical positions and schools of thought in your field, and you may well have a good idea of the schools of thought with which you most closely identify (and, just as importantly, those you don't identify with).If you're writing an undergraduate dissertation, this may very well be the first time you've been asked to engage with such a broad field of literature, and categorising this into distinct approaches and schools of thought may seem like an overwhelming task at first.But you should resist the temptation to include the following in your dissertation methodology, even if they seem to belong there quite naturally: When you start your dissertation project, you may already have some broad ideas about the methodology you want to use.You'll refine these ideas in conversation with your supervisor and develop them further as you read about the previous work that has been done in your field, and other scholars' approach to your subject area.