After a week or two of deliberation about my chosen topic for my dissertation, I narrowed my focus down to concentrating on the tobacco industry, exploring how advertisers manipulated audiences to recruit new smokers for large corporate tobacco companies.
Advice given by tutors was to read as much as possible on our given subject, which I certainly have done over the past 5-6 weeks, and actually found it incredibly interesting. Initially I couldn’t understand how an essay would enhance my practical abilities in design, however, throughout the process so far I’ve asked myself why so many times. I read “The Persuaders” by James Garvey initially, which gave me a grasp on the deceptive nature of advertisers throughout history. It was interesting to delve into the psychology behind decisions to target audiences through signs and symbols. For example, thinking about the liberation of women and smoking, Virginia slims exploited the women’s need to look good and remain slim. Lucky strike produced campaigns encouraging women to “Reach for a Lucky Not a Sweet”. I found this fascinating.
Here’s some of my initial research in the form of mind maps. This allowed me to visualise the linking points more easily, and was something I could refer back to quite easily.
I explored the subject as a whole to begin with, but soon found myself barraged with a whole range of issues within the industry that I could write about, and found myself getting lost quite often. So I decided to condense my question to:
How has Tobacco Advertising Targeted Women & Children in America?
This gave me the foundation to start thinking about my literature review. I started by gathering all the quotes I had collated in a word doc and began thinking about the structure of my essay. What were my main points? What theory could I tie into the themes I’ve chosen? What case studies am I going to use?
It’s very embryonic at this stage, and very much subject to change, however I’ve written almost 1200 words and still think there’s a lot more to talk about.
I’ve found it difficult to understand the writing style of a dissertation and literature review particularly, and my absence from college due to knee surgery has meant it’s been difficult to confer with tutors. However, I’m back next week and will come armed with questions I need to get answered, and ask for guidance!