Katie in a dissertation as it provides an analytical

Katie Latham         Student ID: 6665313         Coventry University       FA

A300CAW – Academic Writing: Writing Skills for Dissertation and Research Project

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Describe and analyse the similarities and differences between your coursework and dissertation writing.

In this essay I will be discussing how my research projects/ coursework have not benefitted me towards writing my dissertation. I will also be talking about an analytic reflection about an essay I wrote in sixth form. The essay I am discussing will be going through how I structured the essay, how it has benefitted me towards writing my dissertation. I will be referring to elements of academic writing as text, such as, organisation and argument, style, and to issues related to the planning and process of writing the coursework and the dissertation what I will also be discussing is the understanding of different types of assignments, and how they have furthered my writing towards my dissertation.

For the essay I wrote for sixth form, academic writing in the essay was structured differently compared to my dissertation. Essays are formed to provide information about a subject or person (artists) in which this is then clarified and reinforced by evidence. For my dissertation I am discussing ‘representing female sexuality’ and for the essay concluded the ‘comparison of the paintings of Paul Nash and Henry Moore’. I was given the task to write about the key influences that artists Henry Moore and Paul Nash were inspired by war art and what had influenced them.

I did not have methodology in my essay also but have in my dissertation. This is required if the dissertation entails of primary numerical research but will not be needed in dissertations in theory topics or focused on secondary research.

My essay, also did not contain a literature review. But is, almost mandatory in a dissertation as it provides an analytical overview of the significant literature discussed on the topic. It is often the first chapter written, although my dissertation was structured differently. At the beginning of each chapter I discuss the artist’s impact on the feminist movement in the 1970s. This is because the audience will understand why the artist’s work is so huge in the art world for women artists. In the case of theory dissertations and secondary/tertiary research, the practical chapters may involve in constant conversation with the literature, in which case a separate literature review chapter may not be essential.

The main body of your dissertation is included of chronological practical chapters. The number of chapters differs according to the length of your dissertation but the average is from three to five. The indication of the chapter structure is very much like the paragraphs of an essay in that each should address a diverse characteristics of the dissertation you are presenting in your dissertation but never lose sight of the main argument. In the essay I did not concentrate of my introduction, as I would often forget to relate to the title itself and go of in tangent.

The structure of the essay was split in to four amount of sections, Title, introduction, 4 paragraphs (similarities, differences per artist), and the conclusion. The structure of my dissertation is split in to six amount of sections. Title, chapter page, introduction, three chapters (about), conclusion, references. For my dissertation, since I am discussing female sexuality, and comparing differences between three different artists of how they express female sexuality, this more of a discussion, and a longer than the essay, more research is necessary since you have to be more definitive.

The introduction for the essay, lacked clarity. The introduction was repetition, misleading reader not referring paragraphs to introduction. An introduction should inform the reader of the topics that will be spoken about through the main body of the essay. The introduction for the essay was not vague, and was not defined clearly. I did not state the main ideas that I had discussed in the main body of my research. Dimitar Angelov, a writer about academic writing mentions a topic sentence (Angelov 2015), which is what will be discussed in the paragraphs. Since my essay was shorter, my sentences at the beginning of the paragraphs were more stated, and less descriptive. The paragraph structure were both in coherent fashion.  Vocabulary it justifies the target audience and adequately assists what you are trying to say.

Though there are many areas in which I need to improve on and think about throughout critical thinking and writing, I do feel as though I got my argument across successfully. Through my attendance at lectures and individual research of academic writing, I have developed on my knowledge of essay writing prior to University.

I wrote the essay five years ago. While I have been at university though, my written assignments and projects have not benefitted me towards writing my dissertation. My dissertation has a huge depth of research to find a long discussion of relevant facts. But through my year at university, I have not done many written essays since paintings is my style of visual language. There are any different kinds of ‘genres’ of assignment, to written language, to spoken language or music/song, all assignment styles can produce a mass of work.

My writing projects for my course at university have been writing study proposals, plans, and reflective reports. The majority of the course is my paintings and my sketch book. I did not need to do much research for my written project. I mainly focus my research for my sketchbook.

With writing my study proposals, I explain what I will be doing my project, what new materials I will be using in my work, artists I look will look at, how I will be developing my work, what I did the previous project about and how it relates to the project now. I did not need to use research since it was just reflecting on what my work will be about. No research was needed for the study proposals this did not benefit me doing me dissertation. The idea and main objective to writing a proposal is to define what you will do (project), why it should be done, how you will do it and what you expect will result.Being clear about the subject from the beginning will help complete the thesis in a chronological order. A vague proposal can lead to confused and unsuccessful writing exercise. While a well thought out, and clean proposal forms the backbone for the proposal itself.  

