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  1. #1

    Default Paper on Fragrances

    Hi,

    Due to my sudden interest in the Eau de Toilette world, I've decided to do a small 20 page paper for school. Now, my problem is, like in any research paper, I need to pinpoint down my topic. Can anyone help me with giving me ideas on different subjects? My Idea was to do it on "the evolution of fragrances from yesterday to today", but I think it's too vast. Any input would be highly appreciated!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    I recommend you send PMs to scentemental and the_good_life, both of whom are knowledgeable historians of perfumery, as well as being college profs, so they're probably used to advising students with queries such as this.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    what subject is it for?
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel_Cairo
    I recommend you send PMs to scentemental and the_good_life, both of whom are knowledgeable historians of perfumery, as well as being college profs, so they're probably used to advising students with queries such as this.
    They are college profs? I didnt know that !

    Isnt Marlen/PerfumeCritic/Scenteur7 a college prof too?
    -

  5. #5

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by hirch_duckfinder
    what subject is it for?

    There's no subject...It's something like the thesis you would do at the end of your bachelor's/master's/Ph.d

    But I'm doing it to get my advanced diploma.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    Don't they want you to argue something for your academic papers?

    I mean, something like "The evolution of fragrances from yesterday to today" would be a nice topic for a magazine article, but you'd have to have a thesis statement.

    Is this a high school thing?

    I think using fragrance as a topic might be tough, I don't know if there are a lot of reliable texts that discuss this kind of thing. I go to the biggest university in Canada and I was looking through the library system for fun if there was anything about cologne/perfume whether it be on how it's made, the history etc. etc. and I found one book in English which had a topic anything remotely close to it.

    Unless you're using size 72 font I would guess it would be horribly difficult to write that much on a topic like this.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by acehimself
    Don't they want you to argue something for your academic papers?

    I mean, something like "The evolution of fragrances from yesterday to today" would be a nice topic for a magazine article, but you'd have to have a thesis statement.

    Is this a high school thing?

    I think using fragrance as a topic might be tough, I don't know if there are a lot of reliable texts that discuss this kind of thing. I go to the biggest university in Canada and I was looking through the library system for fun if there was anything about cologne/perfume whether it be on how it's made, the history etc. etc. and I found one book in English which had a topic anything remotely close to it.
    Unless you're using size 72 font I would guess it would be horribly difficult to write that much on a topic like this.
    I obviously wasn't going to use that topic for my paper--that's why I posted and asked for your help. I'm sure there are a lot of books around. Check this link out:http://www.biblioparfum.net/

  8. #8

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by dathrilla
    I obviously wasn't going to use that topic for my paper--that's why I posted and asked for your help. I'm sure there are a lot of books around. Check this link out:http://www.biblioparfum.net/
    Oh I'm not saying that books don't exist. I'm just saying that I think you'd be unlikely to find very many from a local library or anything like that. If you're willing to go out and purchase half a dozen books on the topic then you might have something to work at.

    All I'm saying is, to be able to come up with some sort of argument related to fragrance, the perfume industry, etc. etc. and fill up 20 pages of solid, researched information would be quite a task.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    Just to add something, did you even look at that link you posted? That's a site containing someone's private collection of vintage books on the subject. Most of the books on there are from over a hundred years ago. You won't find any of those books in your local public library I can assure you of that. Most are in French too, maybe you are French? I'm not sure but if not that's another problem.

    I'm not trying to discourage you out of spite or something, I'm just giving you a realistic assessment. I'd hate to see you get all into this topic and then after a lot of effort gets put in you find that you can't get enough information to do the job justice.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    I think were talking apple and oranges here. I'm worried about the EXCESS of information I'll probably encounter throughout my research while you're concerned about the INSUFFICIENCE of it. We all know we can gather enough information to make hundred's of pages on a subject. What I/we should be worried about is how to pinpoint my topic to not go off-topic.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by dathrilla
    I think were talking apple and oranges here. I'm worried about the EXCESS of information I'll probably encounter throughout my research while you're concerned about the INSUFFICIENCE of it. We all know we can gather enough information to make hundred's of pages on a subject. What I/we should be worried about is how to pinpoint my topic to not go off-topic.
    Excess of information on this? Of course you can gather enough information on anything, but it depends on what lengths you're willing to go to. I just honestly can't see where you have this wealth of information on this subject hidden away, unless you're planning on using random websites as sources which isn't likely to work unless you're doing this for a junior high report or something. When I think of gathering info to write a paper, my sources are basically libraries and on-line databases of academic journals.


