Through a glass darkly: a post-qualitative case study into perceptions of academic writing practices in higher education

French, Amanda (2014) Through a glass darkly: a post-qualitative case study into perceptions of academic writing practices in higher education. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.


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This thesis shifts the traditional emphasis around academic writing and writing development from students’ shortcomings as writers to an exploration of an under-researched aspect of the debate, namely lecturers’ perspectives of academic writing (their own and students). It draws on a New Literacy Studies (NLS) approach that locates academic writing and writing development in higher education, within a critical and situated theory of practice. The research is located within a postmodern, post-structural paradigm and involves a deliberate deconstruction of methodologies involved in traditional qualitative research (Stronach and MacLure, 1997). Foucault’s concept of ‘disciplinary power’, Lather’s suspicion of scientism (1986) and the work of feminist theorists like Pillow (2000), and Richardson (1997) are used to challenge traditional notions around qualitative research. Post-qualitative research methods and ideas (St. Pierre, 2011) are used to deterritorialise and reterritorialise traditional qualitative methodologies, with forms and ideas that speak in new ways about qualitative research practices and how researchers might handle qualitative data differently. Lecturers’ statements in the research setting are used to explore dominant epistemes and discourses circulating around academic writing practices. The thesis proposes that lecturers and students are engaged in an inherently tense and problematic relationship around academic writing, described by Baynham and Prinsloo (2008) as a process of constant ‘recontextualisation’. Alongside the statements from research participants, autoethnography passages appear throughout the thesis (Ellis and Bochner, 2000). These passages reflect the multiplicity of relational and dynamic discourses that inform academic writing practices in higher education. The assemblages and imaginaries offered in the final chapter are exercises in educational philosophy and reflection. They represent an attempt to write out/up/through my own subjectivity and respond to the statements made by the research participants which reflected how they lived, thought and worked with academic writing practices in higher education.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
December 2014Completed
Subjects: CAH22 - education and teaching > CAH22-01 - education and teaching > CAH22-01-01 - education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Richard Birley
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 15:02
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 17:23

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