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Guidelines for the doctoral thesis in the PhD Programme Educational Sciences for Teacher Education

Recommended by DGU and approved by the Dean on 28 April 2019.

Doctoral thesis requirements are stipulated in both Section 5.1 of the Regulations relating to the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at Oslo Metropolitan University and in the faculty’s programme description for the degree programme.

  • The thesis is to be an independent, scientific work that meets international standards in relation to ethical requirements, academic level and research methods.
  • The thesis should contribute to the development of new academic knowledge and be of a sufficiently high standard to merit publication as part of the scientific literature in the given field.
  • The thesis can consist of one large comprehensive work (monograph) or of a number of smaller works (article-based thesis).
  • Most of the faculty’s theses are written in either English or Norwegian. If a PhD candidate wishes to write the thesis in a language other than Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English, an application to do so must be submitted in connection with admission to the PhD programme. The faculty decides the languages in which the thesis may be written.
  • The thesis must be written in the standard format that applies at all times at the Faculty of Education and International Studies at OsloMet. This is to ensure a uniform design and format when the thesis is printed.

 

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Guidelines for monograph
Guidelines for article-based thesis

Monograph

These are recommended guidelines. In collaboration with their supervisors, the candidate can choose to adjust how the thesis is designed on the basis of the guidelines.

A thesis written as a monograph should normally be 200–250 pages long.

The monograph should normally contain the following components:

Abstract and table of content

The thesis should begin with both a Norwegian and an English abstract of about two pages, where the main research question of the thesis is presented clearly and precisely, information regarding research methods is given, and main results are clearly stated. These abstracts should not be numbered or entered in the table of contents. The abstracts are to be followed by the table of contents, where page numbering starts, adapted to the right side. Following the table of contents, on its own, follows the list of attachments.

Introduction, purpose and research question

The introduction presents the purpose of the study and the issue(s)/research question(s) the thesis intends to investigate. The chapter may include background information. Overall, this chapter should set the scene for the reader.

Literature review

To demonstrate that the thesis makes a significant contribution to the field, the candidate must document awareness of the knowledge status within the relevant field of study. The dissertation must therefore contain a review of the literature that shows which results researchers have previously reached in the relevant field of study. This review should not simply summarize prior research, but critically review the research related to the particular field of study. The candidate must position his/her own work in relation to previous research.

Theoretical framework

The theoretical framework describes the overarching theoretical approach(es). In this part of the thesis, it is important to specify how theory and key concepts are used.

Methodology

A discussion of methodology is to be given a significant place in the thesis. The design and data collection process should be described with emphasis on transparency, and a discussion of the quality of the data and the data analysis process should be included. The thesis should include a critical reflection of the study’s validity, reliability and limitations. The discussion of methodology should also raise and discuss ethical considerations relating to the project.

Results

The section about the results must systematically describe the main findings of the study.

Discussion and conclusion

The discussion and conclusion should explicitly answer and discuss the overarching aims of the study (the research questions/hypothesis). This section should also discuss the theoretical implications of the findings and how they contribute to the prior existing research
in the field. The complexity and subtleties of the findings are also to be discussed in light of methodological and theoretical issues and philosophy of science approaches. It is advised that recommendations for further research be include here.

List of references

The list of references pertaining to the synopsis should follow the conclusion. The reference list must be in accordance with standards used in the academic environment (APA).

Appendix

The appendix is to be added at the end of the thesis. Research instruments such as interview guides, observation guides and questionnaires must be included as appendix. Ethical approvals must also be included (e.g. NSD approvals, information letter to participants etc.).

Article-based thesis

These are recommended guidelines. In collaboration with their supervisors, the candidate can choose to adjust how the thesis is designed on the basis of the guidelines, their own scientific publications and evaluations. For example, if one of the articles is a literature review, this will have consequences for the way in which the previous research in the field is presented in the synopsis. Similarly, if one of the articles is a thorough methodology article that concerns core methodological issues relating to the project, this will influence the scope and design of the methodology part of the synopsis.

Number of articles and status

The thesis must be comprised of at least three articles. If the academic supervisors are of the opinion that more than three articles are necessary to ensure the scope and quality of the thesis, more articles may be required. Chapters published in peer-reviewed books count as articles, but book chapters should not comprise more than one of three, or two of four, articles. On submission of the thesis, the articles that form the basis for the thesis must be under review by a peer-reviewed journal. At least one of the articles must have been accepted for publication prior to submission of the thesis.

