Hot answers tagged

94

I suggest that you remember that you are evaluating the work, not its author, or the supervisor, or the university. Give it an honest evaluation, based only on what you see before you. If it doesn't measure up to your standards, then say so. Say why. Make suggestions if you have the time. But honesty is required. One of the reasons, actually, for ...


72

It is possible to get a PhD without writing any papers; the formal requirement is of writing a thesis, and many people do just that. So I think the formulation of your question is a bit misleading. But cutting to what I think is the actual intent behind your question rather than the specific choice of words, the answer is almost certainly that you cannot get ...


66

Whether it is allowed depends on the specific regulations of your university, but your advisor proofreading your thesis and offering suggestions is quite common. I would consider not having a proofreading round to be lazy on the part of the advisor. Keep in mind that the examiner can still have the initial reading influence the grade. Somebody who submits a ...


40

The obligatory journal publication of scientific work done for a degree, no matter what (think: "publish or perish") is a fashion that spilled over from the US to Europe and especially Germany around the late '80s-'90s. Before that, people bothered only publishing work that they felt was outstanding, and sometimes not even that. I am aware of work ...


35

You can only publish email correspondence in your thesis if all people involved in the email communication agree. Anything else is highly unprofessional and also unethical. On the other hand, if you have clearly demonstrated that the manuscript had an error, there is no need to add those email. You could write that this has been confirmed by the author and ...


33

External examiner = independent, disinterested, and candid expert Universities engage external examiners in order to add the legitimacy of disinterested expert approval. Since the independence of the external examiner is a vital criterion, it is essential that the university not be allowed to dictate the terms on which you, as this disinterested expert, ...


28

Let me start with a quote from Good scientific practice for scientific qualification reports and theses in physics (German version). These are recommendations are published by the conference of German physics departments, whose prime purpose is to coordinate teaching and thesis standards. This document is specific to physics (and makes this point itself) but ...


28

Yes, it is possible. The institution doesn't matter. The advisor doesn't matter. What matters is the content (and correctness) of the paper, along with a judgement about its "novelty". Those judgements will be made by reviewers and editors, independent of where the paper originates. Good writing helps, of course.


22

The naive answer is yes. All you have to do is convince a panel that what you did warrants a PhD. This will be different for each school/department/panel/student. Typically this requires contributing something novel to the field. Something novel does not have to be a research paper. A couple examples: A colleague wrote a review where he extracted related ...


19

First, in the olden times there was much less pressure to publish, and many researchers would publish only a handful of papers in their whole life, and they would publish only very complete works. I personally know researchers, considered anyway leading researchers in their field, who would publish just once every few years and who retired with probably less ...


17

The question is very difficult. One reason developing countries are developing because there are issues in the culture of learning, teaching and research which hold them back, amongst other authority-based or rote-based learning, focusing on unproductive criteria etc. Now, there are amazing talents in these countries and some very interesting curricula (...


11

There are good answers pointing out things were different in the '80s and '90s. Another thing to keep in mind is the differences between disciplines. There are disciplines, e.g. (some parts of) history in Germany, where journals don't have the standing it has in other disciplines. Slightly exaggerated (but only slightly) the attitude is that the only really ...


8

Somewhere in the information pack that the university sent you, there should be an explicit statement of what the requirements for award of a PhD at that university are. At some universities, the only requirement is the classic "substantial original contribution to knowledge". Other universities ask for a substantial original contribution to ...


8

Surprisingly not yet mentioned in the comments or in the 4 answers thus far is that for some people, and this is mostly for the 1970s to early 1980s, there was also the problem of typesetting journal papers for submission if you were no longer in an environment with department secretaries to type your work (because writing papers is not "mission central&...


8

I'll assume you already have language that indicates your support. Don't give up on that. But, ask him for two things. First, that he only asks for feedback once a week (or whatever you are comfortable with) and add a report on changes and why they were made. Second, ask him to specify in the report things he is unsure about and to detail why he is unsure. ...


