Studying for a doctorate? Why not consider publishing your thesis as an eBook?
by Melanie Thorley, FACE Executive Member
FACE has always welcomed and encouraged new and emerging researchers, including myself. My first ever dissemination of my research was the FACE conference at the University of East London in 2008 which is why I have contributed this short reflective piece for the bulletin.
Undertaking a doctorate is a phenomenal task and anybody who suggests otherwise is unlikely to have a doctorate themselves. There are many reasons for undertaking such a task, some altruistic, and some fairly selfish but the one certain outcome is the thesis. There are literally thousands of leather-bound theses sitting in cupboards which have not seen the light of day. The blood, sweat and tears of creating such a document has virtually been in vain as only three or four people actually get to read it.
I was very fortunate in that I had the notion of the thesis being accessible to various audiences at the very beginning of my doctorate journey. As a Doctorate in Education (EdD) student, I had two years of coursework and seminars before we began on the actual thesis, which gave me plenty of time for planning my thesis and what was going to happen to the thesis once complete. I am most definitely a practitioner rather than a researcher and I wanted to share my findings with various groups of people within education. What is the point of creating guidelines or models if you do not share?
I was working as a professional notetaker when I began my doctoral journey and was fortunate to be awarded full funding (would have cost me £12,000). Notetakers can be employed to support D/deaf and disabled students who would have difficulty writing their own lecture/seminar notes. It was a role I relished but was frustrated that different institutions had different guidelines. Primarily, the purpose of the research was to produce a set of comprehensive guidelines about notetaking. The guidelines are for notetakers; D/deaf learners; teaching staff who have D/deaf learners in their classes; and for classmates who have a D/deaf learner in their classes. I worked with D/deaf learners and recent graduates who contributed their experiences to maximise good practices and minimise bad practices. This is all well and good, but how do these people access the guidelines? This is where the idea of an eBook developed.
eBooks are easy to read, are cheap to buy, take up no bookcase space and are easy to transport. My eBook costs £5.00 for 55,000 words – a bargain. Half of the money goes to adept (Association of Deaf Education Professionals and Trainees) who are hosting the eBook on my behalf. Although my subject matter was a particularly niche area, copies have been sold in Poland, Australia and Botswana – international readership has been an unexpected, but very welcome outcome.
I have no hesitation in recommending fellow researchers in considering creating an eBook to enable interested people to access your research. If you are going to spend years on investigating a subject you have a particular interest in, there is likely to be an audience interested in your findings.
Feel free to email me if you have any queries
Dr. Melanie Thorley
*AccessAbility Project Officer
University of Greenwich