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Examiner reference to theory in PhD theses

Published on Jan 2, 2015in Innovations in Education and Teaching International 1.17
· DOI :10.1080/14703297.2014.981842
Allyson Holbrook13
Estimated H-index: 13
(University of Newcastle),
Sid Bourke18
Estimated H-index: 18
(University of Newcastle),
Hedy Fairbairn6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of Newcastle)
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Abstract
As we were aware of the confusing and wide-ranging disciplinary and individual positions on the importance of theory in research, this study sought to determine how thesis examiners emphasised theory in their reports in order to inform candidate learning. While references to theory were not prominent in reports, examiner comment coalesced into six categories indicative of ‘accuracy and completeness’, ‘grasp’, ‘alignment’, ‘coherence and consistency’, ‘treatment of findings and discussion’, and ‘dimensions of contribution’. It was evident in summative comments that most examiners expected to find accuracy and grasp in a thesis. Grasp universally inspired confidence. The findings indicate positive recognition of a spectrum of sophistication in treatment of theory irrespective of discipline. Specific comment capturing a fusion of most or all the categories in one thesis was rare and always positive. Based on these categories, the paper provides clarity in what candidates need to attend to with respect to theory.
  • References (19)
  • Citations (6)
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References19
Newest
Published on Jul 3, 2014in Studies in Higher Education 2.85
Allyson Holbrook13
Estimated H-index: 13
(University of Newcastle),
Sid Bourke18
Estimated H-index: 18
(University of Newcastle)
+ 1 AuthorsTerence Lovat16
Estimated H-index: 16
(University of Newcastle)
In practice and process PhD examination is distinctive, reflecting the high expectations of students whose learning has been directed to their becoming researchers. This article builds on previous research on the examination of Australian theses that revealed that examiners in Science (n = 542) and Education (n = 241) provide a substantial proportion of formative comment in their reports, much of which is constructed in a way that anticipates reflective engagement by the student. Detailed examin...
Published on Jun 1, 2013in Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 2.47
Sid Bourke18
Estimated H-index: 18
(University of Newcastle),
Allyson Holbrook13
Estimated H-index: 13
(University of Newcastle)
The examination of research theses has only relatively recently attracted research interest that has focused on what examiners do and how consistent they are. The research questions in this study address firstly whether PhD and research masters theses were treated by examiners as qualitatively different on 12 indicators of importance across the areas: contribution of the thesis, the literature review, approach and methodology, analyses and results and presentation. Secondly what was the examiner...
Published on May 14, 2013in Issues in Educational Research
Jeanette Berman4
Estimated H-index: 4
The author of this paper provides an example of a conceptual framework that supported her doctoral study and written dissertation in the field of educational psychology. The study was carried out prior to the more recent explicit emphasis on conceptual frameworks in postgraduate research texts and academic literature. The instigation for the development of an explicit conceptual framework was a change in supervisors and their need to be meaningfully included in the journey of the student. The co...
Published on Jan 1, 2010
Kalervo N. Gulson13
Estimated H-index: 13
,
Robert John Parkes6
Estimated H-index: 6
Cindy L. Benge3
Estimated H-index: 3
,
Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie59
Estimated H-index: 59
+ 1 AuthorsMelissa L. Burgess1
Estimated H-index: 1
Introduction Studies of doctoral students seem to have a relatively small representation in the academic literature; yet, even so, there is one clear and compelling point often noted: the attrition rate among doctoral students ranges from 30% to 50% (see, for example, McAlpine & Norton, 2006). More specifically, as many as 50% of doctoral students do not complete their dissertations and, hence, their degree programs (Bowen & Rudenstine, 1992; Cesari, 1990). Further, even within the limited studi...
Published on Aug 1, 2009in Higher Education Research & Development 1.82
Margaret Kiley15
Estimated H-index: 15
(ANU: Australian National University),
Gina Wisker18
Estimated H-index: 18
(University of Brighton)
Most work on threshold concepts has hitherto related to discipline‐specific undergraduate education, however, the idea of generic doctoral‐level threshold concepts appeared to us to provide a strong and useful framework to support research learning and teaching at the graduate level. The early work regarding research‐level threshold concepts is further developed and reported in this paper using research carried out with supervisors into their identification of threshold concepts and research stu...
