Dissertations

Workshop topics

Develop ideas, learn research strategies and create effective structures for your dissertation.

Decolonizing Research Methods

The relationships between Western academic research and colonial practices.

Available to all students in all years.

Format:
A series of ten 2-hour interactive workshops. You are welcome to attend individual sessions (e.g. only Part 1, or only Part 2 and Part 5, etc.), although it is beneficial if you are able to attend all workshops.

These workshops are based on the premise that Western academic research is an activity that occurs in a set of historical, political and social conditions that are tied to colonial and imperial practices. 

Taught by an academic lecturer, each workshop involves:

  • Generating and reflecting on ideas and experiences related to the theme of the workshop.
  • Discussing attitudes, assumptions and motivations that underpin academic study and research practices.
  • Engaging with academic writing produced by peoples who have traditionally been marginalized in Western academia.
  • Analysing participants’ own values in relation to these contexts.

Part 1: The Enlightenment

This workshop focuses on the core principles of the Enlightenment which underpin research motivations and legitimacy.

Part 2: History

This workshop facilitates a deconstruction of whose history is prioritised and validated through research practices.

Part 3: Borders

This workshop examines the impact of borders on the production of knowledge.

Part 4: Religion

This workshop focuses on the religious foundations of identity and social relations, and how they influence moral and ethical choices.

Part 5: Language

This workshop considers the role of language in social, cultural and political relations, particularly in the legitimization of academic research.

Part 6: Education

This workshop highlights and interrogates dominant attitudes and practices that form the basis of a ‘good’ education, including its structure and goal.

Part 7: Gender

This workshop looks at socially patterned categories of gender identification, and how these contribute to knowledge of the self and the other.

Part 8: Capitalism

This workshop explores how a dominant economic logic is intertwined with historical and contemporary social relationships.

Part 9: Democracy

This workshop investigates the intentions and consequences of universalizing contemporary Western political structures.

Part 10: Progress

This workshop explores the possible contributions of academic research to disrupting colonial formations, and reconceptualizing the social order.

Dates:
2:00 PM on Tue, 25 February, St James Block Garden Room / Part 6: Education - Book here
2:00 PM on Tue, 3 March, St James Block Garden Room / Part 7: Gender - Book here
2:00 PM on Tue, 10 March, St James Block Garden Room / Part 8: Capitalism - Book here
2:00 PM on Tue, 17 March, St James Block Garden Room / Part 9: Democracy - Book here
2:00 PM on Tue, 24 March, St James Block Garden Room / Part 10: Progress - Book here

For further information please email Sara Ewing.

Directions to St James Garden Room: walk down Laurie Grove towards the Laban Centre, turn left through the security parking gates as if to go to the College Green, then turn right and walk down behind the Whitehead Building towards Lockwood Annexe. Go through the gates into the St James Hall courtyard and the Garden Room is directly in front of you. You can find this building on the Campus Map.

Please note, there are three steps down into this room. If you have accessibility requirements, please contact us in advance of the workshop.

Resources for this workshop can be found on the Decolonizing Research Methods Learn.gold (VLE) page. Please note that each week’s readings are available by Wednesday afternoon prior to the class on the Decolonizing Research Methods Learn.gold page.

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Dissertation Search Strategies

This workshop introduces search strategies and useful resources to access at Goldsmiths Library and beyond

Suitable for all students.

Format:
This is a 90-minute workshop.

You will learn how to:

  • Use advanced search techniques and construct planned searches in Library Search and specialist databases
  • Filter searches for relevancy and evaluate resources for academic quality
  • Identify relevant resources held outside Goldsmiths Library
  • Obtain books, articles and other resources that Goldsmiths Library does not hold from other libraries

Dates:
12:00 PM on Tue, 18 February, RUTHB 008 - Book here
3:00 PM on Tue, 10 March, RUTHB 008 - Book here

For further information please email Academic Skills

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Exploring E-Resources

Learn how to use specialist Library databases to find research resources for your assignments

Suitable for all students. 

Format:
This is a 90-minute workshop.

A hands on workshop giving you the opportunity explore the many specialist databases you are able to access at Goldsmiths. You’ll learn how to navigate subject-specific material and find newspaper articles, audio-visual material and peer-reviewed journal articles.

By the end of this session students you will be able to:

  • Understand when to use Library databases to find resources
  • Be familiar with the variety of subject specific databases and e-resources available through Goldsmiths Library
  • Use simple techniques to make database searching easier and more efficient

Dates:
1:00 PM on Fri, 13 March, RUTHB 008 - Book here

For further information please email Academic Skills

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How to Write a Thesis Statement

Discover how to use thesis statements to help focus your essays/dissertations and structure your argument.

Suitable for all students

Format:
This is a 2-hour workshop

A thesis statement indicates your opinion or stance on an essay topic. It sets out what you intend to argue or prove and is usually found towards the end of your introduction. This workshop explores:

  • The importance of including a thesis statement in your essays
  • The purpose of a thesis statement
  • Students will be encouraged to practise writing thesis statements

Dates:
2:00 PM on Wed, 26 February, MMB 109 - Book here

For further information please contact Academic Skills

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Introduction to Archives

What archives are, how they are kept and catalogued and how to use them for research.

Suitable for all postgraduate students, but also of interest to undergraduates that intend to progress onto postgraduate courses.

Format:
This is a 60-minute workshop.

