|Publisher version (open access)||49 KB||Adobe Acrobat PDF||View/Open
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/922689
- What qualities are rare in examiners reports?
- For research students in Australia and other nations the PhD thesis is the pinnacle of higher degree endeavour. Unlike most other nations, however, the written report on the thesis is the only assessment that most Australian candidates are likely to receive. In the USA coursework provides a substantial component of assessment, while in the UK the viva voce is required. Although doctoral coursework is gaining ground in Australia, thesis examination remains the dominant form of assessment. Moreover the likelihood of moving to a viva is slim, especially as serious concerns about the credibility of the oral examination are emerging. In Australia research student enrolments numbered 37,175 in 1999 and total completions for the previous year was 5,109. This means that between 10,000 and 15,000 examiners reports are required annually. Despite the importance, scope and intensity of the process the topic of thesis examination has rarely attracted research interest. However, in a climate of quality assurance and high research competitiveness this already changing, as evident in the increasing number of studies emerging from the UK. The examiners' written reports on research theses are idiosyncratic and individualistic documents, despite efforts to standardise or structure them. All manner of reasons can be advanced for the characteristics of the written report ranging from the unusual nature of the assessment task itself, through to the lack of funds devoted to its execution. However, of particular interest in regard to exploring the quality of both academic outcomes and examination process is what examiners regard as important enough to include in the report, how they communicate this information and what both the content and the sub-text reveals about their expectations. This paper concentrates on what topics and qualities of comment are unusual or relatively sparse in examiners' reports on PhD theses. The findings are based on the core content analysis of 303 examiners reports on 101 candidates at one NSW university with a strong research profile.
- International Education Research Conference (AARE 2001). AARE 2001 Conference Papers (Freemantle, W.A. 2 - 6 December, 2001)
- Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
doctoral education research;
- Resource Type
- conference paper