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On the structure of textual and visual dissertations

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This article looks at issues surrounding the academic dissertation within the particular context of the Art and Design school. To begin with, questions of objectivity and authorial voice are examined, suggesting that current practice does little to foster student identity. A discourse framework is then established largely based on the work of Bruner, with exposition and narrative posited as the primary problem-solving modes. This discursive framework is then transposed into the visual domain, where several possible discourse structures are suggested. A case study is offered that highlights the benefits that can be gained from the use of a visual dissertation. In the conclusion we argue for educators to consider these alternative modes of discourse.
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Keywords: authorial voice; discourse modes; dissertation structures; exposition; narrative; visual dissertation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Swansea Metropolitan University

Publication date: 2011-12-22

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  • The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice is the official organ of the Writing Purposefully in Art and Design (Writing PAD) network. It offers art and design institutions an arena in which to explore and develop the notion of thinking through writing as a parallel to visual discourse in art and design practice. The journal aims to extend the debates to all national and international higher educational art and design institutions.
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