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PhD Thesis – Learn the ropes

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Get to know more about the rules of doing a PhD thesis

The degree, Doctor of Philosophy, is generally considered to be the highest in any field of study in most universities. A PhD degree holder would produce post-doctoral work which may fetch him a degree, Doctor of Literature (D.Lit). A scholar striving to acquire the highest degree is required to submit a dissertation of a stipulated length, apart from doing practical research and writing theory examinations. A PhD thesis or dissertation is generally defended by the candidate in a public Viva voce.

Creative writing and theses:

Thesis writing or dissertation writing is quite different from creative writing, for the simple reason that the former is written according to certain conventional norms. The candidate is supervised and helped by a Guide in adopting the correct methodology, as well as in using the appropriate material to be typed as a thesis. When it is sent for adjudication at the end of the study period (usually 3years), two examiners are chosen from outside the university where the candidate does research. The supervisor also is one of the examiners.

Beginning a thesis:

You begin a PhD thesis with the following:

  • The title page – includes the name of the candidate, the name of the university and the year of submitting the dissertation. These facts are given in the pattern of an inverted pyramid.
  • There are certificates signed by the candidate and the supervisor to state that only original unpublished work is present.
  • There are one or two pages of acknowledgement in which the candidate expresses his gratitude to all those who have helped him in the research and also to the publishers of the references he has used.
  • The page of contents would give the chapter titles and the corresponding page. The number of pages of a thesis is generally stipulated by the university. Rules regarding page formatting are also to be observed implicitly. A specific margin is left on all sides pages of the thesis.
  • At the end of the thesis a bibliographical list is added. If necessary there may be appendixes added.

Inclusion of quotes in the thesis:

One of the foremost principles of writing a doctoral thesis is to avoid any semblance of plagiarism. At the same time, stringing of a series of quotations, even with the necessary references, would not be right. In fact, doing this is essay writing would not be considered right too.

In recent times there is a perceptible dip in the quality of PhD dissertations. The downtrend may not be entirely because of the candidate themselves. There are instances of examiners being a bit careless and even callous. Mediatory efforts are required to set things right, so that the final product is perfect. In any case, it is necessary for the student to ensure that recommendations and suggestions made by the examiners are incorporated.

Summing up:

A PhD thesis sums up the research findings in the concluding chapter. It also is expected to indicate information available elsewhere on the subject of research. The researcher needs to suggest further research by pointing out the factors still to be studied.