Into the Labyrinth : A PhD Comprehensive Portfolio

Labyrinth Construction

"Much like an early choose-your-own adventure book or an interactive narrative in which the reader follows diverging plotlines, the web affords a multi-dimensional, rhizomatic experience. Agents on the web follow their curiosity in a never-ending labyrinth of information, communication, and entertainment" (Kennedy, 2016, p. 1).

     Ullyatt (2011) describes the design and construction of a labyrinth in temporal and contextual space. The labyrinth has an imprint on the land where it resides and a structured time when it is used by a labyrinth walker. There is a paradox of permanence and ephemerality in structuring the boundaries of a labyrinth in both time and space (Ullyatt 2011), meaning that both the physical construct and metaphoric reflectivity may be fleeting but will leave an etch on the landscape and psyche. Such is the composition of this comprehensive portfolio – it is bound by temporal and contextual construction within time and space. This labyrinthian comprehensive portfolio constructs a symbolic path walked with intention and reflection. Yet, I also recognize the heteroglossia (diverse voices within this creative construction), polyphony (unison of multiple elements including media constructions), and dialogism (dialogue required for change to occur) (Hoechsmann, 2019) that are embedded into this comprehensive portfolio construction. Bahktin's (1981) notion of "unfinalisability" reminds me that this PhD labyrinth path is an opportunity to continue developing and learning. 

     The construction of the comprehensive portfolio is a demonstration of scholarly knowledge within the field of study as outlined in the context of course work, scholarly tasks, and explorations into dissertation topics. The focus is on modelling depth of knowledge, methodological understanding and the critique of research literature. As suggested by Boote & Beile (2006) the goals of a doctoral program are four-fold: to "understand the research and scholarship in the field; develop intellectual independence; develop information literacy; and systematically and continually reappraise ideas and practices" (p. 32). Understanding is further defined as ownership and being able to justify and defend the inclusion of research and choices (Boote & Beile, 2006). It is by constructing and writing this comprehensive portfolio that I will come to know myself reflexively as academic and scholar, while recognizing that this text is far from being the whole story. This portfolio will stand as an imperfect and incomplete construction of my experiences, knowledge, competencies, and connections (Richardson, 2001). 

     The lintel stands as the entrance to any construction – the doorway or window through which to enter. The lintel of this comprehensive portfolio is framed by two sections: the Introduction, and the Labyrinth. By reading these sections first, you the reader may better understand the steps into the portfolio design and the actions I outline within sections of the portfolio. The boundaries and borders of this labyrinthian, comprehensive portfolio are found in the sections outlined by the Step By Step sections, including the academic growth gained through course work and the scholarly tasks. From the centre of the labyrinth I share the plan for future research which includes a literature review, the research frameworks in preparation for the research proposal, and my exploration for alternative dissertation (Alt-Diss) formats. This outlines my PhD labyrinth construction. 

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