<p>This paper distinguishes between three views of argument: “argument as structure,” “argument as confrontation” and “argument as dialogical encounter.” Empirical studies of the criteria that examiners bring to the assessment of PhDs are cited. The studies provide evidence that qualities that align one or other of the three modes of argument figure significantly in the criteria that examiners bring to the assessment process. Embedded in the studies are respondents’ comments that suggest that the range of conceptions of argument held by PhD examiners is broad. Explicit use of the term “argument” is often made in reference to a minimal concept of argument ¬– “argument as structure.” However, the reported comments indicate a significant bias towards qualities associated with concepts of argument that lie somewhere along the spectrum between “argument as confrontation” and “argument as dialogical encounter” as a marker of quality in PhD research. Drawing on the work of Hans Georg Gadamer the paper will explore the possibilities opened up by adopting the view of “argument as dialogical encounter” in the context of the PhD. In particular I consider the issue of how PhD projects be structured so as to support the construction of arguments appropriate to practice based research in design? </p> <p> <strong>Keywords:</strong> <br /> Argument; Gadamer; Hermeneutics; Rigour; Practice Based Research; Phd Examination</p
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