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Writing the PhD Thesis

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					          Producing a Ph.D. Thesis

                    Patricia de Winter
                  King’s College London




23rd March 2005        Producing a Ph.D thesis   4
                  The majority of…
• Arts/Humanities theses are written chapter
  by chapter throughout the PhD programme

• Scientific theses are written once the data
  have been collected at the end of the PhD
  programme


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         At least four months before
                submission…
• Obtain a PhD examination entry pack from BBK registry
• Complete the following and return to the Registry:
      examination entry form (including approved title)
      two address labels (home or parents’ address)
      description of thesis (300 words) - NOT abstract
• Your supervisor must nominate two examiners, one
  internal and one external


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                   What happens next?
• Registry forwards documents to Senate House

• You should receive acknowledgement that Senate
  House has received your forms (but this doesn’t always
  happen) - go to Room 1.62 if necessary

• Senate House examinations office sends the
  nomination of examiners and the description of thesis
  to the Subject Area Board for approval of examiners
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• Information on the PhD degree and thesis can be
  obtained in pdf format at:

http://www.lon.ac.uk/Services/Academic/phd/regulations/regs.as
   p


- Instructions and notes on submission and format of
  thesis
- University of London Regulations for the degrees of
  Ph.D and M.Phil
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     The University states that the
         Ph.D. thesis must…
• …be the candidate’s own account of their
  research
• …be original (discovery of new facts and/or
  demonstration of independent critical power)
• …be an integrated whole and present a
  coherent argument (a series of papers is not
  acceptable but published papers may be
  adapted)
• …give a critical assessment of the literature
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• …describe the method of research (reproducible)
• …discuss results and demonstrate how they
  advance the subject
• …be written in English
• …include a full bibliography and references
• …demonstrate relevant research skills
• …be of publishable quality



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                  Word limit
• 100,000 words except for certain subject
  areas where the limit is lower

• See subject list in exam entry pack or
  check with your supervisor or research
  degrees co-ordinator for the limit for your
  subject


23rd March 2005    Producing a Ph.D thesis      11
The University does NOT stipulate…

 …the font type or size to use
  (best to use a serifed font for body text and a
  plain font for figures such as graphs)

 …specific chapter or thesis formats
   (but best to use scientific format for
  scientific theses)

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    The University stipulates that:
…theses must be typed or printed on good
 quality A4 paper and on one side only
…line spacing should be double or one-and-
 half
…the binding edge margin must be at least
 40 mm and other margins at least 20 mm
…photographs etc. must be permanently
 mounted and bound in with the theses
23rd March 2005   Producing a Ph.D thesis    13
…the use of sellotape or similar is prohibited
…errors must be corrected before submission
…all pages must be numbered, including any
 bound in material
…the thesis must include a title page, an
 abstract, a table of contents and a list of
 tables and figures
…collaborative work must acknowledged and
 certified by supervisor

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        Hints on producing a thesis
• It is advisable to have a general
  introduction as the first chapter (review the
  literature here) and a general discussion as
  the last (to pull together the conclusions
  from previous chapters)
• Save each chapter as a separate file and
  back up all work (save to the BBK server if
  possible as this is backed up daily)
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• Figures and tables should preferably not be
  inserted into text - put them on individual
  pages

• Save figures and tables as separate files and
  either print separately or insert into chapter
  only when you are about to print

• Inserting figures into (borderless) text boxes
  anchors them on a page and makes
  positioning them easier (MS Word)

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• Use reference management software (e.g.
  Endnote, Reference Manager) to insert citations
  and create a bibliography/reference list BUT
  manually check all your references in the
  completed thesis (MS Word).




