Reaching the stage at which your research work is submitted for examination is a huge achievement. However, it is critical that you are conversant with the rules, regulations and supports that exist to guide and direct your efforts in this phase of your candidature, and to ensure that you progress through to successful graduation.
Once you have submitted your thesis it will be sent out to examiners for examination. The principles governing examination at CSU are:
(1) The examination process will be conducted to ensure that the candidate has satisfied stated CSU regulations for the award of the degree.
(2) Examiners of theses will be selected on the grounds of their academic and research competence in the area of the submitted thesis. They will be (or have recently been) active in both research and scholarship thus ensuring that their knowledge of the field is current.
(3) Examiners will be selected in such a way as to ensure that there is empathy with the research and theoretical frameworks used by the candidate.
(4) The examination process should be transparent, fair and objective to all involved.
(5) The examination process should be as prompt as possible with every effort made to ensure that the process does not normally exceed three months from the time of submission to the time the HDR candidate is informed of the outcome of the examination process.
(6) The examination process will be tracked by the university. HDR candidates, faculties and supervisors will be kept informed of progress at different stages of the process. The Research Office will be pro-active in keeping HDR candidates informed of progress.
(7) HDR candidates will be kept informed of any unforseen delays in the examination process and the reasons for them. The University will also inform HDR candidates of the action being taken to overcome any unforseen difficulties.
(8) All the reports and results of an examination process will be considered promptly by the relevant faculty and university committees.
(9) Procedures should exist for resolving conflicting outcomes from different examiners of a thesis and for compiling and relating to HDR candidates, a single statement of advice for any changes, additions or corrections required.
10) The candidate, supervisors and examiners should be informed promptly of the outcomes of an examination process and of the final decision of the Research Advisory Committee.
The HDR Information Guide will provide you with most of the information you will need to guide you through your HDR candidature, including links to sections of the CSU Academic Manual that contain the rules and regulations on thesis length, thesis presentation and thesis submission: Part H - Progress, Supervision & Assessment: Theses and Other Examinable Research Works and Part K - Higher Degree Programs.
The sections below outlines examination criteria, the examiners' reports and how to respond to examiners reports if needed.
A Notification of Readiness to Submit Thesis form is submitted two months before actual thesis submission.
The submission of this form starts the process of the Appointment of Examiners. Three examiners for PhD & Professional Doctorates and two examiners for a Masters. The names of the selected examiners, together with a CV for each will be submitted to the Director of Research by the Associate or Sub-Dean, and the examiners will be formally appointed before the thesis is submitted.
You submit your thesis in a soft bound form to the Research Office, four copies for PhD & Professional Doctorates and three copies for a Masters. Your thesis must be accompanied by a Certificate of Authorship. Please review the Thesis Presentation Regulations within Part H of the Academic Manual. Also see Presenting Your Thesis for information about Thesis & Dissertations Binding Services.
Your thesis is sent to the examiners by the Research Office with: a covering letter; a copy of the thesis; an examiners report form, a copy of the principles governing the conduct of the CSU examination process and other appropriate regulations. Examiners have a two month period in which to examine the thesis and the Research Office monitors the examination time frame and keeps all informed.
Examiners shall examine a thesis or portfolio principally in terms of the following criteria:
- the candidate's understanding of the field of study;
- the originality of the work embodied in the thesis or portfolio;
- the significance of the thesis or portfolio as a contribution to knowledge in the field of study;
- the adequacy of the research methodology (eg the construction of hypotheses, the analysis of data, the arguments advanced to support conclusions); and
- the worthiness of the thesis or portfolio for publication.
- A doctoral thesis must be an original and significant contribution to knowledge of the subject.
- A master thesis must be a distinct contribution to knowledge of the subject.
- A research professional doctoral thesis or portfolio must be an original contribution to professional practice, policy or knowledge.
Each examiner shall, independently of the other examiner(s), examine the thesis or portfolio, provide a written report and make one of the recommendations set out below. For courses containing a coursework component, this recommendation is subject to successful completion of that component. That the thesis be:
- PASSED without any amendments and the candidate be awarded the degree (NA);
- PASSED, SUBJECT TO MINOR AMENDMENTS as indicated in my report to the satisfaction of the Dean of the Faculty (MA);
- PASSED, SUBJECT TO SUBSTANTIVE AMENDMENTS along the lines indicated in my report. The candidate be instructed to submit a detailed report to the Research Advisory Committee outlining the amendments to the thesis for final classification, without further reference to the examiners (SA);
- RE-SUBMITTED for examination after completing the required extra work and revision indicated in my report (RR). (A thesis which must be re-submitted requires alterations of such scale, complexity and/or conceptual significance that their adequacy should be appraised again by an external expert/s);
- NOT be awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy but be PASSED for the appropriate degree of MASTER (PM). (The Masters degree must be a substantial work generally based on independent research which shows a sound knowledge of the subject of the research, evidence of the exercise of some independence of thought and ability of expression in clear and concise language).;
- FAILED and the candidate NOT be awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy OR the degree of Master and NOT be permitted to resubmit the thesis in a revised form (F).
Clause (e) is only applicable to the Doctor of Philosophy.
