Research suggests the teaching of the writing of doctoral thesis is decontextualised and that a traditional form, antithetical to a student’s paradigm or theory, has become canonized. Written to disrupt the traditional journal article form, this article explores the traditional form of theses through interviews with eight doctoral students in a School of Education. 5A’s creativity theory, where actors, audiences, actions, artifacts, and affordances combine to produce creative outputs, illuminates how students’ decisions are shaped by their apprehension of an academic audience as well as their own low positional identities as actors. A focus on contextualised teaching of writing of doctoral theses and further research into writing theses for different audiences are recommended.


writing, doctoral thesis, creativity theory, post-structuralism, education

Author Bio(s)

Tom is a Reader in Education at Leeds Beckett University. He supervises a number of doctoral students and has a specific research interest in creative writing. Please direct correspondence to t.w.dobson@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.


I would like to thank the doctoral students who took part in this project.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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