Published on Aug 18, 2008
Jean Anyon4
Estimated H-index: 4
(CUNY: City University of New York)
Introduction: Critical Social Theory, Educational Research, and Intellectual Agency, Jean Anyon Part I - Theory and Explanatory Analysis 1. Critical Social Theory and the Study of Urban School Discipline: The Culture of Control in a Bronx High School, Kathleen Nolan Personal Reflection 2. Theorizing Student Poetry as Resistance to School-based Surveillance: Not Any Theory Will Do, Jen Weiss Personal Reflection 3. Theorizing Redistribution and Recognition in Urban Educational Research: 'How Do We...
Published on Jan 1, 2009
Michèle Lamont34
Estimated H-index: 34
Excellence. Originality. Intelligence. Everyone in academia stresses quality. But what exactly is it, and how do professors identify it? In the academic evaluation system known as 'peer review', highly respected professors pass judgment, usually confidentially, on the work of others. But only those present in the deliberative chambers know exactly what is said. Michele Lamont observed deliberations for fellowships and research grants, and interviewed panel members at length. In "How Professors T...
Published on Oct 1, 2008
Shosh Leshem7
Estimated H-index: 7
,
Vernon Trafford8
Estimated H-index: 8
Introduction The end is where we start from What is doctorateness? Architecture of the doctoral thesis Exploiting the literature Thinking about research design What's in a word? How to conclude your thesis in one chapter The abstract The magic circle Preparing for the viva Dynamics of the doctoral viva Epilogue
Published on Jan 1, 2008in Educational Research Review 5.20
Terence Lovat16
Estimated H-index: 16
(University of Newcastle),
Allyson Holbrook13
Estimated H-index: 13
(University of Newcastle),
Sid Bourke18
Estimated H-index: 18
(University of Newcastle)
Abstract The article draws on findings from the PhD Examination Project at the SORTI Research Centre of The University of Newcastle, Australia. It focuses on an analysis of the roles of examiner and supervisor, in relation to the candidate, as seen through the lens of Habermas's ‘Ways of Knowing’ theory. On the basis of this, it has been postulated that the dominant text in the PhD examination process may work to constrain the generation of new knowledge rather than encourage it. The paper explo...
Cited By6
Newest
Christopher J. Cowton22
Estimated H-index: 22
(University of Huddersfield)
Abstract It is not unusual for doctoral research to take a long time to complete – not only because of the work involved but also because of delays caused by other factors. This can apply to any research, but it is something that can particularly afflict a doctorate. Noting how an intended empirically-based contribution to knowledge sits between a changing world and changing literature, this reflective piece identifies and explores the issues involved when the age of the data collected might cas...
Published on Jan 1, 2019
Karen Weller Swanson1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Mercer University),
Jane West4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Mercer University)
+ 1 AuthorsSharon Murphy Augustine4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Mercer University)
Published on Nov 17, 2017in Active Learning in Higher Education 2.29
David Hodgson4
Estimated H-index: 4
The examination of a PhD thesis marks an important stage in the PhD student journey. Here, the student’s research, thinking and writing are assessed by experts in their field. Yet, in the early stages of candidature, students often do not know what is expected of their thesis, nor what examiners will scrutinise and comment on. However, what examiners look for, expect and comment on has been the subject of recent research. This article synthesises the literature on examiner expectations into a fr...
Michelle Share5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Trinity College, Dublin)
This study examined the viva experiences of 87 social science PhD graduates from three Irish higher education institutions through a questionnaire that assessed outcome, preparation, conduct and post-viva. The majority were awarded their PhD with minor corrections, considered their viva as a summative assessment, and emphasised its purpose as authentication, examination and defence. Most felt well prepared yet few had experienced a ‘mock viva’ or viva workshop. Even those with minor corrections ...
Published on Jan 1, 2016
P. A. Danaher (University of Southern Queensland)
Having “room to manoeuvre” is crucial if qualitative education and social researchers are to design and conduct studies effectively, efficiently and ethically. These rooms for manoeuvres also build creatively on the shifting boundaries of contemporary methodologies as well as on the evolving experiences of the researchers deploying such methodologies. This chapter outlines a rationale for reimagining rooms for methodological manoeuvres. This rationale arises from a distillation of the decision-m...
Published on Jan 1, 2015
Neville Clement12
Estimated H-index: 12
,
Terence Lovat16
Estimated H-index: 16
+ 6 AuthorsDennis M. McInerney1
Estimated H-index: 1
Abstract Evaluation of research is a core function of academic work, yet there has been very little theoretical development about what it means to ‘know’ in relation to judgements made in examination of doctoral research. This chapter addresses the issue by reflecting on findings from three projects aimed at enhancing understanding of doctoral examination. In order to progress understanding about knowledge judgements in the doctoral research context, the chapter draws on two key contributions in...