Digital writing as dissertation …

A major aspect of digital writing is digital audience. ~ Rusul AlRubail for #digiwrimo

I feel the need to clarify my request of a couple of days ago. I’m searching for examples where at least a portion of the formal dissertation was written as a blog. Thanks to some responses, I’ve found examples where people have blogged about their dissertations, but that isn’t exactly the same thing. I’m wondering if anyone has tried to actually do a blog as a dissertation?

When I questioned the idea of Collaborative Autoethnography as a methodology for a formal PhD dissertation, AK pointed out that a dissertation is a form of formal assessment. I had not thought of it in that light. Maha points out (in the comments) that there are some precedents for participatory writing in formal PhD dissertations.

Another great aspect of digital writing that directly impacts the writer is the community and the engagement that results from writing. ~ Rusul AlRubail for #digiwrimo

Part of my vision for my PhD is a participatory exploration of what people who read blogs learn by reading them. More, I want to explore this idea of blogs as more than just a broadcast writing media, but one that gives the authors a voice in a community. Part of me wants to be able to write a portion of my dissertation as a blog – perhaps the results and discussion chapters – allowing for the public, living, discourse that occurs with a blog, that does not occur with the traditional static monograph format of the traditional dissertation. But this gets messy.

There is a sense of complexity to the process that I think needs further exploration. I want to elevate the blog to that of a formal medium for academic discourse. And yet, in doing so, do I lose what the blog is all about? If I elevate it, then does it become just a digital representation of the formal monograph?

Blogs are about the “living experience” rather than the “lived experience”. Has anyone tried to truly integrate this “living” version of a PhD in a formal dissertation?

I have found a dissertation that looks very interesting and may help with my quest to find the appropriate research methodology. It is titled “Blogging Through my Son’s Incarceration: An Autoethnography Exploring Voice and Power in an Online Space” by Tammy S. Bird (2012). I am very curious about how she not only writes but also about the ethical question of sharing someone else’s story in a blog. The title itself screams to me the ethical question of sharing someone else’s story. I’m looking forward to what I might learn from it.

NaBloPoMo November 2015

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