Reidar Conradi, 14 March 2007:
Hints for structuring the main part of a PhD "article" thesis
Since we have many in "thesis writing phase" now,
the below hints may be useful for you. .-)
Note: the below page estimates are for the main part of an "article
thesis" of ca. 35 pages (chs. 1-7) + appendices that include
5-8 papers (verbatim) - not a "monograph" of over 200 pages.
A monograph will have to increase Chs. 2-5 considerably.
Main part, with ca. 35 pages:
- Front page: title, authors, NTNU 20xx:xx (local report series),
ISBN 82-471-xxxx-x (printed),
ISBN 82-471-xxxx-x (electronic), ISSN 1503-8181, NTNU logo, ...
- Abstract (1 p. only!): 10-15 lines on motivation, 10-15 lines on
approach, 3-5 research questions (named RQ1, . ..), 3-5 main
contributions (named C1, ...) being briefly coupled to the RQi.
Start with the abstract ASAP!
- Preface (1 p.): Thesis context, thanks to advisors and friends etc.
- Table of content etc.
- Introduction (3-5 p.):
Motivation. Context, e.g. R&D project. Problem
definition. Research questions. Summary of main results/contributions
(hint: couple RQi/Cj and papers - see e.g.
Introduction chapter in Parastoo Mohagheghi's PhD thesis at IDI
from 2004, Fig. 1-1 on page 4.
Complete publication list (name papers P1, P2, ...)
with kernel subset and with included abstracts for this subset.
Clarify possible contributions from co-authors.
Outline of rest of thesis.
For article thesis: include kernel publications in the
- State-of-the-art/practice (6-8 p.): Literature study. Conclude by
- Initial theory (2-4 p. - can be dropped): Stated hypotheses /
contributions to be tested here.
I.e., not done if your study is exploratory.
- Research plan (5-6 p.): Challenges from ch. 2 coupled to thesis
context/project/focus. Research questions/possible hypotheses
vs. Empirical studies. Chosen research method(s). Overall workplan
with coupling to papers.
- Results (6-8 p.) from testing/validating/exploring the
theory/res.questions by empirical studies.
- Evaluation and discussion of results (3-4 p.):
Assess results. Identify your contributions.
Possible theory building (cause-effect).
Compare to other work.
Suggestions for improvements.
Discuss construct-, internal-, external- and conclusion-validity.
- Conclusion and further work (1-2 p.):
Be short; nail down the essence.
Reidar Conradi: Some hints for paper writing and searching, with
- References to chs. 1-7 and possibly bibliography.
Start early with all this, and be accurate and complete for each
reference from the start.
- Technical stuff: software, questionnaires etc. - if needed.
- For article thesis:
verbatim enclosure of kernel papers.
Try to reformat these in uniform style; otherwise
concatenate existing .pdf files with through-going pagination.
Carl-Fredrik Sørensen: Hint for skriving av
tekniske rapporter, 30 slides (in Norwegian, from 2002, .ppt - 107 KB).
- Good luck!, reidar
Last modified: Tue Mar 27 17:34:37 MEST 2007