Coping with interdisciplinarity : postgraduate student writing in business studies

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This thesis critically investigates how student writers cope with interdisciplinarity in business studies at postgraduate level. The corpus of knowledge student writers have to grapple with today seems to distance itself from the traditional mono-disciplinary contexts. Texts as well as the students who construct them are being continuously informed and conditioned by new values and imperatives of relatively new discursive practices. Hence, student academic writing(henceforward ‘student writing’) especially at postgraduate level can be regarded as a complex academic endeavour where students have to take up multiple writing positions. Analyzing student texts against the backdrop of the enormous intertextual and interdiscursive resources pertaining to interdisciplinarity is a major component of this thesis. Electivization of the curricula, on the other hand, while providing student writers with a wide range of choices, has created yawning gaps between what is commonly known as prior knowledge and what is yet to be learnt in the form of new knowledges. These epistemological considerations, i.e., how disciplinary knowledge is acquired, evaluated, contested, and strategically used also constitute an integral part of this research. Also of importance in the above contexts are the often lengthy and generically diverse assessment tasks students are required to accomplish within specific deadlines. The nature and structure of assignment topics and assessment tasks have in the past two decades or so undergone tremendous changes owing in large measure to disciplinary as well as socio-economic imperatives. Student writing has several dimensions in terms of the mode of assessment, egg. examination-based, presentation-based, research-based, observation-based. This thesis, however, will focus on research-based writing tasks. Based on the findings of this thesis, a paradigm called critical interdisciplinarity has been proposed in the concluding chapter of this thesis. Pedagogical and curricular considerations play a vital role in critical interdisciplinarity. By virtue of their encyclopaedic dimensions, knowledge domains relating to academic interdisciplinarity in student writing lend themselves to a wide range of future research projects. An attempt has been made here to critically explore only a tiny proportion of this inexhaustible repertoire of knowledge.
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