keeping your thesis reader/examiner on track

And what could be more important than keeping your thesis examiner / reader on track?
I was jointly supervising some students with David Boud last night and he mentioned the ‘no delayed gratification’ rule in thesis writing: be up front and clear from the start! No twists, hidden surprises!


I’m currently reading my fifth doctoral thesis for the year. I realized a while ago that I’ve now examined at least fifty doctorates. I guess that’s a lot. I recently decided to go back to my examination reports to see if there was any common pattern in my responses – and there was.

The most common thing I asked of doctoral researchers was to attend to the really simple signposts that help keep the examiner/reader on track.

The reason it is important to help the examiner through the thesis is in part because we often don’t read the text in one sitting. I generally read two or three chapters at one go and then have to wait to find another block of time, often much later. I’m prone to taking a thesis on trains and, given that I live in the middle of the country and this means two hours…

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