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18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Finishing and Producing your Ph.D. Thesis Anthony Bale (English and Humanities) & Caroline Goodson (History, Classics.

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Presentation on theme: "18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Finishing and Producing your Ph.D. Thesis Anthony Bale (English and Humanities) & Caroline Goodson (History, Classics."— Presentation transcript:

1 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Finishing and Producing your Ph.D. Thesis Anthony Bale (English and Humanities) & Caroline Goodson (History, Classics & Archaeology) Birkbeck College

2 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis 1.When to stop researching? 2.When to stop writing--and start editing? 3.How to edit efficiently? 4.Submission: how, where, what, when 5.The Viva

3 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis In general, Arts/Humanities theses are written chapter by chapter throughout the PhD programme Scientific theses are written once the data have been collected at the end of the PhD programme (Archaeology theses are a mix between these two, depending on the dataset)

4 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis When to finish researching and data collection? when you are no longer surprised by findings when you find yourself bored by the subject because you know, or can anticipate, your findings or other peoples research When to finish writing? when there is a clear progression of the argument through the text TIP: look at the paragraphs of a chapter and write a sentence summarising what each paragraph does or says. Looking at the sequence will make clear where you need more and where you can cut.

5 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis At least four months before you intend to submit, you should: Download the relevant forms from Complete the following and return to BBK Registry, attention of Miss Carla Bull, Research Student Unit (for Arts and SSHIP) 1.Entry form, signed by you and your supervisor. This includes the permission to reproduce the thesis and the certification that you have received and read a copy of the regulations. 2.Address Label, with a permanent address Your advisor must nominate examiners, and these must be approved. S/he must submit the form to Registry. It is your advisors choice who is nominated, though you may contribute suggestions.

6 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis

7 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis When you eventually submit the thesis, you must include these forms: 1.Declaration of Number of Words for Mphil and PhD Thesis 2.Abstract of Thesis - this is official, and will be widely available to researchers, so make certain there are no errors! 3.2 copies of the thesis for the readers, these can be soft- bound, in blue binding, with the name of the student on the spine in gold letters, according to regulations. The student must bring a copy for him-/herself during the examination, though this need not be bound.

8 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis How to edit efficiently? Use a spell checker and use a grammar checker. Do not accept their changes blindly but review each sentence. Use a Style Sheet. The College does not specify one for use in PhD thesis, because it is important that you modify the formatting to reflect conventions in your field. You may develop a style sheet yourself, adopt one from an important journal in your field of research, or use a widely recognised format, such as the MHRA Style Guide (strongly recommended for English theses), the Chicago Manual, or the MLA. BE CONSISTENT. If you decide half-way through to change ca. to circa, use Find and Replace to correct ca. in the entire text at that time.

9 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis When editing, divide your tasks and focus on one thing at a time. For example, read a chapter or the thesis first for punctuation, checking commas, full stops, single or double quotes and apostrophes. Then read again for consistent spelling. Then read again for citations and abbreviations. Then read again to check the footnotes. TIP: Read assuming there are errors and find them. Read the text aloud or backwards (especially helpful for spelling errors).

10 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Final stages of producing the text and editing before submission Front matter Abstract Acknowledgements Table of Contents Chapters References Appendices Printing Binding

11 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Front Matter Title page (numbered page 1) Officially approved thesis title, that which is on the forms that you submitted months before. Candidates full name Birkbeck College, University of London Degree for which thesis is submitted and month/year of submission It is assumed that submission of the thesis implies it is entirely your own work and not plagiarised.

12 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Intracellular Signalling and Phagocytosis by Haemocytes of Manduca sexta Larvae Maria Patricia de Winter Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences Birkbeck College, University of London Submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, November

13 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Abstract of Thesis Follows the Title Page 300 words maximum Summarises context, methods, results and conclusions contained in the thesis A duplicate Abstract must be submitted to the registry with the thesis Published in ASLIB Index of Theses

14 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Acknowledgements Optional, but most people include them (in the final submission) and acknowledge those who supported and helped them throughout their Ph.D., including libraries, repositories, and archives. If you include these, do keep acknowledgements to one side of A4.

15 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Table of Contents Follows Abstract, or Acknowledgements where included Must include all headings and subheadings and their page numbers Includes a list of Figures or Tables MS Word can create a TOC for you if you merge all your chapters into one document or you can generate your own (make a two- column table without borders)

16 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Chapters Each chapter must be numbered sequentially, and the pagination must be continuous from 1 onwards. Use Arabic numerals (ie 1, 2, 3). You may chose to number your footnotes sequentially or restart at each chapter.

17 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis References Use a reference system that is recognised by your discipline. Examiners are fond of checking for missing references so check that each of the items in your footnotes appears on your final bibliography (nb this takes hours!).

18 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Appendices Include extra material that does not need to be in the body of the thesis. These might be tables, transcriptions of documents, texts in original language or editions of texts, or other information relevant to the thesis but not included in full in the body of the text.

