Finding a writing style to bridge disciplines – Gabriel Bourke

railroadMy structured PhD GYG33 in the Learning Sciences and technology-enhanced learning was introduced in 2010 as a joint effort between the School of Education and the School of Psychology and I, being part of its piloting, am enjoying co-supervision from both schools. The opportunity is not however without it’s challenges.

It is my writing aim to travel along two rails I hope to create one track out of. These two rails traditionally have a history of mutual avoidance and yet are more related than they like to admit – education and contextual behavioural science.


When writing in an educational style, I may receive feedback from my educational supervisor to introduce more educational concepts and writing elements such as those of design-based research (DBR), or other types of narratives.


When writing in this style, however, I may also receive feedback from my other supervisor to keep the text dry, parsimonious, precise, and leave out any “flowery” language or superfluous textual elements.


This is the balance I must strike, as these are two different and yet related disciplines, each with their own distinct styles – one a narrative focusing on the learner, the other a dry account of rationales, methods, results, and conclusions. One discreetly describes learning in natural settings, while the other describes scientifically manipulating subjects in controlled environments.


Layovers along this track will be relevant areas of both disciplines such as educational and learning theory, literacy, speech-language pathologies and impediments (SLI), psycholinguistics (PALPA), semiotics, game-based learning, contextual behavioural science (CBS), and relational frame theory (RFT).


The writing and project’s journey is one towards finding this balance and achieving epistemic advancement with important implications for various educational and psychological disciplines, in particular relational frame theory, and language development and learning.

One thought on “Finding a writing style to bridge disciplines – Gabriel Bourke

  1. I love your railroad analogy. It does feel a bit like that sometimes, you have to lay the tracks yourself before you can go anywhere. But I guess the exciting part is that you’re never quite sure how far you are going to get or what you might encounter along the way.

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