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THESIS WRITING & EXAMINER’S EXPECTATION
Abd Karim Alias
akarim@usm.my
Thursday, December 22, 2011
WHAT IS ATHESIS?
A product of scholarly
and professional study
of a subject.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
ROLE OF EXAMINERS
To carefully assess whether
the study has fulfilled what
it has intended to achieve
and what it intends t...
COMMON EXAMINER’S REMARK
•“The presentation of the thesis falls
short...substantial proof reading”
•“The literature review...
WHAT MAKES AN
OUTSTANDINGTHESIS?
“The outstanding PhDs have beautifully
conceived ideas that open up a new area
or really ...
WHAT MAKES AN
OUTSTANDINGTHESIS?
•Novelty/originality
•Clear & specific objectives
•Cohesiveness - where it all fits togethe...
WHAT MAKES AN
OUTSTANDINGTHESIS?
•Creativity
•Overall a well sculpted piece of work
•A thesis is not an end in itself - ra...
POORTHESIS
•Lack of novelty/originality
•Lack of coherence
•Lack of understanding of the theory
•Lack of confidence
•Lack o...
IN THEVERY
BEGINNING
Thursday, December 22, 2011
FIRST IMPRESSION COUNTS!
•Overall presentation
•No spelling & grammatical errors
in the title, abstract, table of content,...
DON’T LET EXAMINERS GUESS
•Structure (examiner will look at the
TOC)
•Chapter introduction & summary/
conclusion (clear pr...
RESEARCH PROBLEM
Why did you
undertake the research
in the first place?
How does your thesis
advance the
knowledge of the
s...
RESEARCH PROBLEM
•Sufficient background - so that examiner
appreciates the research problem
•Highlight the deficiencies in c...
RESEARCH PROBLEM
Do not leave the
examiner thinking...
WHY BOTHER?
Thursday, December 22, 2011
SCOPE OFTHETHESIS
Have the author
defined & articulated
the scope of the
current work clearly?
Important to avoid mismatch ...
LITERATURE REVIEW
•Comprehensive but concise
•Include KEY references (seminal
papers)
•Critical appraisal - summarize &
sy...
MATERIALS & METHOD
Examiners will scrutinize
very carefully &
meticulously!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
MATERIALS & METHOD
Are M&M detailed
enough to ensure the
work is reproducible?
Thursday, December 22, 2011
MATERIALS & METHOD
Are M&M detailed
enough to ensure the
work is reproducible?
MATERIAL: sample size, sample
population, s...
MATERIALS & METHOD
Are M&M detailed
enough to ensure the
work is reproducible?
MATERIAL: sample size, sample
population, s...
MATERIALS & METHOD
Are M&M detailed
enough to ensure the
work is reproducible?
MATERIAL: sample size, sample
population, s...
MATERIALS & METHOD
Commonly asked questions:
Thursday, December 22, 2011
MATERIALS & METHOD
Commonly asked questions:
Is experimental design appropriate to achieve the objectives?
Thursday, Decem...
MATERIALS & METHOD
Commonly asked questions:
Is experimental design appropriate to achieve the objectives?
What precaution...
MATERIALS & METHOD
Commonly asked questions:
Is experimental design appropriate to achieve the objectives?
What precaution...
MATERIALS & METHOD
Commonly asked questions:
Is experimental design appropriate to achieve the objectives?
What precaution...
MATERIALS & METHOD
Commonly asked questions:
Is experimental design appropriate to achieve the objectives?
What precaution...
DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION
Thursday, December 22, 2011
DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION
•What is the basis of choosing certain set
of data to include in the thesis?
Thursday, Decemb...
DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION
•What is the basis of choosing certain set
of data to include in the thesis?
•Have the hypoth...
DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION
•What is the basis of choosing certain set
of data to include in the thesis?
•Have the hypoth...
DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION
•What is the basis of choosing certain set
of data to include in the thesis?
•Have the hypoth...
DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION
Thursday, December 22, 2011
DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION
•Could the presentation of results made
clearer?
Thursday, December 22, 2011
DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION
•Could the presentation of results made
clearer?
•Are the pattern in the results
clearly iden...
DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION
Thursday, December 22, 2011
DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION
•Logical progression of ideas & arguments
Thursday, December 22, 2011
DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION
•Logical progression of ideas & arguments
•Ability to recognize & appreciate the
significance o...
DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION
•Logical progression of ideas & arguments
•Ability to recognize & appreciate the
significance o...
DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION
•Logical progression of ideas & arguments
•Ability to recognize & appreciate the
significance o...
DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION
Thursday, December 22, 2011
DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION
•Is the significance of results fully explored
in the context of current literature?
Thursday, ...
DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION
•Is the significance of results fully explored
in the context of current literature?
•Reflection...
DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION
•Is the significance of results fully explored
in the context of current literature?
•Reflection...
THE END PART
Thursday, December 22, 2011
THE END PART
•Succinct conclusion
Thursday, December 22, 2011
THE END PART
•Succinct conclusion
•Have all the conclusions linked to the
results (i.e., based on available data)?
Thursda...
THE END PART
•Succinct conclusion
•Have all the conclusions linked to the
results (i.e., based on available data)?
•Have a...
THE END PART
•Succinct conclusion
•Have all the conclusions linked to the
results (i.e., based on available data)?
•Have a...
FINAL ANALYSIS
Has the thesis
made a substantive
original contribution
to our knowledge &
understanding?
Thursday, Decembe...
FINAL ANALYSIS
Has the thesis
made a substantive
original contribution
to our knowledge &
understanding?
Development of ne...
FINAL ANALYSIS
Has the thesis
made a substantive
original contribution
to our knowledge &
understanding?
Development of ne...
FINAL ANALYSIS
Has the thesis
made a substantive
original contribution
to our knowledge &
understanding?
Development of ne...
FINAL ANALYSIS
Has the thesis
made a substantive
original contribution
to our knowledge &
understanding?
Development of ne...
FURTHER READING
Mullins, G and Kiley, M. (2002) “It’s a
PhD, not a Nobel Prize”: how
experienced examiners assess research...
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
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Thesis Writing and Examiner's Expectation

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Transcript of "Thesis Writing and Examiner's Expectation"

  1. 1. THESIS WRITING & EXAMINER’S EXPECTATION Abd Karim Alias akarim@usm.my Thursday, December 22, 2011
  2. 2. WHAT IS ATHESIS? A product of scholarly and professional study of a subject. Thursday, December 22, 2011
  3. 3. ROLE OF EXAMINERS To carefully assess whether the study has fulfilled what it has intended to achieve and what it intends to contribute. The scientific merits The significance & impact The new contribution to the research field The research has been communicated clearly Thursday, December 22, 2011
  4. 4. COMMON EXAMINER’S REMARK •“The presentation of the thesis falls short...substantial proof reading” •“The literature review...lack of critical assessment...just a simple compilation... incomplete...” •“The experimental design was not appropriate...” •“Many vague statements...” Thursday, December 22, 2011
  5. 5. WHAT MAKES AN OUTSTANDINGTHESIS? “The outstanding PhDs have beautifully conceived ideas that open up a new area or really answer an important question, and are critical of previous work in the area or make a critical assessment of their own work” Thursday, December 22, 2011
  6. 6. WHAT MAKES AN OUTSTANDINGTHESIS? •Novelty/originality •Clear & specific objectives •Cohesiveness - where it all fits together •Clarity - clear line of thought & presentation •Elegance of design, synthesis & execution Thursday, December 22, 2011
  7. 7. WHAT MAKES AN OUTSTANDINGTHESIS? •Creativity •Overall a well sculpted piece of work •A thesis is not an end in itself - rather it will open up a new vista. Thursday, December 22, 2011
  8. 8. POORTHESIS •Lack of novelty/originality •Lack of coherence •Lack of understanding of the theory •Lack of confidence •Lack of substantive data •Lack of well-structured argument •Researching the wrong problem! Thursday, December 22, 2011
  9. 9. IN THEVERY BEGINNING Thursday, December 22, 2011
