Ellie Carter, runner-up for Dissertation of the Year 2017, tells us more about her work and her advice for dissertation students in the future.
My dissertation traced the development of the anti-Vietnam war protest movement between 1965 and 1968 in America. It analysed the links that had developed with the civil rights movement and the influence this had on the politics of President’s Johnson and Nixon.
Throughout the dissertation, I considered the role student activism, the media, and patriotism had on the development of the movement. Chapter One explored the growth of the movement between 1965-1967. By assessing the impact the movement had on Johnson’s policies, this chapter argued that the movement had not yet gained mass support, but was slowly growing. In Chapter Two I considered the growth of the movement in early 1968, arguing the Tet offensive in January provided the opportunity to mobilise mass support which the movement failed to do. Chapter Three focused on the demise of the movement under the Nixon era. It highlighted the violence used by the protestors caused a conservative backlash and resulted in the election of Richard Nixon. The dissertation concluded by arguing FBI infiltration under Nixon took the momentum out of the anti-war movement.
The main advice I would give to future dissertation students is to set yourself realistic deadlines and stick to them. This ensures you do not get too stressed out in the weeks leading to the deadline and leaves room to complete your other assignments. I would also advise starting your bibliography straight away so that you can just add to it, rather than having to do the whole thing at the end. Finally don’t ignore the lecturers- they provide a lot of support. Even if you are struggling to write the dissertation, talk to them as they offer great advice but only if you ask for it.