As I continue to write component sections of my thesis the decision about its structure is constantly on my mind!  I have considered varying options.  Originally, I thought the structure would follow a broadly similar approach to theses produced in other disciplines and especially those in science subjects – Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology and Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusion however, the more I talk to my supervisors and other students, the more options seem to be possible.  While in theory it seems that any structure is possible, if the rationale for it is clear and appropriate, in practice I have been conservative until now.  And while, looking at other arts-based theses might be interesting, the structure of my work needs to reflect my research and practice and the strategies and methods I have used.

I think I have considered about five options but here are three of them, including the one that I currently favour – Model 1.  In each case, I have detailed the strengths and weaknesses of the respective models as I see it.  I think therefore it is a case of bringing the sections I have written into the structure, chapters, and sections as currently conceived, to test the concept and then determine, with the help of my supervisors, whether I have made the right choice or whether another structure would best serve my research, practice, and purpose.

Model 1

My favoured structure maps the BAR model which demonstrates that through my research and practice I acquire knowledge in three different ways as follow:

  • Knowing through Being (noumenological knowing)
  • Knowing through Action (phenomenological knowing)
  • Knowing through Reflection (eidological knowing)

These three ways of knowing developed in Ryan and Price (2022) are derived from Harman’s Fourfold Model and foreground the epistemology of practice.  In using this structure, it demonstrates that my PhD is truly practice led and reflective and reflexive in developing knowledge.

Model 2

This model is based on a more traditional structure for a PhD and prefaces the practice-led nature of the PhD by placing that chapter at the front of the thesis and articulating how research has been derived and directed by practice.

Model 3

This model again seeks to move away from a traditional format with the Influence chapter referring largely to ontology and epistemology, Inspiration is to all intents and purposes the traditional contextual review and, Exploration is the substantive chapter about practice.

While all models have some merits. and it may be the case that in practice the final thesis will be a combination of them, at this stage it seems to me that Model is the most reflective of the practice and research I have undertaken.

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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