  10. 10. FIRST IMPRESSION COUNTS! •Overall presentation •No spelling & grammatical errors in the title, abstract, table of content, summary/conclusion (because examiners will read these parts first!) •Substantive both in quantity + quality •The thesis tells a story - takes the reader through a journey. Thursday, December 22, 2011
  11. 11. DON’T LET EXAMINERS GUESS •Structure (examiner will look at the TOC) •Chapter introduction & summary/ conclusion (clear prologue & epilogue) •Rational of research approach •Appropriate data analysis & presentation •References Make it easy for them to read and follow... Thursday, December 22, 2011
  12. 12. RESEARCH PROBLEM Why did you undertake the research in the first place? How does your thesis advance the knowledge of the subject? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  13. 13. RESEARCH PROBLEM •Sufficient background - so that examiner appreciates the research problem •Highlight the deficiencies in current knowledge - put the work in proper context or perspective. •Specific research objectives: achievable, measurable. Thursday, December 22, 2011
  14. 14. RESEARCH PROBLEM Do not leave the examiner thinking... WHY BOTHER? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  15. 15. SCOPE OFTHETHESIS Have the author defined & articulated the scope of the current work clearly? Important to avoid mismatch in the examiner’s expectation and what is actually delivered. Thursday, December 22, 2011
  16. 16. LITERATURE REVIEW •Comprehensive but concise •Include KEY references (seminal papers) •Critical appraisal - summarize & synthesize the current state of knowledge •Identify gaps in knowledge •Need to address conflict or controversial issues Thursday, December 22, 2011
  17. 17. MATERIALS & METHOD Examiners will scrutinize very carefully & meticulously! Thursday, December 22, 2011
  18. 18. MATERIALS & METHOD Are M&M detailed enough to ensure the work is reproducible? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  19. 19. MATERIALS & METHOD Are M&M detailed enough to ensure the work is reproducible? MATERIAL: sample size, sample population, sampling technique, sample storage/treatment Thursday, December 22, 2011
  20. 20. MATERIALS & METHOD Are M&M detailed enough to ensure the work is reproducible? MATERIAL: sample size, sample population, sampling technique, sample storage/treatment INSTRUMENTATION: specifications, calibration Thursday, December 22, 2011
  21. 21. MATERIALS & METHOD Are M&M detailed enough to ensure the work is reproducible? MATERIAL: sample size, sample population, sampling technique, sample storage/treatment INSTRUMENTATION: specifications, calibration INSTRUMENT: how questionnaire developed? validity/reliability check; proposed data analysis Thursday, December 22, 2011
  22. 22. MATERIALS & METHOD Commonly asked questions: Thursday, December 22, 2011
  23. 23. MATERIALS & METHOD Commonly asked questions: Is experimental design appropriate to achieve the objectives? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  24. 24. MATERIALS & METHOD Commonly asked questions: Is experimental design appropriate to achieve the objectives? What precautions were taken against likely sources of bias? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  25. 25. MATERIALS & METHOD Commonly asked questions: Is experimental design appropriate to achieve the objectives? What precautions were taken against likely sources of bias? What are the limitations of the methodology? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  26. 26. MATERIALS & METHOD Commonly asked questions: Is experimental design appropriate to achieve the objectives? What precautions were taken against likely sources of bias? What are the limitations of the methodology? Is the methodology for analysis and data collection appropriate? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  27. 27. MATERIALS & METHOD Commonly asked questions: Is experimental design appropriate to achieve the objectives? What precautions were taken against likely sources of bias? What are the limitations of the methodology? Is the methodology for analysis and data collection appropriate? Under given circumstances, has the best methodology been chosen? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  28. 28. DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION Thursday, December 22, 2011
  29. 29. DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION •What is the basis of choosing certain set of data to include in the thesis? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  30. 30. DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION •What is the basis of choosing certain set of data to include in the thesis? •Have the hypothesis been tested? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  31. 31. DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION •What is the basis of choosing certain set of data to include in the thesis? •Have the hypothesis been tested? •Do the solutions obtained relate to the questions posed? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  32. 32. DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION •What is the basis of choosing certain set of data to include in the thesis? •Have the hypothesis been tested? •Do the solutions obtained relate to the questions posed? •Is the level and form of analysis appropriate for the data? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  33. 33. DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION Thursday, December 22, 2011
