Acknowledging the graduate student research experience: lessons for supervisors from the auto-ethnographic writing of thesis acknowledgements and dedications pages

Burnett, Greg, and Raturi, Shikha (2020) Acknowledging the graduate student research experience: lessons for supervisors from the auto-ethnographic writing of thesis acknowledgements and dedications pages. In: Blair, Erik, Watson, Danielle, and Raturi, Shikha, (eds.) Graduate Research Supervision in the Developing World: policies, pedagogies and practices. Routledge Research in Higher Education . Routledge, New York, NY, USA, pp. 155-168.

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Abstract

[Extract] Acknowledgment and dedication writing represent a genre shift in the way graduate students write. In the acknowledgements, academic literacies give way to an almost auto-ethnographic genre (Ellis, Adams,& Bochner, 2011). Auto-ethnographic writing inserts the "self" into an academic experience– where often we find the erasure of the personal. Acknowledgements and dedications are where academic, familial and social networks are affirmed for their support in completing the research. Acknowledgements are also where researcher identity and the study experience are revealed in a personal way, invariably with degrees of struggle and triumph. Like auto-ethnography, acknowledgements provide a window into the culture of graduate study (Jones, Adams,& Ellis, 2016) and are therefore instructive for those who supervise. One such example is from a thesis formally analysing the effects of geographical isolation on student achievement that includes a short, yet highly emotive, dedication: "To my late father, [name] who, even in the last few moments of his life, gasped these words: Raluvequ, na nomu vuli! (My daughter, remember to complete your study!)". Such a statement is heavy with connotation concerning the researcher self, support networks, motivation to study, study conditions, and even questions of truthfulness. It is vital the research story contained in acknowledgements be understood by all with an investment in graduate outcomes, particularly supervisors. In drawing on Pacific graduate student acknowledgements and the dimensions that frame graduate study in this context, we present a case study that offers insight and direction for supervisors working in developing world institutions where there is tension between the colonial past and indigenous people.

Item ID: 61602
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-367-24396-8
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2020 23:36
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education @ 50%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130311 Pacific Peoples Education @ 50%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939906 Pacific Peoples Education @ 50%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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