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Representing the flow of r and d in a thesis: Diachronic structure and hyperlinking

Stapleton, A.J. and Taylor, P.C. (2004) Representing the flow of r and d in a thesis: Diachronic structure and hyperlinking. In: AARE 2004: Positioning educational research, 29 November - 2 December 2004, Melbourne, Vic.



Many doctoral researchers are adopting interpretive epistemologies of inquiry in which research design is emergent and is shaped by the developing subjectivity of the researcher-as-learner. When interpretive researchers also adopt narrative modes of inquiry and literary genres for representing their unfolding relationships with the participants of their inquiry (including the reader of their thesis), then the question arises as to what might constitute an appropriate thesis structure. We believe that, in succumbing to the structural template of positivism, interpretive researchers are in danger of creating distorted portrayals of their inquiries as timeless, lacking in contingency and without an emergent nature. In this paper we argue for a diachronic structure that allows the narrative flow of the inquiry to be revealed. Drawing on a recently completed doctoral study, in which a multimedia educational program was designed and implemented by the first author, we illustrate how a screenplay metaphor combined with electronic hyperlinking provided a non-linear thesis structure that allows multiple reading pathways, exploration of rich documentation and viewing of successive multimedia prototype designs.

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