  34. 34. DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION •Could the presentation of results made clearer? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  35. 35. DATA ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION •Could the presentation of results made clearer? •Are the pattern in the results clearly identified and summarized Thursday, December 22, 2011
  36. 36. DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION Thursday, December 22, 2011
  37. 37. DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION •Logical progression of ideas & arguments Thursday, December 22, 2011
  38. 38. DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION •Logical progression of ideas & arguments •Ability to recognize & appreciate the significance of the data Thursday, December 22, 2011
  39. 39. DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION •Logical progression of ideas & arguments •Ability to recognize & appreciate the significance of the data •Demonstrate higher level of thinking & analysis Thursday, December 22, 2011
  40. 40. DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION •Logical progression of ideas & arguments •Ability to recognize & appreciate the significance of the data •Demonstrate higher level of thinking & analysis •Ability to recognize & deal with contradiction Thursday, December 22, 2011
  41. 41. DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION Thursday, December 22, 2011
  42. 42. DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION •Is the significance of results fully explored in the context of current literature? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  43. 43. DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION •Is the significance of results fully explored in the context of current literature? •Reflection - ability of the author to make a critical assessment of their own work Thursday, December 22, 2011
  44. 44. DISCUSSION & INTERPRETATION •Is the significance of results fully explored in the context of current literature? •Reflection - ability of the author to make a critical assessment of their own work •Succinct writing without excessive speculation Thursday, December 22, 2011
  45. 45. THE END PART Thursday, December 22, 2011
  46. 46. THE END PART •Succinct conclusion Thursday, December 22, 2011
  47. 47. THE END PART •Succinct conclusion •Have all the conclusions linked to the results (i.e., based on available data)? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  48. 48. THE END PART •Succinct conclusion •Have all the conclusions linked to the results (i.e., based on available data)? •Have all the stated objectives of the thesis been addressed, regardless of the outcome? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  49. 49. THE END PART •Succinct conclusion •Have all the conclusions linked to the results (i.e., based on available data)? •Have all the stated objectives of the thesis been addressed, regardless of the outcome? •Have the avenues for future work opened up by the thesis been articulated clearly? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  50. 50. FINAL ANALYSIS Has the thesis made a substantive original contribution to our knowledge & understanding? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  51. 51. FINAL ANALYSIS Has the thesis made a substantive original contribution to our knowledge & understanding? Development of new theory or methodology? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  52. 52. FINAL ANALYSIS Has the thesis made a substantive original contribution to our knowledge & understanding? Development of new theory or methodology? Generation of new body of knowledge? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  53. 53. FINAL ANALYSIS Has the thesis made a substantive original contribution to our knowledge & understanding? Development of new theory or methodology? Generation of new body of knowledge? Knowledge about or understanding of an issue or problem? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  54. 54. FINAL ANALYSIS Has the thesis made a substantive original contribution to our knowledge & understanding? Development of new theory or methodology? Generation of new body of knowledge? Knowledge about or understanding of an issue or problem? Proposal of new policy or practice in a particular area? Thursday, December 22, 2011
  55. 55. FURTHER READING Mullins, G and Kiley, M. (2002) “It’s a PhD, not a Nobel Prize”: how experienced examiners assess research theses, Studies in Higher Education, 27, 4, 369-386 Thursday, December 22, 2011
  56. 56. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION! Thursday, December 22, 2011
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