Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication

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Communications Dissertations

On this page you can access some of the best undergraduate dissertations of 2013.


What themes and political marketing strategies can be inferred from Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s Facebook images in the 2012 US presidential campaign?

Anita Cheung, BA Hons Communications, 2013

link to dissertation 1

This research highlights comparisons in marketing techniques used by incumbent Barack Obama and governor Mitt Romney in their Facebook images during the 2012 Presidential Elections.

The study aims to identify key themes and subliminal marketing strategies utilised by both candidates to understand how people are subjected to political rhetoric and spin. The sample of images analysed were posted online during the final and most eventful month of campaigning. Findings underline strategies candidates used to convince target audiences of their policies and of their constructed persona. The study also highlights the changing nature of how politicians interact with netizens in the Internet age.

You can download the file here: Anita Cheung BACS 2013


Visually communicating ‘honesty’: A semiotic analysis of Dorset Cereals’ packaging

Jessica Burrows, BA Hons Communications, 2013

link to dissertation 1

With its ‘halo’ logo and brand name alone, Innocent declares its innocence. With consumer trust at an all-time low, guilt-free and honest brands are much-needed in today’s marketplace.

Dorset Cereals’ marketing tagline reads, ‘honest, tasty and real’, but how does this brand convey these notions of honesty? Using semiotic analysis, this study investigates how Dorset Cereals visually communicates its brand values of honesty through packaging design. This study applies the work of Saussure, Barthes, and Williamson to explore how Dorset Cereals uses pre-existing systems of meanings and widely-held consumer beliefs to construct its vision of honesty.

You can download the file here: Jessica Burrows BACS 2013


Rhetoric of Reform and Renewal: The use of rhetoric by Opposition party leaders elected on a mandate for change

Kyle Yearwood, BA Hons Communications, 2013

link to dissertation 2

This thesis examines the use of rhetoric from British political party leaders who have been elected to lead their parties in Opposition and into the following election. Each of the party leaders focused on in this paper were elected to their position following a single, or succession of, general election defeats; and were tasked with reforming their respective parties in order to make them electable again. The paper seeks to examine the use of rhetoric from these significant figures in modern British politics and their attempts to make their parties credible candidates in forthcoming election campaigns. The main body of the paper identifies key conventions used by Tony Blair and David Cameron to implement internal party reform and a move away from their traditional political positions, and to convince the electorate that their parties are worthy of government after lengthy spells on the Opposition benches. The latter part of the dissertation contrasts these conventions and techniques with Ed Miliband’s current campaign to reform post-Blair/Brown Labour.

You can download the file here: Kyle Yearwood BACS 2013


The BBC, public service, and charity appeals

Lucy Speed, BA Hons Communications, 2013

link to dissertation 1

This study will attempt to investigate the relationship between the BBC, its public service remit, and the UK’s charity sector through the use of in-depth examples of past alliances which have been formed between the BBC and individual charities. It will consider whether charitable giving is justifiable in terms of the concept of public service broadcasting as well as the means by which the BBC makes decisions regarding which individual appeals it should provide support for. It also aims to portray an outline of the criticisms and problems of such relationships, and the difficulty in applying strict public service principles to something widely regarded as for the ‘common good’.

You can download the file here: Lucy Speed BACS 2013


Screening a hidden minority: The representation of the British Chinese on UK television and how this relates to British Chinese youth self-perceptions of cultural identity

Sylvia Wong, BA Hons Communications, 2013

link to dissertation 1

This critical study explores an area of visual communications, namely the media representations of the British Chinese on UK television. A textual analysis of three media samples was conducted, which were triangulated with interviews with third generation British Chinese youths. It compares the accuracy of media portrayals with the experiences of the British Chinese, highlighting the importance of cultural identity, which remains largely undefined in the UK. As such, the study also investigates whether British Chinese stereotypes and popular stereotypes of the Chinese such as the notions of Yellow Peril, Exoticism and Madame Butterfly narratives are still perpetuated in contemporary media. The essay concludes that media presentations still depicted elements of these stereotypes, but also notes that they were significant in portraying the British Chinese identity crisis. Finally, it is suggested that the British Chinese community should undertake a more active role to amend their lack of visibility in the media.

You can download the file here: Sylvia Wong BACS 2013


Funding Faith: How does Trust the Process communicate recovery from addiction and
spirituality in the context of contrasting scientific opinion, and a secular health service?

Alex Bull, BA Hons New Media, 2013

link to dissertation 2

This paper uses Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) on the website of private addiction treatment organization Trust the Process Counselling (TTP). The aim is to determine exactly how TTP uses discourse to represent addiction, recovery and spirituality on its website, while considering the increased funding such organisations are receiving due to the recent shift in treatment policy and the wider context of opposing scientific opinion and a secular health service.

You can download the file here: Alex Bull BANM 2013


‘Perversions of online identity’: A critique of identity representation in social media

Stewart Russell, BA Hons Communications, 2013

link to dissertation 1

This theoretical research aims to reinterpret and build upon existing research on identity representation in social media. The main narrative built throughout the body of this thesis centres on the perversion of online identity. Weaving together a range of different key theorists, debates and case studies, the narrative focuses on what are considered the two perversions of online identity representation: Anonymity and Commercialisation. Perhaps surprisingly, the latter part of this thesis repositions the argument by providing a counter to what has been hitherto discussed. It calls into question strategies of active resistance, suggesting that users are not without the agency to oppose these perversions should they so desire. In this way, this thesis aims to critically balance these two conflicting, yet incredibly relevant perspectives. The thesis makes effective use of a wealth of theoretical perspectives and concepts, in order to illustrate the breadth of this complex debate.

You can download the file here: Stewart Russell BACS 2013


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