'It's a PhD, not a Nobel Prize': How experienced examiners assess research theses

  title={'It's a PhD, not a Nobel Prize': How experienced examiners assess research theses},
  author={Gerald Patrick Mullins and Margaret Kiley},
  journal={Studies in Higher Education},
  pages={369 - 386}
Research to date on the examination process for postgraduate research theses has focused largely on the deconstruction of examiners' reports. This article reports on a study of the processes that experienced examiners go through, and the judgements they make before writing their reports. A sample of 30 experienced examiners (defined as having examined the equivalent of at least five research theses over the last five years), from a range of disciplines in five universities was interviewed… Expand
Examining the examiners: How inexperienced examiners approach the assessment of research theses
Earlier research by Mullins and Kiley (2002) [Studies in higher education, 27(4), 369–386] reported on the processes that experienced examiners go through when they assess research theses. Since thatExpand
What does originality in research mean? A student's perspective.
A student's perspective of what it means to be original when undertaking a PhD in terms of originality in the doctoral thesis is provided to help guide and reassure current and potential PhD students. Expand
The concept of ‘originality’ in the Ph.D.: how is it interpreted by examiners?
This paper explores ways in which examiners, supervisors and others interpret the concept of ‘originality’ when evaluating candidates’ achievements in the final Ph.D. examination. It is based onExpand
Understanding the language of evaluation in examiners’ reports on doctoral theses
Despite their high stakes nature, examiners’ reports on doctoral theses are a relatively unexplored genre. Very little work has been done, further, on how evaluative language constructs meanings inExpand
Examiners’ reports on theses: Feedback or assessment?
Abstract Traditionally, examiners’ reports on theses at the doctoral and Master’s level consist of two components: firstly, summative assessment where a judgement is made about whether the thesis hasExpand
Examiner comment on the literature review in Ph.D. theses
The review of literature, so central to scholarly work and disciplined inquiry, is expected of the Ph.D. student, but how far along the road are they expected to travel? This article investigates theExpand
Using examiner reports to identify quality PhD theses
The focus in this paper is on theses identified by examiners at both ends of the quality scale – high quality theses and marginal theses, first across all discipline areas and subsequently for theses in Education. Expand
In postgraduate studies an examiner’s report serves as a quality index of the supervision process and its output – the dissertation or thesis. This article reports selected findings of a qualitativeExpand
An Investigation of PhD Examination Outcome in Australia Using a Mixed Method Approach.
This paper focuses on doctoral assessment as an area that has been relatively neglected in higher education research. It then describes and justifies a mixed-method approach to the study of PhDExpand
Examining PhD and research masters theses
The examination of research theses has only relatively recently attracted research interest that has focused on what examiners do and how consistent they are. The research questions in this studyExpand


Examining the Examiners: An Analysis of Examiners' Reports on Doctoral Theses.
ABSTRACT Although the process of examining doctoral theses is important both in terms of maintaining standards for this qualification and in terms of its impact on individual candidates, there haveExpand
The 'Academic' Qualities of Practice: What are the criteria for a practice-based PhD?
This article explores the nature of the criteria which would be appropriate for evaluating a report on practice development submitted for a doctoral thesis-a significant issue in the variousExpand
A Masters Degree Program: Structural Components and Examiners' Comments
ABSTRACT This study examined data relating to 125 part‐time masters candidates in education. In particular, the study considered various structural aspects of candidature and examiners’ concernsExpand
Examination of Research Theses
ABSTRACT The examination of postgraduate research theses is of vital importance to academic institutions as well as to students. This paper reviews examination procedures at one university,Expand
Research students' early experiences of the dissertation literature review
ABSTRACT The phenomenon of a dissertation literature review is explored from a ‘second-order˚s perspective. Written responses from 41 neophyte research scholars from various disciplines in anExpand
Examining the Doctorate: Institutional policy and the PhD examination process in Britain
In this article the authors attempt to shed some light on the PhD examination process, a process that is arguably far less transparent than those at other levels of British higher education. MoreExpand
The Doctoral Experience; Success and Failure in Graduate School
1.Cultures of the academy 2.Researching our peers 3.The nature of the quest 4. The appliance of science 5.Fieldwork 6.Modelling realities 7.Genealogies and generations 8.Supervisor's narrativesExpand
Qualitative Data Analysis: A Sourcebook of New Methods
Part One: Introduction Part Two: Focusing and Bounding the Collection of Data Part Three: Analysis During Data Collection Part Four: Within-Site Analysis Part Five: Cross-Site Analysis Part Six:Expand
The art and politics of interpretation.
Crafting Science
  • Crafting Science
  • 1997