The SAGE Handbook of Digital Dissertations and Theses


Edited by: Richard Andrews, Erik Borg, Stephen Boyd Davis, Myrrh Domingo & Jude England

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    About the Editors

    Richard Andrews is Professor in English and Dean of the Faculty of Children and Learning at the Institute of Education, University of London. He has edited and written two books for Sage, both with Caroline Haythornthwaite: The SAGE Handbook of E-learning Research (2007) and E-learning Theory and Practice (2011). He was co-director of the ESRC seminar series, ‘The nature and format of the doctoral thesis in the digital and multimodal age’ from 2008 to 2010 with Erik Borg, Stephen Boyd Davis and Jude England; and has worked with Myrrh Domingo at both New York University and in London.

    Erik Borg is a Senior Lecturer at Coventry University's Centre for Academic Writing, where he teaches undergraduate and Masters level modules on writing and research. His research focuses on intertextuality and multimodal communication, particularly in Fine Arts and Design, and it might be characterised as research into the nature of writing in a rapidly changing communication environment. He has published widely, including recent articles in Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice and Teaching in Higher Education.

    Stephen Boyd Davis is Research Leader in the School of Design, Royal College of Art. He has worked and taught in art and design, mainly in digital media, for many years. Until 2011, he ran the Art and Design Research Institute at Middlesex University where staff use a wide range of forms of research including theoretical and historical texts, studio practice and materials science. He was also Head of the Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts, a research centre dedicated to interdisciplinary work in digital media. Stephen is a member of the Peer Review College for the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, a reviewer for many conferences and journals and advisor to companies and government organisations. His personal research interest is the visualisation of historic time.

    Myrrh Domingo is Visiting Assistant Professor in English Education and Literacy Education at New York University. Her work explores literacy development and multimodal textual production in the context of digital technologies and global migration. She was the recipient of the National Academy of Education Pre-doctoral Adolescent Literacy Fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Her most recent work appears in The International Journal of Social Research Methodology.

    Jude England is Head of Social Sciences at the British Library, responsible for developing and implementing the Library's strategy for the commissioners, users and producers of social science research. She is a member of the ESRC's Methods and Infrastructure Committee, and part of the team that produced the ESRC seminar series, ‘The nature and format of the doctoral thesis in the digital and multimodal age’ from 2008 to 2010.

    Notes on Contributors

    After completing her BA in English Literature at Durham University, Zoë Beardshaw Andrews went on to gain a Masters degree in Text and Performance Studies at King's College London and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 2010. Internships in the education departments of the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre inspired her interest in the changing landscape of arts education. Zoë currently works as Creative Learning Officer for the Ambassador Theatre Group in London's West End.

    Denise Beale taught English and languages in schools in the state of Victoria, Australia, for many years before completing a prize-winning PhD thesis in 2009 which examined federal government policy to promote computers in Australian schools. She has since completed a number of literature reviews and is currently working on two ongoing research projects in the Faculty of Education, Monash University, which explore the challenges of social media to schools and the role of doctoral education in the knowledge economy.

    Helen Beetham is an independent consultant, researcher and author in the field of e-learning. Since 2004, she has been an adviser to the UK JISC e-learning programme and she currently specialises in digital literacy and digital scholarship. She was Principal Investigator for the ‘Learning Literacies for a Digital Age’ study (2009), and joint holder of an ESRC seminar series on Literacies in the Digital University (2009–2010). Helen co-edited Rethinking Pedagogy for the Digital Age (Routledge, 2007) and Rethinking Learning for the Digital Age (Routledge, 2010), both of which are regular set texts on Masters programmes.

    Mary Brydon-Miller directs the University of Cincinnati's Action Research Center and is Professor of Educational Studies and Urban Educational Leadership in the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services. She is a participatory action researcher who engages in both community-based and educational action research. Her current scholarship focuses on ethics and action research.

    Pauline Hope Cheong is Associate Professor of Communication, at the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. She is the lead editor of two volumes: New Media and Intercultural Communication: Identity, Community and Politics and Digital Religion, Social Media and Culture: Perspectives, Practices and Futures, and is co-author of Explosive Narratives.

    Tiffany DeJaynes recently completed her doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University, in the Program in Communication, Computing, and Technology in Education. She is currently a high school English Language Arts teacher in New York City invested in practitioner inquiry work. Her research explores the evolving landscape of adolescents' digital literacy practices across the multiple contexts of their lives as well as pedagogies that engage multiple modalities.

