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FAQs about doctoral enquiries

Please send us questions and whether the responses here are helpful. Please do say where you disagree and/or how we might make responses clearer.


How do you supervise a living-theory doctoral thesis?

Jack outlines in a series of short videos what he does focusing on supporting the creativity of the student researching and making public their embodied knowledge. He also talks on this section of his website about values, validity, multimedia explanations and coaching.

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What makes it a living-theory doctoral thesis?

A doctoral enquiry is about both improving practice and generating knowledge. Your Title, Abstract and Introduction will communicate your question to your readers and the significance of your methodology and living-theory in making an original contribution to knowledge.

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Does a living-theory thesis set up a specific literature review chapter, or is the literature dispersed across the chapters on a need-to-read/report/learn basis?

In the creation of a living-theory it is usual to show the influence of the ideas of others in the course of the enquiry itself. This does not preclude the inclusion of a literature review that could help a reader to locate your living-theory in relation to the ideas of others that influenced you before your formal doctoral programme began. In the initial 'framing/introduction' for your reader it is also helpful to relate your living-theory to contemporary issues in educational research.  So, in answer to your question it doesn't need to be either/or it can be both.

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Is it part of a recognised process in  'living theory' that  researchers put their research questions into the first chapter?  

With a living theory thesis the writer usually produces a writerly text in which they clarify their ideas - the ideas are often clarified in the final phase of producing a writerly text. The writer often thinks at this point that they have finished their thesis!  It usually takes a little time to appreciate that the researcher needs to produce a readerly text from the writerly text in which the final clarifications show the question that the thesis is an answer to, and the ideas clarified at the end of the writerly text need to be foregrounded in a 'framing' for the thesis so that a reader understands something of the significance of the thesis. The Abstract of the thesis often takes several drafts and redrafts (Pat D'Arcy took 13 drafts before the final abstract was produced - Pat's thesis and others can be accessed here), to communicate the originality of the knowledge produced in the enquiry. 

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