Scandinavian model for PhD theses
- My institutional colleagues and I have been pushing for a PhD thesis format
that we proclaim as the Scandinavian model. We thought we had succeeded,
but we have encountered strong resistance now that one of my PhDs has
submitted a thesis in this format. It looks like the rules will be changed
to prevent theses being presented in this format again. We need evidence to
convince the Luddites, so I am hoping people on this list can help provide
it. Please note that the opposition in no way reflects the quality of the
students thesis, which in my view is outstanding.
We call the model Scandinavian, but for me at any rate thats based on
limited experience of browsing Scandinavian journals in a library more than
10 years ago. (At that stage at least some PhDs in Scandinavia were being
published as supplements in Scandinavian journals.) I have no idea of what
currently passes as best practice for PhD thesis presentation in
Scandinavia, and I have little idea of the extent to which this model is
used elsewhere. I know that all of my colleagues here and overseas are 100%
in favor of it, but our doctoral studies boards seem to be made up of people
with more conservative ideas.
Be it Scandinavian or not, the kind of thesis format I regard as
self-evidently superior to anything else is the following:
an abstract of no more than 400 words;
an introductory preface, in which the student explains in a first-person
plain narrative style why they did what they did and what each chapter is
one or more literature reviews, each as a chapter with a focused title
that need reflect only part of the original research in the rest of the
thesis and each written as a manuscript for a journal;
a series of original-research chapters, each written as a manuscript in
the format of the journal to which it has been or is intended to be
submitted, and presented as the published PDFs, if these are available at
the time of submission of the thesis and if the journal gives its permission
for their inclusion verbatim and formatim (I just made up that word);
a concluding chapter in which the student reflects on all the findings of
the PhD in some coherent non-repetitive manner and which in some
circumstances could be written as another literature review or as a
plain-language report for a magazine;
a series of appendices representing other relevant creative output during
the course of the PhD (magazine articles, minor-author articles, website
material, conference abstracts, industry reports );
no list of cited references, because each section of the thesis contains
its reference list.
I put Scandinavian model PhD theses into Google and found a document
from the University of Limerick http://www2.ul.ie/pdf/547176012.doc that
summarizes the advantages. I did not see anything else relevant on the
first page of hits.
Please post comments to me or to the list. I will post a summary. (I
havent yet posted a summary of my enquiry about problems with
Excel-Powerpoint figures in the Office 2007 suite, because I am still
waiting for my IT people to resolve it. It looks like we will have to
revert to the 2003 version and hope that the next version of the Office
suite is usable.)
Will G Hopkins, PhD FACSM
Institute of Sport and Recreation Research
AUT University, Akoranga Drive
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 0627, New Zealand
Cell +64 21 804 736
Landline +64 9 921 9793
Fax +64 9 921 9960
Be creative: break rules.
- Hi Everyone,I am certainly moving toward the "Scandinavian model" for PhD thesis format for a few reasons. The first is that I have been fortunate to be the examiner of both the more traditional style of thesis and also what Will calls the “Scandinavian style” recently, and in my opinion the Scandinavian style wins out on a number of areas.
Its more concise, usually better planned and written. It creates less work overall for the supervisor and candidate because the format is in the journal style and ready for publication. It probably requires more effort for the candidate because each chapter needs to be very specific and concise.
The other reason is of course that here in New Zealand, as well as elsewhere, I presume, much of the government funding of universities is tied into research and therefore research output. The Scandinavian method gets the candidates research out into the journals much sooner, with less effort of the supervisor.
The one problem that this style of thesis preparation does have, is that if one of the final examiners of the thesis has a major problem with a part of the research which may have already been published, otherwise I would endorse this style and intend to use it with my students.
The one problem that this style of thesis preparation does have is that if one of the final examiners has a major problem with a part of the research which may have already been published, otherwise I would endorse this style and intend to use it with my students.
Mike Hamlin, PhDSenior Lecturer, Environment Society and Design DivisionP O BOX 84Lincoln UniversityLincoln 7647NEW ZEALANDPh: 00 64 (3) 325 3820