This post is in the Introduction category


This video presentation gives a tour of the site. The Script appears at the end of this page.


There are four critical things you should understand in order to engage with and appreciate the multiple layers of this site. It is designed to reflect my inner experiences as a researcher and person with Asperger's Syndrome as much as possible.

  1. Analysis and Reflection are intertwined
  2. The site is semi-linear in nature
  3. Creative practice is integral to the study and to the presentation
  4. The research is an exploration through Music and Asperger's Syndrome not of Music and Asperger's Syndrome

1. The first page you came to introduced you to the two voices speaking in the dissertation. On each page you will find a block of text which I refer to as a post. The white posts are largely analytical and relatively formal. They detail the processes, the rationales, the literature and the context of the study. By contrast, the black posts are each addressed to you, 'Dear Reader'. These are personal reflections on events and experiences, the learning processes and the various insights that have arisen. They are personal narratives, evocative prose if you like. Both of these voices are vital to the project, one is not an adjunct to, or raw data for, the other.

2. The entire site is Semi-linear. It is possible to read each post and step through to the next in a linear, predefined order using the "next" button at the bottom of the text. However this is not the most effective, or interesting way to experience the multiple pathways through the document. Each post is fairly self-contained but fits within the broad category area which is listed in the Table of Contents on the left of the page. Within the posts are internal hyperlinks to related texts. These work rather like big footnotes and can link to any other part of the document. Thus you might find a link in the Rationale that takes you straight to an Insight. The browser's back button will return to where you were but you might just like to keep following the pathways. This is highly reflective of the process of forming links between concepts and drawing new insights that has constituted the mode of inquiry.

Below the Table of Contents, I have placed some Suggested Readings that discuss similar or related topics. I put these there on purpose and it is my hope that you will take the opportunity to explore. Perhaps the most fascinating feature is the set of Related Posts below the main text. These are generated by a WordPress plugin called Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP). There is more about this later as it important not just to the presentation of the site, but the research process itself. You are invited to follow them and return the linking pages.

3. Many of the posts contain images, audio and video. The images come from various aspects of my music practice, and while they are certainly striking and interesting, they also serve very particular functions in the meaning-making process. This concept is explored in its own section in the Methodology. The images enlarge if you click on them and include a caption and copyright details. The "key images" at the top are photographs of Zen Zen Zo productions taken by Simon Woods, Christabelle Baranay and Richard Dyson, and used with their permission.

Audio files throughout the document are used within both black and white posts as illustrations or as ways to communicate ideas that lend themselves to means other than words. As well as very recent pieces, they include pieces written and recorded prior to the research period that illustrate aspects that I was unaware of at the time. The audio files are presented as high rate MP3, however there is also an option to download a full quality .wav file.

Video is included in a number of posts, as live performance, animated illustration and treated interview vision. These are primarily illustrative.

4. This is a thesis about Music and about Asperger's Syndrome, but most of all it is the story of a person told through those two things. Perhaps the distinction is subtle, but it is my hope that the document will empower the reader to look both inside and beyond their own self, as I have done as the writer.


Guide Script

This dissertation has a number of unique presentation features that form an essential part of its methodology and mode of exploration. This video will guide you through these and help you to get the most from the Virtual Heart.

On the home page is a video, which requires Flash for the online version or quicktime for the hardcoded version.

A simple navigation bar at the top and bottom of the screen is present on every page of the site.

The welcome page introduces the two complementary "voices", the white "analytical" and the black "evocative" form. These two voices appear throughout the dissertation and offer insight from the personal and contextual perspectives.

From here we proceed to the main part of the site.

Each of the major chapters has a header page and a number of "posts" from the white and black voices.

Sub-chapters appear below, as a green bar with a folder icon.

A floating table of contents on the left makes the major chapters instantly available from any page.

The Context chapter has two subchapters, Musical Practice and Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

A "post" of either colour has the following features and links to others in several ways.

Images will "pop up" when clicked

The table of contents floats on the left hand side of the page.

Within the text are internal and external links that shed further light on the specific topic of discussion. Most of these links have a pop-up description if you hover over them. External links will open in a new browser window.

Below the Table of Contents are up to three posts that have been set as "suggested reading". They come from any part of the dissertation and are selected as being strongly relevant and related.

In addition, a software "related posts" system has generated links based on the text, metadata, and tags given to each post. This system has been instrumental in drawing many of the insights of the study.

A "next post" button appears at the bottom of the page and provides a traditional, linear path through each sub-chapter.

Of course the back button on your browser still has its normal function.

These multiple routes through the document encourage the reader to explore the site in a semi-linear or non-linear way. This is a much closer experience to the manner in which the insights occurred, and gives a window into a mode of thinking that is not possible in a standard document.

The reference section contains all the bibliographical data referred to by in-text references. It has been arranged across a number of pages to ease navigation by alphabetical order.

The appendices section contains additional data, and confidential elements for assessment. These confidential sections have been removed from the published site.

Within the introduction section you will find the Music Room. Music is embedded within many pages of the dissertation, but the music room houses the collection in a central place. Each page contains the piece as a streaming MP3 file, and a downloadable wav file.

The page has links to posts that contain the music in context, and information about its compositional and production process.

So back to the Introduction. Please take time to explore the link, related posts and commentary.

Related Posts

  1. How this web works: The submitted presentation is in a form that reflects my own inner experience as directly as possible, within the constraints of the University's submission guidelines.
  2. Why the Web?: The non-linear nature of web based writing and reading suits an exploratory method that is based on "links" between concepts. The web also allows for wide and interactive accessibility for the dissertation.
  3. Game On!: Sometimes it feels like I'm trying to do things differently just for the sake of challenging the University's guidelines!
  4. Video for you: Manipulated video allows an art-i-fact of the moment in time.
  5. Context: "Experience ... derives its validity from the conditions and context of consciousness in which it arises"
  6. Truth...: As a research method, autoethnography seeks to be trustworthy and offer insight rather than empirical validity.
  7. Thematic Analysis: Thematic analysis underpins the process of drawing insight from the narrative and media based data.