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                  Thesis Contents
• Title page (numbered page 1)
Officially approved thesis title
Candidate’s full name
Name of College or Institute
Degree for which thesis is submitted and
  month/year of submission

   It is assumed that submission of the thesis
   implies it is entirely your own work and not
   plagiarised.
23rd March 2005      Producing a Ph.D thesis      18
                                                               1

                  Intracellular Signalling and Phagocytosis
                  by Haemocytes of Manduca sexta Larvae




                  Maria Patricia de Winter


                  School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
                  Birkbeck, University of London




                  Submitted for the degree of Doctor of
                  Philosophy of the University of London
                  November, 2004

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                  Abstract of Thesis
• Follows the title page
• 300 words maximum
• Summarises context, methods, results and
  conclusions contained in the thesis
• A duplicate Abstract must be submitted to
  Senate House with the thesis
• Published in ASLIB Index of Theses
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                  Acknowledgements
• Optional, but most people include them and
  acknowledge those who supported and
  helped them throughout their Ph.D.
• If included keep acknowledgements to one
  side of A4



23rd March 2005       Producing a Ph.D thesis   21
                  Table of Contents
• Follows Abstract, or Acknowledgements where
  included
• Must include all headings and subheadings and
  their page numbers
• Does not include Figures or Tables
• MS word can create a TOC for you if you merge
  all your chapters into one document or you can
  generate your own (make a two-column table
  without borders)

23rd March 2005       Producing a Ph.D thesis      22
                  Chapters
• Each chapter must be numbered sequentially
• Usually theses contain an Introduction, three or
  four research/experimental chapters and a
  general discussion
• In Biology theses each experimental chapter
  contains its own specific intro, methods, results,
  discussion and conclusions
• Give completed draft chapters to your
  supervisor for comments
23rd March 2005   Producing a Ph.D thesis     23
                  References
• Use a reference system that is recognised
  by your discipline.
• Examiners are fond of checking for missing
  references so check reference list manually
  against references in the main text (this is
  really boring and takes hours)


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                  Appendices
• Include extra material that does not need
  to be in the body of the thesis

• Copies of publications that arose from the
  thesis can be placed here



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                  Production time

• Allow at least a WEEK to assemble, check,
  print and correct last-minute errors that you
  have missed




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                  Printing
• Allow at least TWO days just to print and
  check your thesis - it really does take this
  long
• Print a draft copy first and check for errors
  before printing final copies - get a friend or
  partner to proof-read the thesis to check for
  typos
• Buy lots of extra print cartridges and good
  quality (90 gsm) paper in advance
23rd March 2005   Producing a Ph.D thesis      27
• For a 300 page thesis buy 4 reams of paper
  (to allow for printing errors). Search the
  internet for good deals - you should be able
  to get this for about £16 + P&P
• If you have photos to print check out
  www.inkclub.com for glossy paper - 20 sheets
  cost about £4 + P&P
• www.inkcycle.co.uk sell very cheap
  cartridges by mail order (from about £3 for a
  black inkjet cartridge

23rd March 2005   Producing a Ph.D thesis     28
• Print one chapter at a time - don’t try to merge the
  thesis into one document and print it as a whole
• Check each thesis copy to ensure that all the
  pages are numbered sequentially
• Senate House initially requires two copies, either
  two soft-bound or one soft and one hard-bound
• Make an extra copy for yourself, which you
  should take with you to the viva
• Don’t make any extra copies at this stage - there
  are bound to be corrections to make
• If you submit two soft-bound copies, you will have
  to submit a hard-bound copy after the viva.

23rd March 2005     Producing a Ph.D thesis         29
                   Binding
• The spine of the thesis should have the degree,
  your initials and surname and the year of the
  award in gold lettering
• University of London theses are bound in
  medium blue cloth
• Hard bound copies currently cost £25 each
  and soft bound copies cost £16 each at The
  Printing Centre in Store Street (two day service)


23rd March 2005    Producing a Ph.D thesis        30
                  Submitting the Thesis
• Take two copies of the thesis together with
  the completed Abstract of Thesis form to
  the PhD Examinations Office in Senate
  House
• The title of the thesis must correspond
  EXACTLY to the title on the exam entry
  form previously submitted

23rd March 2005         Producing a Ph.D thesis   31
• Although you should make every effort to
  correct mistakes prior to submission, you
  will inevitably find a few after you’ve
  submitted

• You’ll even find them in the corrected
  version submitted after your viva - I still do!



23rd March 2005    Producing a Ph.D thesis          32

				
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