    Mine Doğantan-Dack is a professional concert pianist and music theorist. She is a Research Fellow in Music at Middlesex University, and an Associate of the AHRC-funded research centre CMPCP. Mine studied at the Juilliard School (BM, MM) and received her PhD in music theory from Columbia University. She also holds a BA in Philosophy. Mine published articles on the history of music theory, affective responses to music, practice of chamber music and phenomenology of piano performance. Her book titled Mathis Lussy: A Pioneer in Studies of Expressive Performance was published in 2002 by Peter Lang. Her recent volume Recorded Music: Philosophical and Critical Reflections (Middlesex University Press, 2008) was a finalist for the annual Excellence in Research Award given by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. Mine is currently contracted to edit a volume titled ‘Artistic Practice as Research in Music’ for Ashgate, and co-edit a volume titled ‘Music and Value Judgment’ for Indiana University Press.

    Brian Fitzgerald studied law at the Queensland University of Technology, graduating as University Medallist in Law, and holds postgraduate degrees in law from Oxford University and Harvard University. He is well known in the areas of intellectual property and internet law and has worked closely with Australian governments on facilitating access to public sector information. From 1998 to 2002, he was Head of the School of Law and Justice at Southern Cross University in New South Wales, Australia, and from January 2002 to January 2007 was appointed as Head of the School of Law at QUT in Brisbane, Australia. Brian is currently a specialist Research Professor in Intellectual Property and Innovation at QUT and a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation. In 2009, Brian was appointed to the Australia Government's ‘Government 2.0 Taskforce’ and to the Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP).

    Jude Fransman is a Research/Policy Officer and Teaching Associate at the Institute of Education, University of London. Her research focuses on community studies (multimodal practices of representation in community activism and community-based research); communication studies (social semiotics, New Literacy Studies and visual methods); and academic practice (academic identity, digital scholarship and the politics of method). She has conducted research for a variety of international organisations (including UNESCO, the OECD Development Centre and Action Aid International) and in a number of countries (including South Africa, Tanzania, Vietnam and Thailand).

    Richard Freeman is a psychologist who supports the development of generic skills in early-career researchers. Based in the Doctoral School of the Institute of Education, he is the author, together with the late Tony Stone, of Study Skills for Psychology. From 2001 to 2009, he was the Secretary General and Senior Vice-President of the European Federation of Psychologists' Associations.

    Lesley Gourlay is a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literacies in the Department of Culture, Communication and Media, and Director of the Academic Writing Centre. Her background is in applied linguistics, with her doctoral study focussing on emergent norms in adult language classroom discourse. She has worked at Edinburgh University, Edinburgh Napier University and King's College London. Her research work focusses on aspects of meaning-making, digital literacies, multimodality and post-human theory in higher education. She also works in the area of boundaries, transitions, trajectories and ‘liminal spaces’ in the academy, looking at issues such has internationalisation, support staff, practitioner-lecturers and ‘non-traditional’ staff and students.

    Gunther Kress is Professor of Semiotics and Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. He is interested in the ongoing development of social semiotic theory, with multimodal representation and communication constituting the frame of application. Related publications are Social Semiotics (1988, with R. Hodge); Before Writing: Rethinking the Paths to Literacy (1996); Reading Images: the Grammar of Graphic Design (1996/2006, with T. van Leeuwen); Literacy in the New Media Age (2003) and Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication (2010). Recent research projects are ‘Museums, exhibitions and the visitor’ and ‘Gains and losses: changes in teaching materials 1935–2005’ (funders: Swedish National Research Foundation, and Economic and Social Science Research Council, UK).

    Allison Littlejohn is Director of the Caledonian Academy, a centre exploring technology enhanced professional learning in the public and private sectors. She is Chair of Learning Technology at Glasgow Caledonian University, UK. Through her research in sustainable e-learning, professional learning and transformational change, Allison has led research with a range of academic and industry partners around the world, most notably Royal Dutch Shell, for whom she was Senior Researcher 2008–2010. Her research has been funded by the UK Joint Information Systems Committees (JISC), the UK Higher Education Academy (HEA), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and academic–industry sponsors, including the UK Energy Institute and BP and has been a senior scientist on projects funded by the Australian Research Council, the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) the European Union (EU). Professor Littlejohn has around 100 academic publications and is a Series Editor for Routledge. She is a Fellow and former Scholar of the Higher Education Academy and has received international travelling fellowships from ASCILITE (Australasia) and the Churchill Trust (UK).

