Apparatus PhD School core curriculum (15 ECTS)

During the first and second semester of the PhD school we look at the Apparatus that surrounds formalized research in terms of validating research as research (systems of authority including referencing and peer review); structuring research (in terms of research questions, activities and what is produced), mediating research (in terms of activities, what is produced and telling people about this) and research design (all the above working together to project aims and effects in the future). We do this through a series of workshop/seminars held by PhD fellows, Tim Anstey from AHO and Cheryl Ball from West Virginia University with other guests and members of AHO staff. Together these activities constitute the Apparatus course (7.5 + 7.5 ects). The course is assessed through development and submission of an annotated bibliography and through the definition of a literature review in semester 1, and though the development of the research design proposal in semester 2.

Course Leaders: Cheryl Ball, Tim Anstey


Referencing and peer-review are mechanisms that establish the authority of an academic text through linking it into a wider con-text. This workshop focusses on how researchers build authority and credibility in academic writing (i.e., published research) in different disciplines. Topics include the process of publishing, the importance of peer review by external readers, referencing (citation) systems in multi-disciplinary publications, what count as credible sources in research across disciplines, how to collate sources using a reference manager, and building your reading list and annotating your sources as a starting point for writing your literature review.

Situating your research as a contribution to a field This workshop will answer two fundamental questions: What is a research question (RQ)? What is a literature review? Exercises include close readings of example RQs and lit reviews to better understand the genre of these forms of academic writing, to apply to your own projects. We will practice revising (e.g., narrowing the scope of) your reading list and RQs to help you write a literature review that is based on your contribution to a field (or related fields).

Writing and research as recursive activities This workshop will focus on academic genres as texts/artifacts that change depending on their social contexts, specifically in relation to the status of your RQs as evidenced in your reading lists, maps, and literature reviews. Over these two days, you will present the mapping assignment (from Project course) in relation to your completed literature review for in-class review.

Research activities and research products Using as a vehicle the reading of two example PhD theses, one by compilation, one monograph, this workshop investigates the relationship between modes of research and the form of research output, which choice will be significant in the research design evolved for your thesis. The workshop responds strongly to the enquiries as they are developed in individual PhD projects through the Project course component.

Does it all align? This workshop, undertaken as you make your first pieces of investigation within your project serves to review the sum of the parts discussed so far. You have listed tentative research questions, and have begun to test whether these are the questions relevant for the thesis; you have tracked research in the field, including the kinds of methods that may be relevant; you are making a first detail enquiry that explores selected methods in terms of the experimental nature of your own project. The question that must be asked at this point is: does it, or can it, all align? Can the research activities (dependent on particular methods) generate answers to the research questions and can these be mediated/communication via the proposed research outputs. The emphasis of this workshop is on research design, the creation of a structure through which the enquiry you propose can be made and mediated.

Research proposal reviews This workshop makes individual detail reviews of the draft research design proposal document.