    I mean do you want some possible topics? You could write on how "designers have been moving towards more synthetic ingredients in their fragrances and describe the reasons behind this and the implications". That's just an idea. Don't ask me to write a paper on something like that because I wouldn't have any idea where to begin. Of the list of books you provided, the most recent one I think I saw was 1990, and the vast majority are ancient. Every search I've ever done for books on fragrance even at the University of Toronto library, largest one in Canada - turns up one book - "The Emperor of Scent" which is really just a biography. It simply isn't a topic with a wealth of widely availble modern writing surrounding it.

    Beyond that topic suggestion I guess I can't help you. I'll stand by my assertion that from the standpoint of writing an academic paper to college/university type criteria it would be exceedingly difficult. If you go through with it though, I'd be very interested to read it and hear how you went about finding information on the topic.

  12. #12

    Lightbulb Re: Paper on Fragrances

    Here's an idea:

    Survey cultural preferences and perceptions of different fragrances, anchoring your analysis in the present but employing historical narratives for background. Posit explainations for the phenomena you discover and weigh them in light of the available evidence.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by d4
    Here's an idea:

    Survey cultural preferences and perceptions of different fragrances, anchoring your analysis in the present but employing historical narratives for background. Posit explainations for the phenomena you discover and weigh them in light of the available evidence.
    hahahahaah i love it.

    dathrilla, there you have your topic. Issue solved.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    Don't kid yourself. This "paper" you are planning is nothing like a thesis for a MS/PhD...It's not even like a thesis for a BS...Your HS idea of what a "paper" is is nothing like what they are later, especially at the MS/PhD level. You can't just read/cite a few books and just summarize what they say...You need to come up with a novel hypothesis and provide evidence to support it. For your HS "advanced diploma" you can probably get away with what you are planning though.

    I think d4's suggestion is interesting and would constitute an academic paper. However, i think it is beyond the scope of what you are planning.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    surveying cultural preferences would indeed involve a sociological approach employing a professionally devised survey, questioning a representative sampling of persons - interesting but quite a challenge. The easiest thing in terms of sources - and I agree there is virtually no academic literature on perfume culture, just plenty of technical papers for chemists and noses - would be to do a discursive analysis of how people on basenotes talk about perfume. I actually used a discussion involving critiques of mass culture and American culture vs. high/European culture in a seminar on mutual transatlantic perceptions .
    You might also do a semiotic analysis of perfume advertising. Historically, it would be interesting to do a paper on the changing gendering of perfumes and particular scents, e.g. from the Victorian Era to post WWI. Other good propisitons have been made. But always ask yourself whether you will find adequate sources for this. There is nothing on the popularly used database questia e.g. It's a subject worth pursuing though - nothing is as motivating as working on a topic you have a genuine personal interest in.
    My Wardrobe
    II est de forts parfums pour qui toute matière/Est poreuse. On dirait qu'ils pénètrent le verre.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    I'm an undergraduate cultural studies student and I think I could do a paper about the Basenotes community pretty easily. I'd talk about cultural values of masculinity and femininity and the way they are articulated in discussion of perfume. It's a good topic because there is plenty of writing about gender in fashion and literature, so you have a starting point, but you'd be one of the first to write about perfume academically.

