Kip Jones

KIP JONES, an American by birth, has been studying and working in the UK for more than 15 years.
Under the umbrella term of 'arts-based research', his main efforts have involved developing tools
from the arts and humanities for use by social scientists in research and its impact on a wider
public or a Perfomative Social Science.

Jones is Reader in Performative Social Science and Director of the Centre for Qualitative Research
at Bournemouth University. Kip has produced films and written many articles for academic
journals and authored chapters for books on topics such as masculinity, ageing and rurality,
and older LGBT citizens. His ground-breaking use of qualitative methods, including
biography and auto-ethnography, and the use of tools from the arts in social science research and
dissemination are well-known.

Jones acted as Author and Executive Producer of
the award-winning short film,
RUFUS STONE, funded by Research Councils UK.
The film is now available for
free viewing on the Internet and has been
viewed by more than 11,000 people in 150
countries over the past year alone.

Areas of expertise
• Close relationships, culture and ethnicity
• Social psychology, sociology
• Ageing, self and identity
• Interpersonal processes, personality,
individual differences,
social networks, prejudice and stereotyping
• Sexuality and sexual orientation
• Creativity and the use of the
arts in Social Science

Media experience
His work has been reported widely
in the media, including:
BBC Radio 4,BBC TV news,Times
Higher Education, Sunday New
York Times, International
and The Independent.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A Brief Outline for Organising/Writing the PhD Thesis: Chapters I, II, & III

The Research Question(s) are central and key to both the overall purpose and design of the Thesis. Each Chapter relates to them. The Intro sets up the problem(s) from which they arise and provides a map for the investigation. The Lit Review Chapter then investigates what is already known in relation to the research questions and convinces the reader that they are unanswered and need to be addressed. The Method Chapter establishes the researcher’s point-of-view within scholarship and methodology and then proceeds to consider various ways of answering the research questions within those parameters, finally arriving at the method chosen for the investigation and the reasons for it.

Chapter I: Introduction
A. Background (275 words[i]) (This is the section of the Introduction where first person can be used; perhaps how you became interested in the area of study, but not your life story [or employment history] here.)

B. Research Problem and Hypotheses (349 words) (This is crucial to establishing the whole raison d’etre of the study and the Thesis!) Make the reader/examiner as curious to find answers as you initially were!

C. Methodology (242 words) The plot of how you came to the method, rather than the method itself; that’s for later. Resist writing your full methodology here.

D. Justifications for the Research (177 words)
The research is also justified because its revelations and discovery add to and enrich …’

E. Outline of the Thesis (descriptions of the following, not details or argument) What the reader can expect.

1. Chapter Two: Review of the Literature (178 words)
2. Chapter Three: Method and Methodology (1184 words)
3. Chapter Four: Presentation of data (157 words)
4. Chapter Five: Analyses of data (167 words) (Four and Five are often combined)
5. Chapter Six: Conclusions and Implications (78 words)

F. Definitions (122 words)

G. Delimitations (234 words)

H. Conclusion

‘This introduction lays the foundations for the thesis.  It introduces the research problem, questions and hypotheses.  The research is justified, definitions are presented, the methodology is briefly described and justified, the thesis outlined and the limitations are given (c.f., Perry 1995).  On these foundations, the thesis can proceed with a detailed description of the research, beginning with a thorough exploratory examination of the literature on [the topic] in the following Chapter.’

Note: The Introduction is an overview, setting out the plan of action or map for the Thesis itself. It is not the place to go into detail about the how’s and why’s of either the questions, method(s) or findings, but rather, is descriptive of the processes that are to follow. This is not the place for argument or debate.

Chapter II: Literature Review
‘A literature review is a text written by someone to consider the critical points of current knowledge including substantive findings’. Theoretical and methodological considerations are left for the following Method Chapter.

A. Introduction               (about one page)  

B. Mapping the process           (about half page)
(How you went about searching the Literature, terms, databases, etc)

C. Unpacking [the topic] (20-25 pages)
1. The choice of terms in the literature (Further exploration and definitions of your terms from the literature)
2. The history of [your topic] research (linking your reviews of the parent and immediate disciplines/fields).
3.Unearthing specifics of your interest in the literature
4.Exploring major concepts of your research interest in the literature

D. Discussion         (eight pages)
Three main subjects or topic areas from the literature, delineated and synthesized (“the combination of ideas to form a theory or system”) to your research questions as valid and deserving investigation.

E. Conclusions         (a page)
“A new history of [your topic] has been constructed by journeying through the
literature, locating the peaks and valleys, the well-worn footpaths and the nooks and crannies of language in the previous research. Reconstructing the territory itself has set a new map for further exploration. …The question then remains … only by understanding … can we finally begin to understand this phenomenon we call …?” (Jones, 2001)

From Chad Perry:
“The second section aims to build a theoretical foundation upon which the research is based by reviewing the relevant literature to identify research issues which are worth researching because they are controversial and have not been answered by previous researchers. That is, the literature review is not an end in itself but is a means to the end of identifying the worthy research issues …”

III. Method & Methodology

       A. Introduction           (Two pages)
Having explored the literature on the topic and come to the conclusion that your questions remain unanswered, this Chapter  explores possible methods by which to answer them and arrive at a conclusion for the best way forward.

       B. Justification for the methodology   (One to two pages)
The following outlines that journey and its underpinnings.
Justification for the methodology in terms of the research problem and the literature review, for example, a qualitative methodology requires a research problem involving people’s constructions of meanings which have not previously been explored (Perry)

Ontology ... to do with our assumptions about how the world is made up and the nature of things
Epistemology ... to do with our beliefs about how one might discover knowledge about the world
Methodology ... to do with the tools and techniques of research
Guba and Lincoln (1994:108) categorize alternative inquiry paradigms according to their stance on the following three questions:
·       The ontological question
What is the form and nature of reality and, therefore, what is there that can be known about it?
·       The epistemological question
What is the nature of the relationship between the knower or would-be knower and what can be known?
·       The methodological question
How can the inquirer go about finding out whatever he or she believes can be known?

Your Methodology follows on from the Ontological and Epistemological positions you have taken.  There is no need to defend them from different ontological or epistemological standpoints. 

      C. Research procedures           (15 pages)
Because of the preceding exploration of the theoretical possibilities, a decision was made to use a … approach, building upon a … theoretical metacontext, and based within the general rubric of … .
This is your map or set of instructions for another researcher who wishes to follow your procedures.

      D. Ethical considerations         (One page)                     

      E. Conclusions         (One-two pages) 

From Perry:
§  Describes the major methodology used to collect the data which will be used to answer the (research questions).
§  Must be written so that another researcher can replicate the research.
§  Must show familiarity with controversies and positions taken by authorities.
§  Analogous to an accountant laying an ‘audit trail’
§  Awareness of how validity and reliability are viewed in qualitative research,
§  Advantages and disadvantages of other methods must be discussed

Jones, K. (2001) Narratives of Identity & the Informal Care Role (unpublished PhD Thesis). Available at:

Perry, C. (1998) “A Structured Approach for Presenting Theses” Australian Marketing Journal, Vol. 6., 1, pp. 63-81. Available at:

[i] Abstracted from Narratives of Identity & the Informal Care Role. Numbers of words or numbers of pages refer to the actual thesis and are given as examples of the proportions and lengths of sub-sections.