Coursework 1: Feedback and Reflections

For coursework 1 of the M96 module, we were asked to produce a 2000 word essay looking at developing our initial researcher ideas and beginning to identify research papers and theoretical background. The coursework itself was a great opportunity for me to look at my wider reading and identify key readings that I felt either were highly relevant to my theoretical framework or to my research ideas.

I have continued to stick with my initial researcher idea of Basic Bitches and performing normative femininity online. I have been reading widely around the topic, and already have a good log of papers built up to use for coursework and, ultimately, my dissertation. As the coursework asked for us to choose three journal articles that were linked to our research topic and critique them, I was able to draw upon my bibliography and find three I could relate to the research topic at hand and also critique.

The papers I chose were:

Budgeon, S (2003) ‘Identity as an Embodied Event’ Body and Society Vol 9, p935-955

Ibrahim, Y (2015) ‘Instagramming life: banal imaging and the poetics of the everyday’ The Journal of Media Practice Vol 16 (1) p42-54.

Stuart, A and Donaghue, N (2011) ‘Choosing to Conform: The Discursive Complexities of Choice in Relation to Feminine Beauty Practices’ Feminism and Psychology Vol 22 (1) p98-121.

I chose these papers because each covers a distinct area of research that I will be incorporating into my final piece of research. Femininity, Instagram and identity are covered extensively across the three papers, and all of these will be used in my dissertation. I drew upon a wide range of theorists to critique and support these papers and their ideas, which will in turn make my dissertation a stronger and more critically informed piece of research.

The feedback I received on this piece of coursework was generally positive, which I was pleased with. It was highlighted that I need to work more on identifying social media use as a feminine activity, which I implied in the essay but unintentionally so (I particularly noted this on reading back), and I feel this would be an important area to cover in my dissertation given that I will be looking at how women use social media to enact feminine identity(s). I also need to add more reasoning for why the research should be done (i.e. what benefit it would have) as opposed to why I want to do it – I strongly outlined my personal reasons for choosing the project topic but lacked on the societal implications of the research. Subtly around terminology and certain terms is something I also need to work on, and I have had this issue highlighted to me in the past with my bachelor’s dissertation. I will work harder on making sure I can delve into the terms I am using and drawing upon to ensure a critical reading of my own work.

Overall I was very pleased with the feedback for the essay, and I feel it is a solid start to preparing my research topic for my dissertation. I am intending to continue building on my digital research profile as well, and I have already made some steps towards preparing for my next coursework, which will be focusing on data collection for research.

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