By the end of this session students will know what archives are, how they can be found in library/Calm search, ordered, consulted and used for research, which areas Goldsmiths’ archives is especially strong in, and what support is available from Archives/Special Collections staff.

Please note that food and drink is not permitted in Special Collections and Archives (except for water).

Dates:
12:00 PM on Wed, 19 February, Special Collections, RUTHB - Book here

For further information please contact Academic Skills

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Introduction to Referencing

Understand the principles of referencing and gain confidence before your next assignment.

Suitable for all students.

Format:
This is a 60-minute workshop.

You will be introduced to the basics of referencing and shown some simple tools to make the process easier.
By the end of this session students should be able to:

  • Understand why and when to reference others in academic work
  • Understand when to use in-text citations or footnotes and how this relates to the reference list
  • Find online tools to make referencing simpler

Dates:
1:00 PM on Wed, 4 March, Prokofiev Room, RUTHB - Book here

For further information please email Academic Skills

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Scrivener for Dissertation/Thesis Writing: Advanced

Learn to use software that will help you to structure and progress your research writing.

This session is suitable for all students undertaking long-form writing projects like dissertations and theses, who are interested in exploring alternatives to MS Word and Google Docs for their word processing and research writing.

Format:
This a 90-minute workshop.

Scrivener* is a word processing application used primarily by novelists and scriptwriters. The application has also been widely championed as an excellent tool for long form academic writing due to its powerful features that allow use of a modular file structure.

In this final advanced session for Scrivener we will build upon the previous two sessions and work on, discuss and troubleshoot any issues users are having. This session will be more informal, adapting to the needs of the participants and collectively discussing approaches to writing in Scrivener.

It is expected that attendees of this session will have attended the Introduction and Intermediate sessions already, or be an advanced user of the software.

*Please note: Scrivener is a paid for application. Goldsmiths does not provide you with, or officially support, this application. This is an opportunity to see, try and discuss this software to see if it might work for you as an alternative to MS Word or Google Docs. Students who attend this session will be expected to have downloaded and installed the 30 day free trial of Scrivener 3 so they can try some of the features in the session. You can download the free trial here. Should you wish to purchase this following the session the educational price is a one off payment of £39.95.

Dates:
2:00 PM on Tue, 18 February, RHB 140 - Book here

For further information please contact Academic Skills

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Undergraduate Dissertation Writing: Structure and Argument

Effective strategies for building argument in a long project

Suitable for undergraduate students who are currently writing dissertations.

Format:
This is a 120-minute workshop.

This workshop presents:

  • An overview of all the parts of a thesis
  • Strategies for making a question or title
  • An example Introduction
  • Strategies for building argument using topic sentences

Dates:
3:00 PM on Tue, 31 March, MMB 221 - Book here
1:00 PM on Fri, 17 April, PSH 305 - Book here

For further information please contact Academic Skills

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Undergraduate Dissertations Writing: Conclusion

Provide a powerful and convincing ending

Suitable for undergraduate Goldsmiths students who are currently writing dissertations. 

Format:
This is a 2-hour workshop.

This workshop presents:

  • Strategies for writing the discussion and conclusion
  • Strategies for macro-editing a long piece of writing
  • An example conclusion

Dates:
3:00 PM on Thu, 2 April, MMB 221 - Book here
2:00 PM on Wed, 22 April, RHB 138 - Book here

For further information please contact Academic Skills 

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Zotero for Managing Your References (Part 1)

Learn to use this free tool to help manage your references.

Suitable for all students.

Format:
These are 90-minute workshops.

This beginners workshop will introduce you to the freely available reference management software called Zotero. Zotero can help you collect and manage your references as you find them and then quickly add them to your written work using automated in-text citations and an automatically generated reference list. 

You are strongly advised to bring your own laptop if you have one and make sure that you have installed Zotero in advance of the session. This video guide can help you. 

You will also be able to use Zotero on the computers provided if you do not have your own laptop.

By the end of this session students should be able to:

  • Check their Zotero is correctly set up and synced to their account
  • Understand the basic layout and benefits of Zotero
  • Use simple methods to add references to their Zotero library and make edits
  • Use the Zotero word processor plugin
  • Produce a reference list in a style of your choice

Zotero is recommended for all students and researchers who want to use to a tool to manage their references. Zotero is particularly useful for longer projects, dissertations, or research.

Dates:
3:00 PM on Tue, 25 February, RUTHB 008 - Book here
3:00 PM on Thu, 5 March, RUTHB 008 - Book here

For further information please email Academic Skills

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Zotero for Managing Your References (Part 2)

Improve your efficiency with Zotero and use advanced features.

Suitable for all students.

Format:
These are 90-minute workshops.

This second Zotero session is aimed at students and researchers already familiar with Zotero who want to know more about its advanced functionality and added features. You should have already attended the beginners session first unless you are experienced using Zotero for managing your references.

You are strongly advised to bring your own laptop if you have one, and are expected to have already installed Zotero and used the basic features for adding references. You will also be able to use Zotero on the computers provided if you do not have your own laptop.

By the end of this session students should be able to:

  • Use advanced methods to add references to your Zotero library, including exporting multiple references at once and creating chapter references
  • Check and remove duplicate references
  • Utilise advanced functions in Zotero to manage research and note taking
  • Use groups to share references

Dates:
3:00 PM on Tue, 3 March, RUTHB 008 - Book here
3:00 PM on Wed, 11 March, RUTHB 008 - Book here

For further information please email Academic Skills

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