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  • The Thesis: texts and machines

Borg, Erik and Boyd Davis, Stephen, 2012, Book Section, The Thesis: texts and machines In: SAGE Handbook of Digital Dissertations and Theses. SAGE, London, pp. 13-30. ISBN 9780857027399

Abstract or Description:

This opening chapter focuses on how research knowledge is represented in the dissertation as a textual format. It sets the dissertation in two contexts. Borg discusses its historical formation within the technologies of the pen and the typewriter; Boyd Davis analyses the changes produced by digital technologies, offering counter-arguments to the claim that the predominantly textual thesis is a poor representation of research knowledge. He advances evidence-based arguments, using a synthesis of recent technological developments, for the additional functionality that text has acquired as a result of being digital and being connected via international networks, contrasting this with the relatively poor forms of access available even now using pictures, moving images and other non-textual forms. The chapter argues that the dissertation is inherently contingent, changing and changeable. While supervisors may expect their students to produce a dissertation that resembles the one they wrote themselves, changes both in the available technologies and in the kinds of knowledge the dissertation is expected to represent are having a significant effect on its form as well as its content.
Boyd Davis is co-editor of the book in which this chapter is published, which has its origins in an ESRC-funded seminar series, ‘New Forms of Doctorate’ (2008–10), that he co-devised and co-chaired.
The work grew out Boyd Davis’s questioning of methods and formats for research knowledge in his introduction to, and editing of, a special issue of Digital Creativity, entitled Creative Evaluation, in 2009. This followed a peer-reviewed symposium on evaluative techniques within creative work supported by the Design Research Society and British Computer Society, which he devised and chaired. Related work on forms of knowledge in interactive media appears in an article with Faiola and Edwards of Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis, for New Media and Society (2010).

Official URL: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/books/Book235745
Subjects: Other > Mass Communications and Documentation > P400 Publishing > P410 Electronic Publishing
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W210 Graphic Design > W213 Visual Communication
Other > Education > X200 Research and Study Skills in Education
Other > Education > X300 Academic studies in Education > X340 Academic studies in Tertiary Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
School or Centre: School of Design
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2012 22:39
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2013 10:43
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1206

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