Once the Research Office has received all reports from the examiners these will be forwarded to the relevant Faculty Sub-Dean who will then forward them to the Principal Supervisor. The Sub-Dean and Principal Supervisor will discuss an appropriate course of action. The principal supervisor will then forward the reports to the HDR candidate. After consultation with supervisors, the HDR candidate will forward comments on the examiners reports to the supervisor and in appropriate cases make amendments to the thesis as recommended by the examiners. The HDR candidate will be asked to form their own individual response, which need not reflect the views of the Principal Supervisor.
If you gain three reports graded as a pass and a NA then the process is completed and the award will be granted. In other cases you will be asked to change your thesis, the various scenarios include the following:
- A combination of NA and MA grades implies that you have to make some minor amendments subject to the satisfaction of your Faculty Sub-Dean;
- At least one SA grade implies that you have to make some substantiative amendments subject to the satisfaction of the Examination Committee of the Research Advisory Committee;
- If allocated grades involving RR, and/or F, re-submission or fail outcomes may result after explicit consideration by the Examination Committee of the Research Advisory Committee.
Responding to Examiners Reports
If you are required to make any amendments to the thesis you will need to formulate a formal response to the examiners' reports. You should use the following guidelines in preparing your report.
- Make any corrections or revisions in your thesis using 'Track Changes'. Before doing that, however, make sure that you keep a copy of the original thesis that you submitted for examination.
- Your response to the examiners comments should be presented in a systematic manner using a tabular format in which you clearly indicate the comment to which you are responding and then give your response. See example below. (Please do not use landscape orientation for this. Although it may seem more sensible to do so, it causes problems when the response is scanned for distribution.)
- If you accept an examiner's criticism, you need to indicate that and provide the verbatim change(s) that you will make clearly indicating where they will go. If the change is relatively small, then include the text in the body of your response. If it is longer (more than two paragraphs), then attach it to the tabulated response as an Appendix. If you accept an examiner's criticism, it is not generally necessary to give a long justification for what you originally did.
- If you think that an examiner's criticism or request for further work is not valid and you decide not to make any change, you have to provide an explanation of why you do not accept the examiner's viewpoint. Such explanations should be in the form of a logical and academic argument.
- Each grammatical, spelling and typographical error does not need to be individually addressed in your response. Instead a generic statement indicating that this has been attended to will suffice. Your supervisor will check to ensure that such changes have been made in the revised thesis. (It may be worth getting professional proofreading and/or copy editing assistance also if there are lots of these sorts of errors in your thesis.)
- Attacking an examiner. Examiners were chosen based on their expertise and so simply suggesting that they are incompetent does not carry much weight.
- Basing an argument solely on the fact that one examiner mentioned the issue and the other two did not. Quite frequently, based on expertise only one examiner identifies a problem and the fact that the other two did not, does not invalidate the criticism.
- Dismissing a criticism on the basis that the relevant information was given elsewhere. Such criticisms can indicate that you have not presented the ideas and information clearly and hence that you need to revise it to clarify the material.
- Arguing in multidisciplinary studies that the examiner is an expert in the discipline and hence implying that they are requiring too much expert knowledge. In multidisciplinary research, the researcher has to be proficient in all the disciplines covered in the thesis.
The orientation for the table should be portrait otherwise there are problems when it is scanned.
|Professor X's Comments||Corrections/Responses|
|The title being misleading||It was changed to ?????????.|
|Including the prediction of the Rescorla-Wagner (R-W) model for the data presented.||I agree with Prof. XXX???s comment that the R-W model is an important theory in the debate about human causality judgments. However, I did not include the R-W model specifically in the current studies because it is well documented that the R-W model can not account for many of the conditioning arrangements employed in this research (backward blocking, latent inhibition and release from overshadowing). The model presented by Dickinson and Burke (1997) is a development of the R-W specifically to account for such phenomena. Therefore it makes more sense to include this model not the R-W model where the findings are already well reported.|
|The second line of work with sequential elements and compounds has not considered the highly relevant work of Helena Matute and her colleagues at the University of Deusto in Spain. Hiramatsu should consult this work and discuss its significance to these dissertation projects. Below are some citations and initial comments about the relevance of the work.||I agree with Prof. XXX that the work by Matute and her colleagues is relevant to the second part of my thesis. However, the way I interpret their data is different from Matute???s. If the context is regarded as the second CS, the results are still due to the within-compound association and, therefore, Dickinson and Burke???s model can account for their data. However, I acknowledge that this argument needs to be made. Hence, I insert the following in pg. 101. ???On the other hand, Matute and Pineno argued that a within-compound association is not always necessary|
|At several points in the thesis the candidate refers to the ???Hays test??? for post-hoc tests. I am not familiar with this test, could the candidate be a bit more specific about what it does?||On pg.65, the following footnote was inserted. ???The Hays procedure enables the Decision Wise error rate to be used as a valid estimate of the Experimental Wise error rate for each test by employing a set of contrasts which are fully orthogonal (Hays, 1972).???|
|The participants information for Experiment 3.1 and 3.2 are identical (total number of participants, gender breakdown, mean age and age range). Were the same subjects used for both experiments? If so, what implications does this have for the analyses and interpretation of the data?||This was addressed in the response to A/Prof YYY???s comments (2).|
More information and advice can be obtained from the Research Office.