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Assessing the PhD: a constructive view of criteria

Pam Denicolo (Reader and Faculty (FESS) Director of Postgraduate Research at the Institute of Education, University of Reading, Reading, UK)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 1 June 2003



Research and informed debate reveals that institutional practices in relation to research degree examining vary considerably across the sector. Within a context of accountability and quality assurance/total quality management, the range and specificity of criteria that are used to judge doctoral work is of particular relevance. First, a review of the literature indicates that, although interest in and concern about the process is burgeoning, there is little empirical research published from which practitioners can draw guidance. The second part of the paper reviews that available research, drawing conclusions about issues that seem to pertain at a general level across disciplines and institutions. Lest the variation is an artefact of discipline difference, the third part of the paper focuses on a within discipline study. Criteria expected/predicted by supervisors are compared and contrasted with those anticipated and experienced by candidates and with those implemented and considered important by examiners. The results are disturbing.



Denicolo, P. (2003), "Assessing the PhD: a constructive view of criteria", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 84-91.




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