PG Writing Group 26/09/11 Social Science South Rm 2204 Monday 12-1pm
In the Postgrad writing session on 26 September we analysed three high quality, but very different, PhD theses. Despite their marked differences in discipline, length, style & format there were a number of structural similarities. Below is a summary of the items we discussed for each of the theses. e-copies of all three are available from the UWA library.
1. Garwood, S. 2010. Networks, non-governmental organisations and world civic politics: Transnational anti-sweatshop and the global garment industry. PhD,SchoolofSocial& Cultural Studies. (260 pages)
- Structure: General introduction & general conclusion (not numbered as chapters), literature review in chapter 1, plus 7 research chapters.
- iii. Short abstract with clear statement of aims (This thesis examines…) & thesis (It argues that….)and indicates to the examiner the original contribution of the work (This thesis contributes to the growing literature….). These statements are repeated and expanded throughout the thesis and are consistent.
- General introduction starts with aims of thesis & clearly indicates research gaps at end of 1st section. Research questions & thesis (I argue that…) clearly defined in objectives section. Thesis divided into themes which form the organising principle for the research chapters. Section on organisation of the thesis. Not numbering introduction avoids difficulty of describing structure of introduction (usually chapter 1) within chapter 1.
- p9. Chapter 1 begins with short introduction (3 paragraphs) that includes final paragraph containing structural information (This chapter provides…..This is followed by…. Next, …..Last, it explains…..). There is a section called definitions that clearly defines to the examiner the terms used in the thesis (Throughout the thesis I use the words constituents and beneficiaries interchangeably. I acknowledge that neither term……). There is a diagram that summarises relationships between concepts on p15.
- p41. Each research chapter begins with an introduction (no heading) that includes a final paragraph that contains structural information. The chapters end with a conclusion that summarises the main points raised in the chapter and their significance as a whole. The final sentences of each conclusion for each chapter provide a link to the following chapter (This network targets……., and is the subject of the next chapter).
- p247. General discussion provides an overview of each chapter then discusses findings as a whole. Future research is included in final section of thesis (Areas of further research).
2. Ruhayel, R. 2009. Multinuclear platinum anticancer therapeutics: Insights into their solution chemistry and DNA binding interactions from NMR spectroscopy and molecular modelling. PhD, School of Biomedical, Biomolecular & Chemical Sciences. (215 pages)
- Structure: Introductory chapter, 1 methods chapter, 5 research chapters, and conclusions chapter. Publication arising from thesis reproduced in appendix. References listed at end of each chapter.
- v. Long abstract with indication of research gap & contribution (Prior to the work presented in this thesis, little was known about…). Overview of structure and findings of thesis provided. (Reported in chapter 3 is the study of… ).
- ix. Extensive acknowledgements.
- p1. Chapter 1 Introduction begins with review of the literature, followed by Section 1.5 Aims of this work. Aims are detailed chapter by chapter
- p47. Each research chapter begins with an introduction that includes reference to the literature, aims, & structural information (This chapter describes…..). Each research chapter includes a conclusions section.
- p207. General discussion discusses findings as a whole. Future research is included in final paragraphs of the discussion (An interesting experiment would be to… Further clarification of this observation is necessary…has yet to be fully understood and a more intimate understanding of these is a necessary prerequisite for developing…) but not as a separate section.
3. Li, W. 2010. Numerical methods for the solution of the HJB equations arising in European and American option pricing with proportional transaction costs. PhD,SchoolofMathematics& Statistics. (80 pages)
- Structure: General introduction & general conclusion (chapters 1 & 6), literature review included in chapter 1 and in introductions to each of the 4 research chapters. Publication stemming from results presented in Chapter 3.
- i. Short abstract with clear statement of aims (This thesis is concerned with the investigation of…) and indicates to the examiner the original contribution of the work (We extend the penalty approach….).
- iii. General introduction starts with problem statement (Pricing options is one of the most important problems in …….) and aims of thesis (In this thesis, we will investigate……). Clear indication of research gaps & how study will fill theses gaps at end of literature review section 1.2 (However, there is an apparent drawback of this method…….Therefore efficient and accurate numerical methods are necessary….In the literature, almost all of the papers….However, all these papers used…. The purpose of our study is to……). General introduction ends with section 1.3 that indicates methods & structural outline, chapter by chapter.
- p22. Each research chapter begins with very brief statement of aim of chapter & some chapters also include structural information (The purpose of this chapter is to propose….. We begin with…Motivated by these methods we then present….Finally, we prove…). Publication linked to Chapter 3 indicated in introduction to chapter (The results from this chapter have been published ). Publication listed in bibliography. Each research chapter has a conclusion that summarises aims the findings (In this chapter we proposed…We have proved that…). The final sentences of each conclusion for each chapter provide a link to the following chapter (In the next chapter we will develop…..).
- p81. General discussion provides a very brief summary of the thesis findings (Section 6.1 Summary; 3 paragraphs). Future research is included in final section of thesis (Section 6.2 Future Research; 3 dot points).
If you would like to know more about the Postgraduate Writing Group or receive email alerts when a Writing Group blog has been posted please contact Jo Edmondston (E: firstname.lastname@example.org) or post a comment on this blog. The next Postgraduate Writing Group will run on Monday 24 October.