Higher Degrees by Research Thesis Presentation - Guidelines - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Higher Degrees by Research Thesis Presentation - Guidelines

Definitions:

Article: A paper that has been published. This usually refers to work published in professional publications, edited journals and peer-reviewed scholarly or scientific journals.

Manuscript: A written paper pre-publication. Examples of manuscripts include, but are not limited to: drafts, writing in progress, work submitted to a publisher that is under review or not yet published, elements of your thesis that you are crafting for submission to a journal.

Introduction

These Guidelines apply to theses prepared for Higher Degrees by Research (HDR). HDR candidates at the University of the Sunshine Coast may structure their thesis either in a:

  • Traditional thesis; or
  • Thesis with manuscripts(s); or
  • Creative Artefact and Exegesis

These guidelines stipulate requirements for thesis presentation however where applicable, thesis structure should be adjusted to ensure conformity to discipline expectations. Regardless of the discipline area, it is required that the thesis be presented in scholarly English and be free from typographical and grammatical errors.

If there is a legitimate case for a thesis or exegesis to exceed the below word limits, special representation should be made to the Dean, Graduate Research, for prior written approval to submit such a thesis or exegesis.

Traditional format

Word length (excludes appendices and footnotes)

  • PhD: ~80,000
  • Masters: ~40,000

Format (PhD and Masters)

Typically, the following type of approach should be adopted for the format of the thesis:

  • International Standard Paper Size A4 (297 x 210mm) should be used;
  • The typing should be 1.5 spaced, presented in a clear and legible font and would normally be expected to be double-sided;
  • Left and right margins should be no less than 30mm and page numbers should appear inside the margins;
  • Pages should be numbered consecutively and clearly;
  • Folding diagrams or charts should be arranged so as to open to the top and right;
  • Before producing final copies of a thesis for submission, the candidate should ensure that all the spelling, grammar, punctuation and choice of language are of a higher degree standard and the bibliography is complete and exact. It is recommended that candidates have their theses proof-read before producing final copies.

Structure

All theses should incorporate, in the following order:

Title page: A title page, giving the name of the thesis in full, the full name and academic qualifications of the candidate, the full details of the degree for which the work is submitted, the name of the School associated with the work, the name and address of the University associated with the work, and the date of submission.

Abstract: A one to two page abstract of the work. This abstract or summary may be used for citation purposes, and should clearly outline the essence of the submitted work.

Declaration of Originality: A declaration of originality, attesting that the work does not contain material which has been previously published or written by any person other than the candidate except where due and proper reference has been given in the text. The declaration should be signed and dated by the candidate.

In the case of work that is based upon joint research or publications, the statement should include a statement disclosing the relative contributions of the respective authors, and, where practical, be counter-signed by all contributors.

Acknowledgements: An acknowledgements page, in which due scholarly acknowledgements are made by the candidate to persons or organisations that have materially assisted with the work. Due care must be exercised here to preserve the anonymity of persons or organisations who have been protected by research ethics conditions.

Table of contents: A table of contents, listing page references to the major sections and subsections of the text. Usually, pages that precede the main text are numbered using small Roman numerals, and the main text is numbered using Arabic numerals.

List of tables, illustrations and figures: A list of tables, a list of illustrations, and a list of figures.

Preface: A general preface to the work is optional. The words of the Preface will count towards the word total. The Preface can be used to make a researcher’s statement and/or contextualise the work in a condensed way.

Body of Thesis: An example of a traditional thesis format could include chapters such as:

  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Methodology and Methods
  • Research Data Analysis and Findings
  • Discussion and Conclusion

References: A reference list, containing full details of all works referred to in the text, using a standard referencing system must be included. There are many accepted referencing systems, but it is usual that a discipline will have a preferred system. The supervisor and student should ensure that the referencing system is followed precisely and accurately.

In the case of cross-disciplinary studies that might imply different referencing systems, the supervisor and student should decide upon one of these systems, and not mix referencing conventions.

Bibliography: In some theses, a bibliography will be expected, that lists all works that have contributed to the development of the scholarly ideas behind the thesis. In certain specialist areas, it will also be usual to distinguish between primary sources and secondary sources, and it is recommended that a student seek out recent examples of theses published in the area and use these as a model.

Appendices: Any appendices referred to in the text.

Manuscript format

Word length (excludes appendices and footnotes)

  • PhD: ~80,000
  • Masters: ~40,000

Format (PhD and Masters)

Typically, the following type of approach should be adopted for the format of the thesis:

  • International Standard Paper Size A4 (297 x 210mm) should be used;
  • The typing should be 1.5 spaced, presented in a clear and legible font and would normally be expected to be double-sided;
  • Left and right margins should be no less than 30mm and page numbers should appear inside the margins;
  • Pages should be numbered consecutively and clearly;
  • Folding diagrams or charts should be arranged so as to open to the top and right;
  • Before producing final copies of a thesis for submission, the candidate should ensure that all the spelling, grammar, punctuation and choice of language are of a higher degree standard and the bibliography is complete and exact. It is recommended that candidates have their theses proof-read before producing final copies.

