Quasi-design: Breaching presentations in academia

Miller, Tim. 2021. Quasi-design: Breaching presentations in academia. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

In this thesis, I explore academics’ methods of presenting knowledge in academia. My central concern is academics’ expectations of the use of Microsoft PowerPoint and similar software in routine academic presentations. I argue that academics’ expectations of presentations are informed by design, the breaching of which reveals new knowledge of these expectations. In this research I draw on design, ethnomethodology’s breaching experiments and actor-network theory’s notion of script to develop the notion of quasi-design. This methodology is developed to be applicable in academia through the case studies of this research. In these case studies I undertook participant observation among academics who go about presenting knowledge in conference presentations, lectures and mock research interviews. I then breached these presentation scripts. Subsequently, I developed a method of design-led research that involves breaching not only scripts informing interaction between people and things but quasi-scripts containing atmospheres. These atmospheres are important as they affect my research participants who reveal their expectations of presentations by adopting, resisting or transforming disruptive breaches into quasi-breaches. Breaching presentation quasi-scripts therefore affects academics who reveal their expectations of presentations as informed by design. Through this, I inform our understanding of ethnomethodological breaching experiments, actor-network theory’s notion of script, interdisciplinary social research situated between design and sociology and presentations given in academic settings. To conclude, I outline quasi-design as involving the breaching of quasi-scripts to explore people’s expectations revealed inadopting, resisting or developing quasi-breaches in situations of presentation inacademia and perhaps beyond.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



Design, quasi-design, breaching experiment, script, presentation

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



31 March 2021

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

20 Apr 2021 14:01

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:18



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