PhD Thesis Writing
PhD Thesis – A Novel Contribution To Knowledge
PhD thesis, also called doctoral thesis, is a thorough compilation of the original research done by a graduate student in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the doctor of philosophy. The words ‘original research’ implies that your research must give something previously unknown – some new insight or even theories into your research topic. Each PhD research starts with a PhD thesis proposal and ends with a PhD thesis defense. It’s quite a long way, each step of which has peculiarities of its own. Whether you are only planning your PhD Research Proposal or are already preparing for the defense, you are sure to find some useful advise here.
Quick Navigation through PhD Thesis page
- PhD thesis template
- PhD thesis proposal
- Tips on PhD thesis
- How We Can Help
- PhD Thesis Structure
- PhD Thesis Defense
Download PhD thesis template
PhD thesis proposal
PhD thesis proposal is a short summary of your research plan, your proposed methodology and your expected results. Usually it is submitted as a part of application for a PhD program and is approved at the very beginning of your study. Needless to say, it is considered to be the hardest part of the whole dissertation process. Many proposed PhD theses never materializes just because their PhD thesis proposals were not powerful enough.
While your PhD thesis should be quite long, your PhD thesis proposal should be rather short,but more informative and persuasive. It should be written much earlier than thesis itself, but reflect all stages of the research that is not conducted yet.
Your PhD thesis proposal structure should be as follows:
- A short introduction on the hypothesis
- Cases in favor of the significance and importance of the research
- Your working hypothesis and research questions
- Brief depiction of the methodologies, techniques and approaches to be employed
- Brief discussion of the bibliography on your research topic.
- The intended structure of your research.
A good PhD proposal may help you get enrolled at the PhD program you like, so be prepared to devote much effort to develop it.
PhD Thesis proposal is basically a hypothetical statement that goes against the present facts and opinions. Your PhD Thesis proposal is what presents the idea, scope and significance of your PhD Thesis to the Committee. If your PhD Thesis proposal is approved you enter the stage of actually writing the PhD Thesis paper.
Tips on PhD thesis
Here are some basic tips on creating a cogent PhD thesis:
- Hypothesis. The research hypothesis is the basic assumption of the thesis that you will study and analyze to prove or deny in your research paper. Try to choose a problematic issue for your hypothesis, this will make your study more interesting and successful. Refer to your hypothesis throughout the PhD thesis, it will make the paper more analytical and coherent at once.
- Original substantial contributions. A PhD thesis is not merely a compilation of facts and experiments but an in-depth analysis of the topic. Remember that you will be asked to identify your contribution at the thesis defense, so it’s better to mention it in the thesis. So, mention how your research results may be applied or used and discuss their limitations.
- Critical thinking. Show that you are aware of all the limitations of the principles or new ideas that you have developed. In other words, you should demonstrate that you do understand the various facets of the research topic.
- Adherence to rules of grammar usage. The content should be free from grammatical and factual errors. The words and sentences should give the readers a clear focus of your ideas.
- Adherence to format. It is important that you follow a proper format of the paper (APA style, MLA format, Turabian format, etc). Check the requirements of your University regarding the style in advance, otherwise you will have to change the format of you references, headings and title page just before the PhD thesis defense.
- PhD thesis defense. When everything is done and your thesis is written it’s time for public PhD thesis defense.
A good PhD thesis requires that you define central and novel concepts which can be justified logically and scientifically. You should be able to give an explanation of why the subject was chosen for study, and show that there is novel contribution to knowledge. Moreover you should be able to demonstrate mastery of the research topic. Thus it requires you to think deeply, to organize in-depth discussions, to assemble arguments that will convince those with advanced knowledge in the field, finally culminating with formal presentation of the arguments and discussions. That’s why in addition to the mentioned above three things are needed to prepare a strong PhD thesis:
1. Time. You need lots of time! You just cannot leave it to the last minute, or it will just give you many sleepless nights.
2. Extensive literature review. You have to do a lot of homework on the present current studies on the subject to come up with a strong thesis statement, good understanding of your research field and valid arguments. Luckily, you will need to study them for the exam on your research field.
3. Committee discussion. Always keep in contact with the committee to notify them of your progress and any advice that they might give.
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PhD Thesis Structure
To prove your PhD Thesis statement, you have to put up a well-built PhD Dissertation, filled with sufficient facts, evidences and conclusions. Your dissertation paper will quote various literature on the subject, study, investigate, question and deduce conclusions regarding the topic that leads to your PhD Thesis.
The PhD Thesis paper is normally around 60 or more pages, and needless to say, it cannot afford to be haphazard. There is a strict format as to how your whole thesis paper should be arranged.
You must follow the formal general PhD thesis structure as listed below:
- Copyright waiver
- Table of Contents
- Literature Review / Research Framework chapter
- Body – Methodology, Theory, Results, Discussion
- Findings and Conclusions
- Suggestions for Further Work
PhD Thesis Defense
PhD Thesis defense is a very special occasion. It may be compared either to oral exam or Master’s Thesis Defense. Like at oral exam you are expected to answer the questions of the exam committee. But unlike the exam, where the examiners know the correct answers at the PhD Defense you are the one who knows the subject better. PhD Defense have a lot in common with Master’s Thesis Defense. Like at Master’s Thesis defense you’ll have to prepare a report about you thesis. In both cases you may try to predict the questions of the committee, about your contribution, and on the bases of the academic background of the committee members. It’s also a good strategy to answer difficult questions with “That’s a good question” which gives you a little more time for the answer.
What makes a PhD Defense so special is that it’s a public event open to the university community first of all. This public character of a PhD Thesis Defense both some advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is that you may invite your friends and family to the PhD defense, but it may be considered as a disadvantage also. For example, you may worry more when you are to speak before a big audience. Another drawback is that all the visitors may post you questions regarding the research. While they may be caused by a real interest towards your topic – they are more difficult to predict compared to the questions of the defense committee.
How does a PhD Thesis Defense take place? First, the applicant for PhD degree presents the research (in less than 20 minutes). The report is followed by questions from committee, starting with the questions of external examiner and finishing to the supervisor. It usually takes an hour. After the questioning period the applicant leaves the room while the committee is left for making the decision upon the defense. When the decision is ready the student is called back to the room.
Tips on PhD Thesis Defense
What should be done in advance?
- Prepare and practice your presentation.
- Review your thesis before the defense and think of possible questions. Some questions are very common like about the limitations, your original contribution, sources and methodology. You may bookmark these sections with post-it notes so that you can find them quickly.
- Study the information about academic background of the examiners – it may help you to predict what they are likely to ask about and to think about the answers in advance.
- Before you distribute the PhD thesis to committee members, make sure it doesn’t demand editing. It is not their role to proofread your paper, itis acceptable to hire a professional editor (like ProfEssays.com) to help you with it.
- If you are planning to use some equipment in your presentation check it beforehand.
How to behave at the PhD thesis defense?
- Don’t worry
- Have a bottle of water with you
- remember about useful phrases like “That’s a good question”, and that you can ask to repeat the question: it will give you time to think about the answer.
- remember about the limitations of your paper: if questions go beyond them – indicate that in your answer.
- You may indicate that you don’t know the answer or hadn’t thought about the question, but could speculate that.
Finally, be prepared to make revisions after the defense! And don’t worry about that!
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