[Air-L] PhD dissertation format

Peter Timusk ptimusk at sympatico.ca
Tue Jul 5 11:45:07 PDT 2011

I am not an expert and have dropped out of my master's recently but I did
read about formats for dissertations and from what I remember in the natural
sciences this type of Ph.D. with published papers on one theme is one
possible format.  

Peter Timusk
at571 at ncf.ca
ptimusk at sympatico.ca
web: www.crystalcomputing.net
blogs www.cyborgcitizen.org

-----Original Message-----
From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org
[mailto:air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Mathieu ONeil
Sent: July-05-11 1:20 PM
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: [Air-L] PhD dissertation format

Hi everyone

I am currently writing a report on a PhD dissertation from a European
university. The dissertation 

		@page { margin: 2cm }
		P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm }
	-->consists of a general introduction (50 pages), four articles
which have already been published in peer-reviewed journals, and an appendix
consisting of an additional article.
I have to admit that I am little surprised by what is for me a new kind of
Dissertation. Whilst the benefits are clear in terms of publications – when
candidates obtain their doctorate they already have at least four
publications in peer-reviewed journals – it raised some questions in my mind
regarding the nature of the work. 

First, since it is the final, published version of the peer-reviewed
articles which is presented these articles have (presumably) been peer
reviewed. That is to say, candidates are not presenting strictly speaking
their own work, with input from a supervisor, but rather work which may have
been substantially benefited from a multi-person process of revision,
negotiation, revision, etc. Can these articles  be said to represent a
candidate's best solo effort? I know people could ask friends and contacts
for comments but here articles have been for want of a better word
'professionally' edited and proofread...

Second, despite the introduction which attempts to pull everything together
the papers remain heterogenous articles and may suffer both from repetition
(the same point can appear in one or several articles as well as in the
introduction) and from the lack of a clear overall structure. When you write
a traditional Dissertation (say 100,000 words) you really need to go from A
to Z, learn to build a point over time and length... Maybe it is a useless

This is not an isolated phenomenon, I received a published version of a
really interesting PhD from someone a few months ago who did the same - from
a different European country. 

Anyway, I am curious as to how prevalent this practice is, and what people
think about it – is a PhD like this the same as a traditional one? Does it

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