Finding a voice: writing narrative in the early stages of a doctoral thesis

Williams, Simon (2012) Finding a voice: writing narrative in the early stages of a doctoral thesis. Journal of Academic Writing, 2 (1). pp. 24-34. ISSN 2225-8973

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This study applies Ivanic’s (2004) extension of Lea and Street’s (1998) model of approaches to the teaching of writing to a body of student text produced over a six-month period. Its purpose is to assess the impact of different kinds of feedback on iterative samples of academic writing. However, rather than analysing the texts of a number of different student writers, it examines different texts produced by the same writer. Using extracts from one early-career research student’s writing, supervisor notes and email messages, it argues that actual writers may continue to need and demand engagement in a variety of pedagogic practices on their way to developing their own voice. The possibility of inconsistent development with occasional lapses is accepted, with progress through Ivanic’s model being seen not in a developmental Piagetian way, but through a Vygotskian process of socialisation. In this sense, the position adopted is social constructionist. In particular, writers’ production of narrative around their research topic in the form of creative writing -- one of Ivanic’s additions to the discourses in the Lea and Street model -- may provide useful material (e.g. Clandinin and Connelly 2000: 41); and the application of Hatton and Smith’s (1995) framework of levels of reflection to the outcome may provide an indication of the timeliness of Ivanic’s other teaching approaches.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > Sussex Centre for Language Studies
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher education > LB2371 Graduate education
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Depositing User: Simon Williams
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2013 16:28
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2013 16:28
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