Another form of writing I use for my coursework, is reflective reports. This is just reflecting on my work and how I think I have done that term. With this essay is just a reflection of my work, to see what I can improve on. No research needed again, this does not help towards research or writing for my dissertation.

Alongside painting though, I do have to do research relevant to the topic I am doing about. For example, my recent work is all about abstraction, so I look at abstract art as a language. I look up artists, and how they portray certain emotions in to their work, and how I can represent a similar feel. Each painting that I do, I have to write about and explain the procedure, placement, position, colours, texture, material ECT.

Also, going to exhibitions/museums a lot has helped me criticise art work. We also have group crits, which a few student on the course with gather around your studio space, and you discuss what work you are doing, what your dissertation is about, what artists have influenced me; the group with then respond with feedback, ideas and criticism. This helps me towards writing my dissertation since I have to compare three pieces of art work from three different artists; comparing similarities and differences revolving around female sexuality.

For my sketch book we have to write about art histories. Through my sketchbook I will also sketch ideas, sampling colours that work well, repeating a drawing to improve my skills. The demands of writing and the demands of practice in fine art relate to each other in tangential ways. Visual art can communicate intelligent, intellectual ideas through the visuals as well as the accompanying language. Unflattening, is a book about academic writing that expresses art as equal partner and component in thinking He claims that ‘image is not mere illustration, subordinate to words, but an equal partner and component in thinking.’


In disciplines with a longer history in higher education, that include writing practices, are less contested than in the newer academic fields such as fine art. The recent incorporation of these particular fields and schools in the university sector requires these fields to create academic writing practises with existing academic models, or even to justify their disciplinary practices. Example, much has been written about the particularity of practice-based, reflective and creative written genres, such as the studio or practice based thesis, as the distinct voice of art and design.  For other disciplines such as science, produce research reports frequently, such as experiments, and using result tables; in which they have more evidence and research to be written about. Correspondingly to the sciences, the field of art and design in fact names a broad grouping of communities of practice, e.g. fashion design, fine arts, graphic design, with a range of prospects regarding practice and writing


In conclusion, while I have been at university though, my written assignments and projects have not benefitted me towards writing my dissertation. But through my year at university, I have not done many written essays since paintings is my style of visual language. There are any different kinds of ‘genres’ of assignment, to written language, to spoken language or music/song, all assignment styles can produce a mass of work. I had to ensure that I followed the key guidelines of essay writing such as its features, language and composition. From this written task, I have learned that since I began University, I have developed my knowledge of visual art as a form of language.


Angelov, D. (2015) Academic Writing as Product and Process lecture module A107CAW, 2 October 2015, Coventry: Coventry University

Bann, S. (1980). “Abstract Art: A Language”, towards a new art: Essays on the background to abstract art, 1910-20, London: Tate Gallery, 125-145

Booth, W., Colomb, G. and Williams, J. M. (1995) The Craft of Research. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press

Crème, P., and Lea, M. R. (2008) Writing at University online 3rd edn. Maidenhead: Open University Press. available from 7 December 2015

Greetham, B. (2009) How to Write Your Undergraduate Dissertation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Journals.sagepub.com. (2017). Writing purposefully in art and design Arts and Humanities in Higher Education – Gavin Melles, Julia Lock heart, 2012. Online Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1474022211432116 Accessed 15 Dec. 2017.

UK Essays. (2017). How to structure a dissertation | Dissertation Structure. Online Available at: https://www.ukessays.com/resources/help-guides/undergraduate/dissertation/how-to-structure.php Accessed 15 Dec. 2017.

Sousanis, N. (2015). Unflattening. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, pp.20-45.

Teachersinstitute.yale.edu. (2017). 02.04.06: Writers as Artists, Artists as Writers; Response to Literature and Visual Arts. Online Available at: http://teachersinstitute.yale.edu/curriculum/units/2002/4/02.04.06.x.html Accessed 15 Dec. 2017.

Williams, J. M. (2003) Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace. 7th edn. London: Longman

Www2.hawaii.edu. (2017). Guidelines on writing a research proposal. Online Available at: https://www2.hawaii.edu/~matt/proposal.html Accessed 15 Dec. 2017.