  17. #17

    Smile Re: Paper on Fragrances

    Hi dathrilla, as you describe that your interest in fragrance is 'sudden' then perhaps you might want to focus on just a few fragrances and use a reasonably loose framework which will let you discuss several different aspects under its 'umbrella' so to speak. I am guessing that your paper does not have to be highly technical that is why my suggestion is rather straightforward. For example you could take six fragrances - two mens, two womens and two unisex - and look at why they are categorised as such, perhaps even challenge the categorisation. Fragrance composition, traditional notes more commonly used for each type, fragrance name, bottle design, marketing, brand identities, ad campaigns, rise in popularity of unisex scents, country of origin etc., etc. Stick to perfumes released within the last five, ten years say and there you have a commonality which should be workable. I think you could easily write around 5000 words on something like this and make it as 'in depth' as necessary. Hope this has been of some use and good luck with the paper!

  18. #18

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    I don't understand at all how you guys think he could do a paper on this kind of thing. We've established that next to no academic literature whatsoever exists on this subject. Any texts that exist period having anything to do with this subject whether it be from the perspective of production, the industry, consumers etc. etc. isn't going to be found at your local public library.

    Last time I checked (which being midterm was about an hour ago lol) instructors in academic settings expect in a paper for you to simply formulate an argument and then support it with credible evidence.

    Describing things to do with a subject isn't academic writing.

    He hasn't been clear though really in describing what this is for, "advanced degree" for High School and is similar to a Thesis for a Masters or PhD? Well, an average PhD thesis is easily a hundred pages long and probably has as many sources cited within it.

    Many of the suggestions by others here are definitely intriguing. But with any of them you're going to be relying pretty much solely in primary sources, something which would be difficult to use in your writing unless you're an expert on fragrance and the industry, and as I've said, Where are you going to find any of these sources? You said you're worried about having too much information? I just can't fathom that, give me an idea? Keep in mind, though informative, the information you gather from the Basenotes.net forums isn't going to be accepted as a credible source lol.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    I think if I were going to write a scholarly paper on a topic like this, I would look at gender issues, as someone above posted. I'm sure you could find plenty of stuff on advertising, marketing and gender. To take it further, you could consider doing a qualitative study, perhaps by picking a particular demographic, say young male professionals, and explore what meanings they find in the scents, packaging and marketing.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Paper on Fragrances

    I second the suggestion to focus your paper on gender. Since you want to place your topic in a historical perspective, you could consider collecting perfume ads (find them here and here and here), and look at "gender display": how are men and women portrayed in perfume advertisements? Choose a specific time frame, and see if you notice any patterns.

    I did something similar ten years ago, and I think it's a feasible project; my focus was on ads for unisex perfumes in the 1990s. I compared them to "traditional" perfume ads for masculine and feminine perfumes, and found clear differences between "unisex" and "traditional" gender display. I combined two theories to explain those differences, but that takes more time to work out. If you don't know how to break down the concept of "gender display" in your own words (and if you're up for a challenge) try finding a copy of Erving Goffman's book Gender Advertisements. It's a semiotic analysis of advertisements portraying men and women. That book is discussed here.

    Beware though, the theory in this book is easily misunderstood, and more complicated than it seems at first glance. So perhaps it's best to use your own words when you describe your material.

    See what the material tells you as you analyze it. Based on your own observations, you will be able to narrow down your scope even further, and formulate a concise question. The central question you want to answer in your paper needs to be clear and specific.

    Some scholars have argued that smell is "non-discursive", meaning that it's hard to talk about it/put into words. Which is why print ads are so incredibly important in the perfume industry. You could take the "non-discursiveness" of perfumery as the vantage point of your paper.

    I've compiled a bibliography on the culture of smell on my website: ScentedPages. It's smaller than the one on Biblioparfum.net (and not as pretty or elaborate) but it has more English titles in it. There's also a press archive; if you see an article that you think might be helpful for your paper, send me a PM. I've got everything that's listed there.

    Of course this is just a suggestion. Whatever you do, my humble advice is to keep it clear, simple and down-to-earth. Check back with Basenotes if you have any questions, or if you need opinions/comments. Good luck!

    Marcello
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