From Mumsnet to Onlyfans: The best and wildest diss topics from this year

Bet you write your diss about a poem, you nerd

Every year students have to complete a dissertation, and writing one is tough. They’re long, time consuming and can often be really boring. The only light at the end of the tunnel for students is the mandatory picture in front of your uni building holding your dissertation (or did you really write one?) But this year, because of lockdown, students are being deprived of this and so have had to come up with creative ways to keep it interesting, such as Photoshopping their hand in pics.

It’s not enough just to have a banging diss pic, now your actual diss has to be interesting, too. Gone are the days of using traditional and boring topics; students have branched out to consider important topics about the world around them. These have ranged from diss topics on OnlyFans, chicken shops and Louis Theroux. People have been uploading pics of their dissertation to Twitter and a number of them have been trending because they are brilliant.

We have rounded up some of the best diss topics from this year from all around the UK (warning: reading about these will make you question your own diss topic).

Olivia, Leeds Beckett, Onlyfans

Media, Communications and Cultures student Olivia wrote her dissertation on Onlyfans, and titled it: “LonelyMans, PhoneyScams, and HornyGrans: A corpus assisted critical discourse analysis of Twitter users; perception of postmodern online sex work on OnlyFans”, it discusses the treatment of OnlyFans sex work on Twitter. 

Olivia spoke to The Tab Leeds and said she was inspired by the sex positivity movement, the naked philanthropist, and Just Gemma, who used OnlyFans to raise money for charity yet still got demonised by (mostly) men on the internet.”There’s absolutely no academic literature on OnlyFans so I decided to be the first.” 

Beth, University of Birmingham, Fiat 500 Twitter

English language student Beth Houghton explored “the linguistic features that define the online subculture of Fiat 500 Twitter.” Her idea came from a lecture on online identities, which mentioned Fiat 500 Twitter, and the aim of her diss was “to find out what makes a Fiat 500 tweet so different to general tweets that people feel the need to label it as such.”

Speaking to The Birmingham Tab, Beth said after scrolling through tweets she did find some difference between Fiat 500 Twitter and regular tweets, such as “such as over 70 per cent of the whole corpus featured the word ‘boyfriend’ in their tweets!!”

Yasmine, University of Coventry, queer people in the media

If you are an avid TikTok user, then you know “I do it for the girls and the gays, thats it” is an iconic sound, and journalism student Yasmine Summan referenced this quote in the acknowledgements section of her diss.

Jasmine spoke to The Tab and said that as her diss looked into the representation of queer people in media and magazines: “I really did do it for the girls and the gays”. She added that “I saw the meme on TikTok and thought meh, if lockdown is going to postpone my graduation and prevent me from finishing my project fully, I might as well go out with a bang.”

Sarah, Robert-Gordon University, Toy Story

4th year student Sarah wrote her diss on “the  parallels between childhood toys and Toy story”. It features key moments from Toy Story’s script, as well as screenshots from the film, and photos of Sarah as a child with her favourite toys.

The diss is presented in the form of a video cassette, complete with adverts for old Disney films on the inside cover. When speaking to The Tab, in regards to whether the elaborate presentation will help, Sarah said: “For my course, a considered presentation can really help your grade but it was just one of those things I just thought of randomly and it just went from there.”

Chloe, Leeds Beckett, Louis Theroux

Chloe Simon has apparently always been a fan of Louis Theroux’s and titled her diss “How does he Theroux it? An analysis of Louis Theroux’s style in BBC documentaries.”

When speaking to The Tab, Chloe said: “A tutor at the start of second year jokingly said I should write my dissertation on him. This tutor ended up being my diss supervisor so of course I went and did it, didn’t I?” It gets better, because she tweeted him a picture of her diss, and he liked it!

Lauren, University of Birmingham, Mumsnet 

English Language and Literature student Lauren completed her diss on “an investigation into Mumsnet as an Online Community of Practice.”

The Birmingham Tab interviewed her, and when asked how she got her inspiration and love for Mumsnet, she said: “I can’t really remember how my obsession with Mumsnet started but I think it was around this time last year when I googled a basic question about my hair.”

Karishma, University of Nottingham, sexual harassment

University of Nottingham student Karishma titled her diss: “He was trying to flirt’; an exploration of male university students understanding of sexual harassment”

She uploaded a pic of her diss, next to a pic of her holding it, and captioned it “The dissertation.  The researcher.” and it went massive, already boasting over 194.9k likes.

Farhana, LSE, chicken shops in London

Sociology student Farhana Aktar titled her diss: “Bossman, two wings and chips please’ An ethnographic project on Youth space construction in London chicken shops.” When speaking to The Tab, she said that her motivation came from London chicken boxes being branded with stop knife crime, and so she wanted to demonstrate the positive aspects of chicken shops for young people that is beyond the taste of the food.

George, University of Aberdeen, Rory Delap’s long throws (no really)

George Innes titled his dissertation: “Blissful Ignorance: the Butterfly Effect’s place in Chaos Theory”. The description reads “a theoretical study into how the two goals scored by Stoke City straight from Rory Delap’s long throws in their 3-2 loss against Everton on the 14th of September 2008 directly led to Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley ceasing trading as investment banks on the 21st of September 2008.”

George, describing himself as a big football fan, spoke to SPORTbible and said: “Well I had actually chosen the title before having concrete, or should I say extremely tenuous, links between the two events,”  but added that his originality earned him some praise with dissertation tutors.

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