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Title: Voice matters : narratives and perspectives on voice in academic writing
Author: Kennelly, Ita B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 7648
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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The thesis contributes to an enhanced understanding of voice in academic writing. It provides an examination of different concepts of voice through a detailed review of existing literature and offers new interpretations of these concepts as well as new ideas about what voice means to people studying and working in higher education. The aims of the research were to explore stories and concepts of voice across different stages of the academic trajectory. The study involved interviews with eleven participants including undergraduate students, graduate students as well as academic and research staff within a college of business in a leading Irish research-intensive university. I adopted a narrative approach enabling an in-depth study of the participants' experiences and perspectives in relation to their academic writing. Narrative captures the stories and fosters detailed descriptions where the researcher is encouraged to follow the participants down their trails (Riessman, 2008). In this study, these trails comprised stories about writing assignments, writing theses and writing for publication. They uncovered individual struggles with self-expression, frustrations with the writing process and difficulties understanding academic conventions. Alongside the stories, adopting a narrative approach also enabled in-depth conversations about voice meanings. Voice is a slippery (Hyland, 2012) and multi-layered concept. By teasing out its meanings in the interviews, the participants not only offered lived perspectives on voice but they also added new voice definitions, for example, voice as nurturer of other voices, which were not evident in the existing literature. The title of this research has a deliberate play on words merging both aim and conclusion. The thesis explores matters of voice in academic writing as its research objective and through the interviews it examines how voice has applicability for participants in their writing. The thesis concludes that voice matters. It argues that voice is a useful and insightful concept and that exploring its place in academic writing can benefit the academic practices of students and academics in higher education. It further concludes that by considering voice we can avail of a valuable opportunity to assess our educational practices and to question some of the pervading assumptions relating to academic writing in higher education institutions today.
Supervisor: Herrick, Tim Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available