Thesis Evaluation CriteriaProf. Dr. Mohamed Amin EmbiPusat Pembangunan Akademik
Examiner’s First Question• What is this one about? Examiners have little time available, so they want to extract the most in the shortest time.• Does it cite the right things?• What is achieved? Do I believe it?• Are all the pieces there?• Is the argument clear?
What examiners are looking for?• Review of Literature• Methodology• Presentations of Results• Discussion & Conclusions
Review of Literature• To what extent is the review RELEVANT to the research study?• Has the candidate slipped into “Here is all I know about x”?• Is there evidence of CRITICAL APPRAISAL of other work, or is the review just descriptive?
Review of Literature• How well has the candidate mastered the THEORETICAL underpinnings?• Does the candidate make the LINKS between the review & his/her methodology explicit?• Is there a SUMMARY of the essential features of other work as it relates to this study?
Methodology• What PRECAUTIONS were taken against likely sources of BIAS.• What are the LIMITATIONS in the methodology? Is the candidate aware of this?• Is the methodology for DATA COLLECTION APPROPRIATE?
Methodology• Are the techniques ANALYSIS PPROPRIATE?• In the circumstances, has the best methodology been chosen?• Has the candidate give an ADEQUATE JUSTIFICATION to the methodology?
Presentation of Results• Have the QUESTIOMS in fact been ANSWERED?• Have the HYPOTHESES been TESTED?• Is the LEVEL & FORM of ANALYSIS APPROPRIATE for the data?
Presentation of Results• Could the PRESENTATIONS of the results been made clearer?• Are PATTERNS & TRENDS in the results ACCURATELY indentified & summarized?
Discussion & Conclusions• Is the candidate aware of the possible limits to reliability & validity of the work?• Have the MAIN POINTS to emerge from the results been PICKED UP for discussion?• Are there LINKS made to the literature?
Discussion & Conclusions• Is there evidence of ATTEMPTS at theory building or reconceptualisation of problems?• Are there speculations? Are they well grounded in the results?
Assessment CriteriaPresentation & Clarity• The reader should be able to read the text without difficulty.• The text should be clear & „tell a story‟.• The reference list should be complete & accurate.• The thesis should be no longer than necessary.
Assessment CriteriaIntegration & Coherence• There should be logical & rational links between the component parts of the thesis.• There should be an intellectual WHOLENESS to the thesis.
Assessment CriteriaContribution to Knowledge (Masters)• Independent research based on sound knowledge.• Evidence of exercise of independent thought.
Assessment CriteriaContribution to Knowledge (Ph.D.)• Discovery of new knowledge.• Formation of theories• Innovative reinterpretation of known data & established ideas.
Assessment CriteriaOriginality & Creativity• Candidate‟s own work.• Evidence of an appropriate level of independent work.
Assessment CriteriaReview of Relevant Literature• Demonstration of detailed knowledge of original sources.• Possession of a thorough knowledge of the field.• Understanding of the main theoretical & methodological issues.
Assessment CriteriaStatement of Problem• The problem to be tackled in the research should emerge naturally form the literature review.• The problem which has been identified should be worthwhile investigating.• Clear & succinct statement of the problem together with a set of questions/hypothes/
Assessment CriteriaMethods of Enquiry Adopted• Appropriate justification of methods chosen.• Demonstration that methods employed have been chosen through a conscious process of deliberation.
Assessment CriteriaAnalysis of Data• The analytic methods used need to be justified & sufficient for the task.• Sensitivity to problems of reliability, measurement error & sources of bias.• Understanding the assumptions behind the test(s) employed.
Assessment CriteriaAnalysis of Data• Analyses clearly linked to questions/hypotheses posed.• Data presented in a well-structured way.• Demonstration of WHY each analysis was conducted, HOW analysis was done & WHAT it tell us about the data.
Assessment CriteriaDiscussion of Outcomes• Discussion should summarise without repetition what has been achieved in the research.• Links should be drawn between your work & work reviewed in the literature review.• The main findings should be INTERPRETED & related to theory.
Assessment CriteriaDiscussion of Outcomes• There should be reflection of the research process as a whole.• There should be a section discussing limitations of research design.• There should be some POINTERS to future work.
THESIS DEFENCE• Viva Voce means „lively discussion‟.• The examiners may have decided before the exam whether to pass you or not.• The viva is to check it‟s your work.• A chance to clarify things that aren‟t clear in the thesis.
Tips for VIVA• Try to attend one or more thesis defenses prior to yours – focus on the interactions that occur.• Find opportunities to discuss your research with your friends & colleagues – listen carefully to their questions.• Don‟t be overly „defensive‟ at your defense.
Tips for VIVA• Judge whether a particular remark by the panel is a question that needs clarification or a mere suggestion to be considered.• Do not be nervous.• Describe your work in a confident tone & convincing manner.
Tips for VIVA• Avoid wordy power point presentation – if you can‟t help it, use highlighters (bold, italics, underline, colours etc).• Stick to the time allocated (normally 15-20 minutes).• Before presentation, provide a list of papers presented & published on your study (if you have).
Tips for VIVA• Don‟t spent too much time elaborating on the title and introduction – focus more on statement of problem, methodology & findings.• Display main findings/trends – need not give too details analysis – because examiners have read them.• Highlight your contribution to knowledge.
Tips for VIVA• Prepare not more than 15 slides & not less than 8 slides.• Spend not more that 2 minutes per slides.• Avoid „reading‟ from the white board – face the audience & have eye contact with the panel.
Slides for VIVA• Title (1 slide)• Intro/Overview (1 slide)• Statement of Problem (1 slide)• Research Objectives (1 slide)• Research Questions/Hypotheses (1 or 2 slides)
Slides for VIVA• Research Design (1 or 2 slides)• Summary of Findings (2 or 3 slides)• Main Implications of Findings (1 slides)• Contribution & Suggestions for Future Work (1 slide)
VERDICT• Passed with no correction.• Passed subject to minor correction.• Passed with major/substantive revision/amendment.• Resubmission for examination.• Failed.
QUALITY• EXCEPTIONAL – no correction (Fewer than 5% worldwide)• EXCELLENT - very minor correction (Fewer than 20% worldwide)• SATISFACTORY/FAIR – major correction (sound but lacks a compelling element is some respect)• WEAK – resubmission because the thesis has fatal flaws.