Co-authorship

At the Faculty of Education and International Studies (LUI) at OsloMet, all sub-works (articles) that form part of the thesis can have co-authors. It is a condition in such case that the candidate is the main author and that he/she has had extensive academic responsibility for the majority of the articles included in the thesis. The candidate must be the main author of at least two of the articles. The candidate and supervisor must adhere to the norms for co-authorship that are widely accepted in the academic community and in accordance with international standards. The form related to co-authorship must be completed for each publication.

Synopsis (“kappe”)

The synopsis is to be independently produced and written by the PhD candidate, but the work should nevertheless be written under supervision. Work on the synopsis should begin as early as possible so that it can help to structure and guide the candidate’s work on the thesis during the PhD period. The synopsis is often modified during the PhD period as the articles’ structure and content develops. The synopsis is normally completed towards the end of the PhD period, often in the final semester. The scope of the synopsis is normally 50–90 pages, excluding references and appendices.

The synopsis of an article-based thesis is a scientific text that is to demonstrate a high academic level. The purpose of the synopsis is to provide an overall perspective of the internal coherence between the articles, and summarise and synthesise the research questions, results and conclusions presented in the articles. The synopsis also indicates where to locate definitions or detailed explanations of individual subjects within the thesis. The synopsis outlines and give reasons for the theoretical perspectives, the issues and the conclusions presented in the articles, so that the individual components of the dissertation can be seen and understood as a whole.

The synopsis should normally contain the following components:

Abstract, table of content and list of articles

The thesis should begin with both a Norwegian and an English abstracts of about two pages, where the main research question is presented clearly and precisely, information regarding research methods is given, and main results are clearly stated. The abstract should not be numbered or entered in the table of contents. The abstracts are to be followed by the table of contents, where page numbering starts, adapted to the right side. Following the table of contents, on its own, follows the list
of attachments and articles contained in the thesis. This list must clearly indicate the stage of each article in the publishing process.

Introduction, purpose and research question

The introduction presents the purpose of the study and the issue(s)/research question(s) the thesis intends to investigate. Overall, this chapter should set the scene for the reader.

Literature review

To demonstrate that the thesis makes a significant contribution to the field, the candidate must document awareness of the knowledge status within the relevant field of study. The synopsis must therefore include a review of the literature that shows which results researchers have previously reached in the relevant field. This review should not simply summarize prior research, but critically review the research related to the particular field of study. The candidate must position his/her own work in relation to previous research.

Theoretical framework

The theoretical framework describes the overarching theoretical approach(es) that bind the individual articles together. This part of the synopsis can also provide a more detailed description of the theory presented in the individual articles. It is important in this respect to specify how theory and key concepts are used.

Methodology

A discussion of methodology is to be given a significant place in the synopsis, not least because there is often limited space for discussions of methodology in journal articles. The design and data collection process should be described here, with emphasis on transparency, and a discussion of the quality of the data and the data analysis process should be included. The synopsis should include a critical reflection of the study’s validity, reliability and limitations. The synopsis should also raise and discuss ethical considerations relating to the project.

Results

The section about the results of the study, about three pages, must, in a short and systematic manner, account for the thesis's main findings. This must be done in such a way that the red thread in the dissertation and the connection between the content of the articles is evident.

Discussion and conclusion

The discussion and conclusion should explicitly answer and discuss the overarching aims of the study (the research questions/hypothesis). The synopsis should contain relevant updates, when necessary, based on developments that took place after the articles were published or completed. It should also complement and supplement the analyses included in the articles. However, the candidate should not bring in new empirical data that has not previously been
mentioned in the articles. This section should also discuss the theoretical implications of the findings and how they contribute to the prior existing research in the field. The complexity and subtleties of the findings are also to be discussed in light of methodological and theoretical issues and philosophy of science approaches. It is advised that recommendations for further research be included here.

List of references

The list of references pertaining to the synopsis should follow the conclusion. The reference list must be in accordance with standards used in the academic environment (APA).

Appendix

The appendix is to be added at the end of the thesis, starting with the complete versions of the articles, with a front page stating the publication status of the article. If an article has been published, it is the published version that must be included in the dissertation.
Second, research instruments such as interview guides, observation guides and questionnaires must be included as appendix. Third, research ethical approvals must also be included (e.g. NSD approvals, information letter to participants etc.).

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