Saturday, December 20, 2008

Generating Ideas

This entry is partly inspired by a presentation by Anni DeStefano to the virtual cluster on Dec 20, 2008. Three articles were introduced for advanced readings.

Deegan, M., & Hill, M. (1991). Doctoral dissertations as liminal journeys of the self: Betwixt and between in graduate sociology programs. Teaching Sociology, 19(3), 322-332.

Hampel, R. (2008). In search of new frontiers: How Scholars generate ideas. Chronicle of Higher Education, 72. Retrieved December 20, 2008, from

Kamler, B., & Thomson, P. The failure of dissertation advice books: Toward alternative pedagogies for doctoral writing . Educational Researcher, 37(8), 507-514. doi: 10.3102/0013189X08327390.

I read the Kamler article when my copy of Educational Researcher arrived and had a few conversations with others regarding this particular article. The article references a book that I purchased on the advice of Sue Gordon.

Rudestam, K., & Newton Rae. (2001). Surviving your dissertation: A comprehensive guide to content and process (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

I was impressed by the mention of Grounded Theory dissertations.

Generally I agree with the authors position that the preponderance of advice books is not particularly helpful.
Anna referenced p 508 "doctoral writing is best understood as text work/identity work(italics in the original. By this we mean that texts and identities are formed together, in, and through writing. The practices of doctoral writing simultaneously produce not only a dissertation
but also a doctoral scholar."

I also loved the Hampel article especially the reference to . ... psychologist Abraham Maslow, who began keeping journals primarily to let posterity have "everything unfinished, all that is ¼ or ½ done ... it will save all of my forgotten insights, beautiful ones that are lost because I have too many of them to work them all out or even to classify & save efficiently." At age 57, he fretted that "much of my work will die with me."

I can help but think that Maslow would have been a big fan of blogging because most of my blog entries represent ideas in various stages of development. I keep going back and adding materials as I come across them and trying to integrate concepts.

Anna referenced the notion of rite of passage that is part of the dissertation process and mentioned in the Deegan and Hill (p.74) .....Balancing originality and conformity.....The passage is risky...but an opportunity do something grand. Liminal.

P 325. No place for the immature personality.. (Transformative)

Power of writing... professional writers are lodged in the privileged world of publications. Anna mentioned the proliferation of web based tool blogs, wikis and the way that this might have changed this observation. Knowledge construction and dissemination have changed dramatically and the power structures have changed. Web-based tools support the aims of critical pedagogy in these regards.

Topic of collaborating and drawing on fellow students. Fielding supports student input. "Only one student may serve in the official capacity of Student Reader on your committee, and their name will appear on the title page of your dissertation. You may wish to ask other students to review your work informally (and you may wish to do the same
for their dissertations), but their names will not appear on the dissertation. You may acknowledge the assistance and encouragement of your fellow students in your Acknowledgments page of the dissertation"

Recognizing the institutional concerns regarding the use of new media to accomplish academic tasks. Institutions are subject to accreditation processes that make it important to consider the ramifications of adopting new approaches to scholarship such as a wiki-dissertation. The institution is bound to ensure that the credibility of the degree granted is sound for the sake of alumni, currently enrolled doctoral candidates and potential enrollments at the institution.
At the same time institutions that wish to remain relevant must continue to re-evaluate policy and procedure to ensure that diversity and creativity are encouraged and supported in all aspects of learning and contributing to the community of scholars.

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