    Juliet MacDonald is an artist and researcher based in the UK whose solo projects include: ‘De-skill Re-skill’, 2008, at Drawing Spaces, Lisbon and ‘Inverted Garden’ in The Drawing Shed, 2010, at Project Space Leeds. She is a finalist in INDA6, published by Manifest, 2012. MacDonald's practice-based PhD, Drawing Around the Body: the Manual and Visual Practice of Drawing and the Embodiment of Knowledge, was completed in 2010 at Leeds Metropolitan University. She has published in TRACEY, ‘Out of Hand’, 2004, and presented at conferences: Creative Practice Creative Research, York St. John, 2009, and Observation: Mapping: Dialogue, Brighton, 2010. She is currently Research Assistant in Art at the University of Huddersfield.

    Susan Melrose is currently Associate Dean for Research in the School of Arts and Education, Middlesex University. Widely published in the field of performing arts and Practice as Research, she has argued, over the past decade, for the recognition of discipline-specific knowledge in the creative and performing arts; for the systematic identification of the ‘knowledge status’ of expertise in the performing arts and for an ongoing epistemic enquiry into expert/professional practices in the performing arts.

    Anna-Marjatta Milsom is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Translation Studies at London Metropolitan University. Her research interests relate primarily to the ways in which translation practice and theory can benefit from an interdisciplinary approach, a focus which stems from her background in visual arts. She is especially interested in the role of creativity in translation and in exploring the potential for texts to gain, as opposed to lose, in translation. A literary translator as well as academic, she recently became a member of the Translators Association of the Society of Authors.

    Colin Milligan is a Research Fellow with the Caledonian Academy at Glasgow Caledonian University, and has worked in the area of educational development and learning research for around eighteen years performing roles in further and higher education, and in the private sector. His research interests centre on learning in and for the workplace and the role of technology in mediating this learning. He is currently supervising a PhD researcher examining perceptions of employ ability and development of employ ability skills among doctoral students.

    Joanna Newman is Director of the UK Higher Education International and Europe Unit, which is an observatory and intelligence unit for the UK HE sector. She was formerly Head of Higher Education at the British Library. She is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Southampton and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. She was the recipient of a Parkes PhD studentship at the University of Southampton and an Institute of Commonwealth Studies Fellowship at the University of London. She has taught history at the University of Warwick and University of Southampton. Her PhD (1998), Nearly the New World: Refugees and the British West Indies 1933–1947, was turned into ‘A Caribbean Jerusalem’ which she presented for BBC Radio 4's The Archive Hour.

    Ralf Nuhn was born in 1971 near Kassel (Germany) and now lives between London and Roubaix (France). He is currently a Research Fellow at the Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts in London where he obtained a PhD in 2007. Since 2003, Nuhn has developed a shared artistic practice with Cécile Colle. Their work revolves around the human experience of a world saturated with technology and has been shown internationally, including the National Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan), ZKM – Center for Art and Media (Germany), V&A – National Museum of Childhood (London), CASO Gallery (Japan) and Haus am Lützowplatz (Berlin).

    Damien O'Brien holds a Bachelor of Laws from Queensland University of Technology, a Graduate Certificate in International Studies (International Relations) from the University of Queensland, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Queensland University of Technology, a Master of Laws (Intellectual Property and Technology Law) from the National University of Singapore and is admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland. He has published articles and book chapters on topics such as blogs and the law, search engine liability for copyright infringement, digital music law and digital copyright law.

    June E. Parnell is a PhD student at the Institute of Education, University of London. Her research explores the usefulness of complexity theory in understanding the transformative effects of e-learning in higher education. Her academic interests include how students in higher education develop and adapt to new learning technologies and how computer-mediated interaction supports and affects their learning. However, her central curiosity revolves around new possibilities for researching e-learning and she is inspired through the process of challenging the discourses surrounding technology and education. June is a lecturer in health sciences in British Columbia, Canada, where she teaches in both class and on-line forums.

    Martin Rieser has delivered papers on interactive narrative and exhibited at many major conferences in the field including ISEA: Montreal 1995, Rotterdam 1996, Chicago 1997, Nagoya 2002, Belfast 2009, University of Oslo 2004, Siggraph 2005, Refresh Banff Arts Centre 2005, Digital Matchmakers Trondheim 2005, Plan ICA 2005, NAI Rotterdam 2008, Intelligent Environments Seattle 2008, Barcelona 2009, Locunet University of Athens 2008, ISEA 2009 and at many other conference venues across the UK and mainland Europe. He has published numerous essays and books on digital art including New Screen Media: Cinema/Art/Narrative (BFI/ZKM, 2002), which combines a DVD of current research and practice in this area together with critical essays. He has recently edited The Mobile Audience, a book on locative technology and art which will be published during 2011 from Rodopi, also logged in a blog: He has also acted as consultant to bodies such as Cardiff Bay Arts Trust and the Photographer's Gallery London, Arkive in Bristol, The Soros Media Institute in Prague and UIAH in Helsinki.

