Tuesday, 22 February 2011

It's a PhD, not a Nobel Prize

In reading a recent post about getting some perspective on submission on the thesis whisperer blog, today I came across this wonderful article by Gerry Mullins and Margaret Kiley called 'It's a PhD, not a Nobel Prize'. The 2002 article is based on semi-structured interviews with 30 experienced Australian thesis examiners. The study considered a variety of dimensions in the examination of a thesis, including why examiners thought they were invited to assess theses, how long they spent on the task, what they considered an outstanding thesis to be and the extent to which they considered the broader context of PhD candidature beyond the thesis.

The two pieces of advice I found most resonant from the research are that a) most examiners want to pass students; and b) most examiners think of the thesis as a stepping stone rather than a world changing masterpiece. With this advice on board, perhaps I can pull this beast out of the woods without too much drama. I suppose now I should go and work on my thesis rather than construct metaphors around it.

This isn't my thesis, it's just a course reader I put together recently with a smiley face on the front.

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