A 10-point quality checklist for your PhD thesis

A PhD thesis is normally a summary of a study of several years in length. It is highly important to present it in an appropriate way to convince the attestation commission that you are worthy of a degree. Here is a check list to help you with revising your thesis.

1. Problem and Research Question(s)

What problem are you examining? Make your readers interested in your research but make sure that it corresponds to the level of the dissertation research. It should identify an existing gap in the knowledge and propose ways to fulfil it. Are research questions relevant for the topic? This means that answering these questions should solve the formulated problem.

2. Research Aim and Objectives

Your research aim should be formulated in the way that allows you to solve the research problem. Accordingly, the aim should be split into several objectives. Objectives are particular actions, and by conducting all of them, you attain your research aim.

quality checklist phd thesis

3. Practical Use

What value does your work bring to the science and academic sphere? A PhD level implies that you make an original scholarship contribution to the existing knowledge. While a bachelor’s or a master’s thesis shows how an individual has learned to solve problems by applying the given knowledge, a PhD is about creating new knowledge that can be further applied by others.

4. Underlying Theories

When writing a PhD thesis, you are not creating a new science from the very beginning but rather extending an existing sphere of knowledge. Make sure that your research is based on the existing theories in the sphere. This will show the relationship between your research and the existing knowledge.

5. Data Collection

Clearly show what data you use in the research and how you gathered it. If you used unique data, describe the process of its collection in detail. Readers should understand and, if necessary, be able to replicate data collection. This is one of the main criteria of verification of your research results.

6. Methodology

Similar with the data collection process, you should indicate all the steps of your analysis starting from the research design and the assumptions you made in your work, and finishing with the formulae you applied. Theoretical foundations of research are especially important for a PhD study since you demonstrate your theoretical contribution to the science. Thus, you have to clearly delineate your contribution to the research methods.

7. Results

Your methodology and calculations may be voluminous and complicated, but you need to present them in a convenient way. Your readers and opponents have a scientific background, but they may not be so deeply aware of the problem you examine. Report the results so that they understand you.

8. Discussion

Discussion of your results in the light of the existing knowledge is one of the most important parts of the study. Here you show what you added to the science and whether your results confirm or reject what had existed before your results were attained. Explain why your results could be different.

9. Conclusion

Conclusion is a summary of the study. This is what readers will be interested in first as they will unlikely read your entire thesis. Show to what extent you have attained research objectives and if not, what was the reason of the failure. 

10. Revision and Proofreading

When the entire work is done and formatted, read it once or twice from the very beginning. Your aim here is not only to find mistakes and misspellings but also polish the wording and make your text as readable as possible.