ERG SES G WS 1, Making Your Thinking Visible When Writing Your Thesis
‘Thinking is pretty much invisible . . . Mostly, thinking happens under the hood, within the marvelous engine of our mindbrain’ (David Perkins).
Doctoral research involves high level thinking. Thinking must become visible in the text of theses. When this happens, experienced researchers, supervisors and examiners can instantly recognise and appreciate the scholarship and academic quality which it contains. Examiners and readers of theses are particularly concerned to see how candidates conceptualise their research and demonstrate their scholarship. They judge doctoral theses against the criteria which indicate that doctoral candidates are competent researchers and 'think like researchers.’
Examiners look for many features in doctoral theses. They consider certain factors to be critical because they represent the pre-requisites of high quality that doctoral research should demonstrate. These include the candidate’s choices of paradigms, philosophical assumptions, handling academic discourse, and making their thinking visible especially about their research decisions. Other features of concern to examiners are compliance with academic / regulatory protocols and how the thesis is presented.
So, how can candidates be assisted to make their thinking visible and explicit in their writing?
The workshop will:
• Identify the features in theses where high level thinking is required;
• Illustrate how examiners review and assess these features through specific sets of questions;
• Use examples from theses and examiners’ reports that point to ‘good’ or ‘bad’ aspects of doctoral writing;
• Provide strategies for candidates to adopt in writing their thesis;
• Suggest strategies for candidates to use in defending their thesis by making their thinking visible;
• Allow participants to discuss some of these issues in small groups guided by assigned question/tasks.
The workshop will be led by Dr Shosh Leshem from Oranim Academic College of Education, Israel and Prof Emeritus Vernon Trafford of Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom
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