Presentation on theme: "Examining the thesis. Sympathetic – they have been there, done that! Qualified experts in their discipline area or across a range of disciplines Experienced."— Presentation transcript:
Examining the thesis
Sympathetic – they have been there, done that! Qualified experts in their discipline area or across a range of disciplines Experienced examiners Are aware of what constitutes a passable as opposed to an outstanding thesis Are objective Want to pass your work Are not your enemy Try to mark the thesis in nominated turnaround time.
Well presented and properly formatted (margins, spacing, font size, etc) Well written with no errors (typos, misspellings, poor expression) Referencing system that is carefully attended to, both in terms of in-text citations and list of references/bibliographies (yes, examiners will cross- check)
“I give my students strong advice on how not to ‘flip’ an examiner from ‘reasonable’ to ‘unreasonable’ by having things in the thesis such as typos and other careless textual mistakes that indicate lack of attention to detail.” (Interviewed examiner) (Mullins & Kiley, 378) Avoid ‘sloppiness’, aim for a polished performance!
Some read it from beginning to end to get a sense of the whole –read again Some read abstract, introduction and conclusion first to get a sense of the argument, then read the whole Most read the thesis twice and on second reading make detailed notes that will feed into their final report They fill out a ‘report’ form, tick the required criteria, indicating what their decision is They provide two to three pages (varies) of comment – sometimes more
Both examiners give roughly the same result (a good outcome) One examiner marks low and asks for substantial re- writes and the other marks high (this happens!) Candidate will negotiate the re-writing to the supervisor’s satisfaction in accordance with examiner’s recommendations Examiners usually do not want to mark the thesis again after the re-writes are done.
“lack of coherence lack of understanding of the theory lack of confidence researching the wrong problem mixed or confused theoretical and methodological perspectives work not being original not being able to explain at the end of the thesis what had actually been argued in the thesis.” (Mullins & Kiley, ) Poorly written with many errors
Coherent argument Well structured Originality Logical progression Higher level thinking and analysis Ability to successfully apply chosen theories An appreciation of what the research means Might have a few errors but not too many Communicates ideas at a strong academic level
What can I say?
1. Knowledge (of field) 2. Originality (contribution to field) 3. Significance (of contribution to the field) 4. Quality (ideas, standard of research, writing, overall presentation)
Is there evidence of the candidate’s research into and knowledge of the nominated field? Is there evidence of the candidate’s ability to synthesise the research and knowledge in order to situate their thesis/argument/ research topic in the field? Is there clarity around what the candidate’s research topic/argument/thesis is?
(a) “… there is an obvious breadth and depth of knowledge and a skillful interweaving of various theoretical skeins to provide a sophisticated interpretive grid for an analysis of Brisbane’s current urbanization as expressed in the selected case study of the inner city areas of New Farm the Valley and Newstead.” (b) “…the candidate is to be congratulated for such an evident breadth and depth of knowledge across a range of disciplinary fields and cultural theories.” Examiners’ comments on knowledge
Does the thesis contribute something new or different to the field? (At PhD level this is particularly important) What is its contribution and what is the level of quality of the contribution?
(a)“…its originality resides in its particular theoretical trajectory – that of the postcolonising ‘worldliness’ of Indigenous texts.” (b) “…the chapter provides illuminating readings of a number of apposite films including They Live, Predator II, Men in Black, Dark City and Species, in the process unearthing some very interesting distinctions between the cinematic representations of New York and those of Los Angeles with respect to ‘otherness’.” Examiners’ comments on originality of contribution
Evidence of academic scholarship Evidence of ability to argue a case and support it Evidence of use of relevant theories Evidence of ability to conduct research and use it appropriately Evidence of an appropriate methodology suited to the task Evidence of an appropriate level of academic articulation of ideas
“overall this is an insightful, balanced and well-written dissertation which – appropriately – has a strong narrative thrust of its own.” “There is a lively, imaginative and engaging sophistication in the expression of ideas and the exploration of concepts in both sections…” “The candidate writes in a lucid and fluent style with just the right academic tenor, as she navigates her way through the film’s major scenes, fleshing out the key components of both the text and the chosen theories.” Examiners’ comments on quality