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Research degree examining: quality issues of principle and practice

Stuart Powell (Director of Research Degrees at the University of Hertfordshire, Research and Graduate School Office, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK)
Howard Green (Pro Vice Chancellor at Staffordshire University, Stoke‐on‐Trent, UK)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 1 June 2003



Raises questions about the research degree examination and in particular the apparent reluctance on the part of institutions and both regulatory and funding agencies to develop a common and transparent approach. Research degree examining is discussed as a quality issue in which the absence of norms adopted for taught programmes is questioned. What results is a confusing and muddled picture of assessment of the highest award of UK universities. The editorial reviews issues arising from candidates’ perceptions of the process of examination, including the viva, prior to the event, the choice of examiners and the approach adopted by the examiners. Examining the criteria employed in the examination and the approach taken, the paper highlights the enormous diversity of practice. The resulting discussion highlights the need for national guidelines and points to the lack of clear direction in the recent joint funding councils’ report.



Powell, S. and Green, H. (2003), "Research degree examining: quality issues of principle and practice", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 55-63.




Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

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