From Badly drawn dog to Goodly DRAWn research

Year: 2021

Author: Green, Mel

Type of paper: Symposium

This presentation follows the writing journey of a PhD candidate as she grapples with philosophical choices in designing and best representing her doctoral research. Her study explores teachers’ work in enacting the demand of the Australian Curriculum: English to engage students in reading for enjoyment. After twenty-five years of primary school teaching, she is wildly passionate about children’s reading and high-quality literature. She felt compelled to complete her study following the imposition of high-stakes testing and a gamut of complexities that sidelined this vital entitlement. She holds dear what decades of research evidently demonstrates—that is, the wide-ranging, long-lasting educative benefits of reading enjoyment. In her (re)imaginings, the presenter takes a children’s read-aloud approach to Depart Radically in Academic Writing (Mackinlay, 2019). She DRAWs an expression of her research context and contribution by performing playful palimpsests to represent the creative process of her project. DRAWing on a favourite children’s picture book, she illustrates tricky early encounters with the Higher Degree of Research expectations. With a super|imposition of Dodson’s (2005) Badly drawn dog, she communicates the complexities of acculturation; locating her work in the squally swamp of anticreativity. The conventionalities of qualitative research methods ominously conceded a Badly Written Thesis—the very anti-thesis of her doctoral dissertation. However, Badly Written Thesis wakes up early one morning, looks at her own insignificance and lack of beneficence and decides she is tired of being badly written. She is pronoun-ally distant and obviously positivistic and so very sketchy around the I s. She begins to follow the call of distant voices. When Associate Professor Elizabeth Mackinlay—that critical author of heartline work, extends a lifeline method of inquiry, she Turns. Badly Written Thesis is DRAWn into the wonder|full words and worlds and worldings of wily women writers and, of course, a few good scholarly men.    In this post-qualitative realm of affective, onto-epistemological arrangements and re-orientations, Badly Written Thesis experiments with a new meta-narrative. Following words around, climbing philosophical ladders, and mixing composition with theory, she becomes—so enticed by exciting writing. Abandoning the quagmire of qualitative precepts, she is (re)scribbled, (re)scrawled and (re)sketched. She wakes up early one morning. She looks at the exhausted PhD candidate who created her and exclaims “I am now a Goodly DRAWn Thesis! I am reimagined!”     ReferencesDodson, E. (2005) Badly drawn dog. Hodder Children’s Books. Mackinlay, E. (2019). DRAW (Departing Radically in Academic Writing): HDR writing summer school.