Doing PhD? This is a MUST READ!

Tips for postgraduate students:😎

“How to write your thesis so that you can convince the examiners to give you a PASS?”

Let me ask you one important question assuming you’re doing a PhD study.

“What is the purpose of you doing your PhD study?” 😕
———-
To discover new knowledge which will help humanity

To formulate a formula which will match the one invented by Einstein (remember E=mc2)

To qualify for the Nobel prize in Weird Science (Is there such a category? I’m not sure)

To win the best PhD student award etc.
———-

Very noble intent indeed. Good for you.

But, I always tell my PhD student and those PG students I bumped into..that the purpose of doing a PhD is..

“To get a PhD”😇

It is as simple as that. Nothing more or less. 😁

Because of this simple purpose of research life, you need to know what are needed to pass your PhD study.

i) Need to have a good research problem

ii) Need to do a solid research work

iii) Need to write a convincing research thesis (and submit it)

iv) Need to pass the Viva Voce

v) Do the correction and submit the final hard bound copies.

vi) Voila! You’re free…free at last💥

———

What is a good PhD Thesis?

i. Good command & use of English Language*!

* – I’ve assumed English Language is the mode of communication in your University. In case the language is Latin, Greek or French, I’m sorry. Please change accordingly.😁

ii. Must have a logical and cohesive structure

iii. “Easy*” to read and not entangle with inconsistent terminologies.

* – there is no thesis that is easy to read for those outside the field. But, if it is very difficult to read for those within the field, you’re in trouble waters.

iv. Argue logically and convincingly on the proposed method

v. Contain sufficient quantitative and qualitative data to show validity of proposed method

vi. Must have element of benchmarking

vii. Have shown solid theoretical, design and implementation analyses.

viii. Can coherently and consistently argue your novelty claims.

—————

A standard PhD thesis should have a structure as follows:

Chap 1: INTRODUCTION

(Research Background, Problem statement, Objectives, Scope and thesis overview)

Chap 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

(Must show gap analysis which support the research problem and proposed method)

Chap 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

(Must show how you have “attacked” the research problem, theoretical foundation and design approaches & steps to investigate the viability of proposed method)

Chap 4: RESULTS & DISCUSSIONS

(These will prove that your research efforts are not in vain and you have solid proofs that your findings are real and should be accepted by the examiners. You also can show that some good publications have been produced as the results. Elements of benchmarking must be shown)

Chap 5: CONCLUSION & FUTURE WORK

(Must tally with the objectives and highlight the contributions to the body of knowledge)

These 5 chapters are the basic building blocks. If you write these well, you work will be accepted and increase the % for passing.

There are many guide and reference books on how to write a good thesis. Mine is the simple version. One which you should have in order to meet the minimum requirements.

—–
Additional notes (added on Fri, 110818):

There are other research thesis structures which are also accepted. Some thesis may look like a compilation of published papers. In Japan, one can be awarded the “Doctor of Science (D.Sc)” for such submission. As far as I know, it is not yet common practise in many Universities in Malaysia. Bottomline, write to make easy understanding of your work and not to dazzle readers with bombastic words.

——

Last point:

To produce a good thesis, one must write well.
To write well, one must write often.
To write often, one must have a solid purpose.

Good luck in your thesis writing ✍️.

p/s: pls share with others if they can benefit from the pointers. Tq 😇

Author: Prof. Mohd Rizal Arshad, USM

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