Manuscripts and Articles

Research articles may be at any stage of preparation prior to publication (i.e. Manuscripts) or following acceptance for publication (i.e. Articles). The status of each Manuscript or Article should be made clear to the reader. Research contributing to scholarly work that is included in the thesis must have been conducted during candidature. Works published prior to candidature cannot be included in the thesis.

  • Candidates may be either a sole or co-author.
  • In cases of co-authorship, the candidate must have a general declaration on all papers that they have contributed 50% or more.
  • The minimum number of manuscripts to be included in a thesis is dictated by discipline expectations.
  • For scholarly works that are published, the accepted author manuscript must be included in the thesis, rather than a journal formatted version.
  • The presence of peer-reviewed published works within the thesis does not pre-empt the assessment of the examiners regarding the quality of the thesis nor does it preclude amendments to the thesis based on examiners recommendations.

Structure

All theses should incorporate, in the following order:

Title page: A title page, giving the name of the thesis in full, the full name and academic qualifications of the candidate, the full details of the degree for which the work is submitted, the name of the Faculty and School associated with the work, the name and address of the University associated with the work, and the date of submission.

Abstract: A one to two page abstract of the work. This abstract or summary may be used for citation purposes, and should clearly outline the essence of the submitted work.

Declaration of Originality: A declaration of originality, attesting that the work does not contain material which has been previously published or written by any person other than the candidate except where due and proper reference has been given in the text. The declaration should be signed and dated by the candidate.

In the case of work that is based upon joint research or publications, the statement should include a statement disclosing the relative contributions of the respective authors, and, where practical, be counter-signed by all contributors.

Acknowledgements: An acknowledgements page, in which due scholarly acknowledgements are made by the candidate to persons or organisations that have materially assisted with the work. Due care must be exercised here to preserve the anonymity of persons or organisations who have been protected by research ethics conditions.

Table of contents: A table of contents, listing page references to the major sections and subsections of the text. Usually, pages that precede the main text are numbered using small Roman numerals, and the main text is numbered using Arabic numerals.

List of tables, illustrations and figures: A list of tables, a list of illustrations, and a list of figures. List of original publications. To facilitate referencing to the published research papers and to items within published papers, accurate page numbers should be provided for all aspects of the thesis.

Preface (optional): A general preface to the work is optional. The words of the Preface will count towards the word total. The Preface can be used to make a researcher’s statement and/or contextualise the work in a condensed way.

Body of Thesis: A thesis written in manuscript format will consist of a series of related research articles bound into the one volume, accompanied by an introduction and a conclusion chapter. The thesis may be organised as the candidate deems most logical, but at a minimum must comprise:

  • An independent introduction that contextualises the research project in relation to the present state of the knowledge in the field.
  • Thesis chapters in a logical and cogent sequence leading to an argument that supports the main findings of the thesis.
  • An independent and original discussion that integrates the significant findings of the thesis.

References: A reference list, containing full details of all works referred to in the text, using a standard referencing system must be included. There are many accepted referencing systems, but it is usual that a discipline will have a preferred system. The supervisor and student should ensure that the referencing system is followed precisely and accurately.

In the case of cross-disciplinary studies that might imply different referencing systems, the supervisor and student should decide upon one of these systems, and not mix referencing conventions.

Bibliography: In some theses, a bibliography will be expected, that lists all works that have contributed to the development of the scholarly ideas behind the thesis. In certain specialist areas, it will also be usual to distinguish between primary sources and secondary sources, and it is recommended that a student seek out recent examples of theses published in the area and use these as a model.

Appendices: Any appendices referred to in the text.

 

Creative Artefact and Exegesis format

The Creative Artefact is an original product designed, created or constructed by a candidate during candidature derived from one or more of the creative arts including graphical and new media techniques. The Creative Artefact is to be accompanied by an exegesis, which is a scholarly, critical commentary on the original creative work in dialogue with, and informing that original work or collection of works, resulting from research undertaken and produced during candidature. The exegesis also includes explicit reference to the research methodologies employed in the creation of the original creative artefact(s).

The indicative length for the exegesis is 30,000 to 40,000 words for a doctorate and 15,000-20,000 for a masters degree. The Principal Supervisor is responsible for providing guidance to candidates on the appropriate structure for their exegesis. There is no recommended word length for the creative component.

 

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