    Michael Schwab is an artist and artistic researcher who interrogates post-conceptual uses of technology in a variety of media including photography, drawing, printmaking and installation art. He is a tutor at the Royal College of Art, London, research associate at the Berne University of the Arts, Switzerland and research fellow at the Orpheus Institute, Ghent. Since 2003, his exhibitions and associated events have increasingly focused on artistic research. He is co-initiator and inaugural Editor-in-Chief of JAR, the Journal for Artistic Research, and joint project leader of the Artistic Research Catalogue (ARC), funded by the Dutch government.

    Ilana Snyder is a Professor in the Faculty of Education, Monash University, Australia. Her diverse interests are represented in many publications on issues ranging through hypertext and technoliteracies, to equity in educational outcomes in the global south, to her retort to populist debates in The Literacy Wars. Books that explore these themes include: Hypertext (1996), Page to Screen (1997), Teachers and Technoliteracy (2000), co-authored with Colin Lankshear and Bill Green, Silicon Literacies (2002) and Closing the Gap in Education? (2010), co-edited with John Nieuwenhuysen. A Home Away From Home? (2011), also co-edited with John Nieuwenhuysen, focuses on international students in Australia and South Africa.

    Lisa Stansbie is Head of The Department of Art and Communication me at The University of Huddersfield, U.K. She completed her PhD, Zeppelinbend: Multiplicity, Encyclopaedic Strategies and Nonlinear Methodologies for A Visual Practice, in 2010 at Leeds Metropolitan University. The thesis exists only as a website submission ( As an artist her work crosses the disciplines of film, sculpture, installation, photography and digital practices. She has exhibited work internationally and continues to show artwork online. Stansbie is also the co-founder and joint editor (with Derek Horton) of an experimental online magazine project centred on notions of narrative and storytelling.

    Andrew Tolmie is a developmental psychologist with longstanding interests in doctoral training and institutional provision to support doctoral students. He was formerly Head of the Department of Psychology and Human Development at the Institute of Education, and is currently Dean of the Doctoral School there. He is also Deputy Director of the IOE/Birkbeck/UCL Centre for Educational Neuroscience, and editor of the British Journal of Educational Psychology.

    Lalitha Vasudevan is Associate Professor of Technology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is interested in how youth craft stories to represent themselves and enact ways of knowing through their engagement with literacies, technologies and media. Her recent publications have appeared in Digital Culture and Education, Written Communication, Teachers College Record and Review of Research in Education, and she is editor of a forthcoming volume on the use of digital media and arts-based literacy pedagogies to cultivate inquiry among court-involved youth.

    Bronwyn T. Williams is a Professor of English at the University of Louisville. He writes and teaches about issues of literacy, popular culture, digital media and identity. His books include: Tuned In: Television and the Teaching of Writing, Identity Papers: Literacy and Power in Higher Education, Popular Culture and Representations of Literacy (with Amy A. Zenger) and Shimmering Literacies: Popular Culture and Reading and Writing Online.

    Amy Alexandra Wilson is a doctoral student in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia and a National Academy of Education Adolescent Literacy Pre-doctoral Fellow. Her work addresses the intersections between adolescent literacy and social semiotics, and has appeared in journals such as Research in the Teaching of English and Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy.

    Dylan Yamada-Rice is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded PhD candidate at the School of Education, University of Sheffield, UK. Previously she worked and studied for more than a decade in Japan; first, in the faculty of Japanese Art History at Kyoto University and then as an Assistant Director of an international preschool in Tokyo. Her current doctoral research focuses on young children's interaction and comprehension of the visual mode as one aspect of contemporary multimodality. Her wider research interests lie in Japanese semiotics and early childhood education. Her previous postgraduate work (which is described in this book) was awarded the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) Postgraduate Research Award (2010).

    Joyce Yee is a Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University's School of Design, teaching across undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Formally trained in visual communication, she has over 10 years working experience in wide range of academic and professional environments. Joyce has published regularly since 2003 and her research is bound by a common theme of exploring and identifying how designers develop and improve their own practice. Joyce's current research is concerned with understanding how designers research and gain new knowledge, particularly in the area of designerly ‘enquiring’ and its resultant processes and methods. A simple way of describing the research area is ‘research on design research’.

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