19 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Production time Allow at least a WEEK to assemble, check, print and correct last-minute errors that you have missed.

20 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Word limit 100,000 words including footnotes and tables, but not including appendices. It is possible, under extenuating circumstances, to apply for an extension to this limit but this application must by approved by your examiners, and the College, before you submit the thesis. There must be a very serious reason for which you need this extension, such as your examiners requiring the addition of a new chapter as part of the major revisions to the thesis.

21 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Birkbeck does NOT stipulate the following: -the font type or size to use (best to use a serifed font ( such as Times ) for body text and a sans serif font (such as Arial) for figures such as graphs) -reference formats or bibliography formats. -American or British English spelling or conventions. -specific chapter or thesis formats

22 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Birkbeck DOES stipulate the following formatting points: -theses must be typed or printed on good quality A4 paper and on one side only -line spacing should be double or one-and-half, except for for indented quotations or footnotes where single spacing may be used. -the binding edge margin must be at least 40 mm and other margins at least 20 mm -photographs etc. must be permanently mounted and bound in with the theses

23 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis -the use of sellotape or similar is prohibited -errors must be corrected before final submission -all pages must be numbered, including any bound in material -the thesis must include a title page, an abstract, a table of contents and a list of tables and figures -collaborative work must acknowledged and certified by supervisor. The examination copies, and the final submission copies, MUST be bound according to regulations

24 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Printing Allow at least TWO days just to print and check your thesis - it really does take this long. Print a draft copy first and check for errors before printing final copies - get a friend or partner or parent to proof-read the thesis to check for typos that you will not be able to see. Having a professional printer print the final copy has much to recommend it, though it can cost over £20 per copy, not including binding.

25 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Check each thesis copy to ensure that all the pages are numbered sequentially Birkbeck initially requires two copies, either two soft-bound or one soft and one hard- bound Make an extra copy for yourself, which you should take with you to the viva, and one for your advisor if he or she is attending the viva. Dont make any extra copies at this stage - there are certain to be corrections to make If you submit two soft-bound copies and there are no correction, you will eventually have to submit a hard-bound copy after the viva.

26 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis All theses (whether soft or hard-bound) must Be covered in medium blue cloth (e.g. water resistant material) Be lettered in gold up the spine with Degree, Year, and Surname and Initials in the same form as the College records, with letters 16 or 18 point (.25 inch) (The date on the copies of the thesis submitted for examination in November and December should be that of the following year). If the thesis has to be bound in two volumes, the spine should indicate this clearly, e.g. Vol 1 and Vol 2.

27 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Binding For the examination, you can submit either -Two soft-bound copies, or - One soft-bound and one hard-bound copy. For the final official submission, you must submit One soft-bound and one hard-bound copy. Soft binding costs about £ Hard binding costs about £ A list of binders in the area is available at

28 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Hints on producing a thesis Save each chapter as a separate MSWord file, and put them together at the very end, or keep them separate and change the page numbering on each file to be sequential to the last. Back up all work regularly: daily if you are working on it daily. (You can save it on your Birkbeck account, by logging into a Cluster computer and saving it in your Documents folder, as this is backed up and recorded on tape off site).

29 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Figures and tables should preferably not be inserted into text - put them on individual pages at the end of the chapter, or the text. Save figures and tables as separate files and either print separately or insert into chapter only when you are about to print. Inserting figures into (borderless) text boxes anchors them on a page and makes positioning them easier (in MS Word). You may use reference management software (e.g. Endnote, zotero) to insert citations and create a bibliography/reference list BUT manually check all your references in the completed thesis nonetheless.

30 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Submitting the Thesis Take two copies of the thesis together with the completed –Abstract of Thesis form –Declaration of Number of Words The title of the thesis must correspond EXACTLY to the title on the Exam Entry Form previously submitted

31 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis After submission Your examiners will read the thesis and each write a preliminary independent report. They will confer before the viva and usually plan how they will conduct the viva and which areas they will want to cover.

32 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis The Viva

33 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis Based on their reading, and the viva, the examiners will have to certify that the Ph.D. thesis : is genuinely the work of the candidate forms a distinct contribution to knowledge of the subject affords evidence of originality: 1) by the discovery of new facts and/or 2) by the exercise of independent critical power is an integrated whole and presents a coherent argument [NB a series of papers is not acceptable but published papers may be adapted and included in the thesis]

34 18 November 2010Finishing the Thesis gives a critical assessment of the relevant literature; describes the method of research and its findings; includes discussion of those findings and how they advance the study of the subject; in so doing demonstrates a deep and synoptic understanding of the field of study, objectivity and the capacity for judgment in complex situations and autonomous work in that field; is satisfactory as regards literary presentation [NB in English]; includes a full bibliography and references; demonstrates research skills relevant to the thesis; is of a standard to merit publication in whole, in part or in a revised form.


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