7

Being honest is not incompatible with adjusting for context. Give your assessment honestly, but not just in absolute terms — also state how you judge the thesis relative to the expected standards of the institution. Of course, you will probably have to ask/research a bit to find out those standards. Perhaps ask your contacts to send previous examples of ...


7

I can think of a few reasons specific to the period you describe: If these theses were written in German, they would likely have had to have been translated into English for publication. These days it is more common that theses are written in English across Europe, lowering the effort required to adapt the work into a publication. Before the internet, there ...


6

There is a generally agreement and understanding across academia that theses must contain the student's own work. However, when it comes to details, the customs vary dramatically. In some places BSc students are expected to come up with their own project proposals and are free to execute them as they will under a gentle advisory guidance of their supervisor. ...


6

You do not "need" to contact them. The fact that your work was on a university website does not mean that anyone has seen it. Unless there are subtler clues that they just copied your work, you should treat that work as completely independent of yours. If you email them, do not express any doubts about their honesty, etc. This would in-any-case ...


6

If you have the time, you could consider giving him the full truth. Not only what parts are poor, but also why they are poor and more importantly, what would have been a better way of doing it. You can't give him the full tutelage of a supervisor, but since he apparently has a poor supervisor now, some good advice might help this student a lot.


5

Well, talking about the period the OP mentions (70s-90s) the 'publish or perish' idea wasn't really a thing. So then chances of publication would depend very much on if the supervisor of the graduated doctoral student had much interest in said students work. Coupled with the fact that staying in touch, co writing drafts and such was harder pre internet. Both ...


5

Information Systems professor here. I chair a dissertation every year or two. Short answer is no. (1) You need to prove that you can independently execute the scientific method and complete a sufficiently complex research project that extends the body of knowledge in your area. (2) I wouldn't be doing you any favors if I let you leave the program without a ...


5

Most of the other answers focus on the theses written prior to 1990 not being published in journals. However, even nowadays theses are sometimes not published in journals for a variety of reasons – including mine from 2017. This will, depend on the field, obviously; but my thesis was written in organic chemistry which is traditionally a field where journals ...


5

I can't think of any reason in general that you should not do this if it makes sense in the context of the paper. If you can express the underlying concept better with a figure then it is better than to use words. But an advisor might disagree, in the context of this paper. And an editor or reviewer of the paper might disagree. In that case, change it. But ...


4

The format and nature of the oral examination vary enormously by country. RoboKaren's description of an oral examination would be very unusual in the UK (where it is customary for the supervisor to not be present, except maybe at the very end when the examiners deliver their verdict). To answer your question: you should be candid about the weaknesses in your ...


4

Survey papers are useful and will give you citations if well written. But for a PhD, you need to add to the existing body of knowledge, not merely reorganize it. Unless it is a massive contribution, such as a reformulation or neater repackaging of existing knowledge (for extreme examples, consider parts of Euclid, Cartan, Wielandt, the latter of which merely ...


4

In some cases you can also write: The mistake described above has been confirmed [15] by the authors of [12]. where the extra citation may read something like: [15] Shot, Big and Fry, Small. Personal communication, September 9th, 2020.


4

A mathematical argument speaks for itself and its validity does not hinge on the blessing or confirmation of a single individual, even if the argument corrects a mistake that individual has made previously. So I think your premise that you need to include anything about the error being confirmed by the original author as some kind of “supporting evidence” is ...


4

I e-mailed her 4-5 times in February-March and got no reply. If she did not reply to your e-mails or otherwise advise you when she was technically your advisor, why would she reply to them now that you have graduated? I think she has effectively ended your relationship. I do not know whether she had good reason for this or if she is just lazy, but either ...


4

This is a peculiar situation. Your supervisor did not honor your agreement, but at this point she has nothing to gain from continuing to be involved with your thesis, and being angry about that isn't going to help you in any way. Realistically, do not expect any more input from her, and move on. Getting someone else to look at your thesis could be useful, ...


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