This paper presents a critical analysis of research studies in the area of research training in universities, particularly the PhD in the past decade. Increasing research attention is now directed at PhD completion, the process and practice of supervision, and student preparation and experience. However, there has been scant attention paid to PhD outcomes, particularly the examination of the thesis, the qualities of the research undertaken by PhD students and the effectiveness, usefulness and application of the research training received across disciplines. Research into the PhD has been restricted by a lack of international comparison and collaboration, an impoverished theoretical base, and a lack of attention to the fundamentals of learning and assessment at this advanced level of study. The final section of the paper focuses on studies of examination and how such studies are essential to an understanding of the expectations underpinning research quality.