Well, certainly the best one I’ve ever read (and I’ve read dozens).
This is the dissertation recently defended by one of my new colleagues, Dr. Hilary Hughes-Decatur. It is an absolutely brilliant piece of work; it’s rich with issues to be explored, ranging from how we deal with “bodily-not-enoughness” in schools to how we elicit the voices of students as researchers and practitioners. Her understanding and use of phenomenological inquiry is outstanding, and the substantive issues addressed in the dissertation are vitally important. What jumps out to me, though, is the format. It’s not so much the magazine-style and the multigenre writing that are noteworthy as it is how that all interacts with the particular topic of the study. It’s all very purposeful and wonderfully effective, IMHO.
Dr. Hughes-Decatur writes on page 15, “I don’t write like this to turn the academy on itself – I write like this, because that is what just comes out.” Well, I’m so glad it came out like that… and I hope it helps turn the academy on itself.
[UPDATE 10/30/11: Dr. Hughes-Decatur realized that the dissertation as I had posted it is under review by a publisher to be published as a book. Therefore, the right thing to do is to not post it here. Hopefully, the publisher will have the good sense to publish it exactly as is. Until then, if you’d like a glimpse into the work, be in touch with me or Dr. Hughes-Decatur.]