by Paul Trowler
This short book is designed to be as helpful as possible for anyone who wants to create a good structure for their doctoral thesis; one in which they can be confident that they have covered all the bases.
It is not designed to create a template for thesis structure to be followed slavishly, rather it offers suggestions and advice as well as indications of where some options are low risk and others high risk when it comes to examination of the thesis.
The book is concise, while still being comprehensive and useful, at around 12,000 words (about 40 printed pages), recognising that people appreciate concision. It gives guidance on the contents of thesis chapters and subsections of those chapters, indicating what needs to be covered and how to prepare the content in the best way. An appendix points to sections in the book that are useful for those who are at the beginning of the doctoral journey and need to construct a research proposal.
There are sections in the book indicating the “deadly sins” that experienced examiners and supervisors frequently see in doctoral theses, and which can seriously damage their quality. But this is balanced this with a discussion of “valuable virtues”, giving a description of what qualities characterise a good thesis based on higher education research.
The book’s audience is doctoral students doing research into higher education, including those who are just starting out, as well as people further along in the process.
Each section covers one of the chapters that an Education doctorate which uses primary data normally contains, but also points out those areas where a non-standard approach might be better, and why (see Chapter 10).
For readability, terms which may need a fuller explanation are linked from the text to a glossary at the end of the book.
Those who want to read this book but don’t have a Kindle can download the necessary software free from Amazon and read it on a computer, tablet or smart phone.
Paul Trowler is uniquely qualified to write on this topic. He is Professor of Higher Education at Lancaster University, UK. His roles in the Department of Educational Research there include being Postgraduate Research Student Director and Director of Research for [email protected], the higher education research and evaluation centre.
Paul’s full CV is here:
and his Amazon profile page is here:
1. Starting at the End: Questions examiners ask (themselves)
2. Writing the Abstract
3. Structuring the Introductory Chapter
Writing Research Questions
Research Questions: The seven deadly sins
4. Contextualising the Study
Contextualisation: The seven deadly sins
5. Structuring the Literature Review Chapter
Literature Review: The seven deadly sins
6. Structuring the Method/ology Chapter
Method/ology: The seven deadly sins
7. Writing the Data Presentation and Data Analysis Chapters
Data Presentation and Analysis: The seven deadly sins
8. Structuring the Conclusions Chapter
Concluding: The seven deadly sins
9. Sequencing the Writing
10. Non-Conventional Thesis Structures
11. Successful Completion: Some pointers
12. Seven Valuable Virtues for Doctoral Success
13. Useful Resources for Thesis Writing
15. Appendix: Ending at the Start: Writing a doctoral project proposal
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