On the failure of dissertation advice books

Anxious doctoral researchers can now call on a proliferation of advice books telling them how to produce their dissertations. This article analyzes some characteristics of this self-help genre, including the ways it produces an expert-novice relationship with readers, reduces dissertation writing to a series of linear steps, reveals hidden rules, and asserts a mix of certainty and fear to position readers “correctly.” The authors argue for a more complex view of doctoral writing both as text work/identity work and as a discursive social practice. They reject transmission pedagogies that normalize the power-saturated relations of protégé and master and point to alternate pedagogical approaches that position doctoral researchers as colleagues engaged in a shared, unequal, and changing practice.”

–Barbara Kamler and Pat Thomson, The Failure of Dissertation Advice Books: Toward Alternative Pedagogies for Doctoral Writing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s