The Author PhD Project
Frode Hegland PhD Thesis
We have gone far beyond Vannevar Bush’s concern that it is easier to add to the record than to consult it, we have gone right into what some call ‘post-fact’ politics - where people from all sides of the political spectrum look to the web to provide ammunition for their views without sufficient concern or interest in the veracity of what they find.
Those of us blessed to sit in the serene shadows of the olive groves of Academe represent a last bastion of truthful discourse, with Literature Reviews and Citations keeping us honest.
The tools of this discourse remains rooted in the ancient substrate of paper however and our interactions with the written word are constrained by the inflexibility of that ‘legacy’ media centuries old, hardly taking advantages of the unique characteristics of connected, richly interactive digital text.
My PhD Project is therefore on the discourse between Post-Graduate Researcher (PhD) and Advisor, via electronic documents, focusing on the 'thinking' part of the process.
While keeping in mind that the point of a PhD is to develop a researcher and to provide the world with new usable knowledge and that the PhD Thesis Document is a document is a frame for showing the quality of the researcher (thorough, intelligent etc.) and presenting the research finding in an understandable and interrogatable way, this then means working to build a system to make researching for and writing a PhD Thesis more efficient, in order to:
I find that it makes sense to write the User Guide very early since it's a chance to develop a coherent system for the user - if you can't easily explain it in the guide, it's not designed well enough. This guide is then how we write down the current best ideas for how the system should behave from the users point of view.
The discourse between the Post-Graduate Researcher and Advisor as well as peers, via electronic documents, is a social machine which collaboratively produces PhD graduates and useful additions to science.
Other types of word processors are either minimalist and markdown or full/over featured but not focused on the academic process.
My work with the Author word processor is host for the practical application of the research.
contact / get involved!
This PhD thesis project is being blogged at wordpress.liquid.info as it progresses. Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions - or even better, if you would like to get involved somehow, at firstname.lastname@example.org