What qualities are rare in PhD examiner reports?

Year: 2001

Author: Lovat, Terence, Holbrook, Allyson, Hazel, Gavin

Type of paper: Refereed paper

A study of some 300 exan-dner reports from one institution indicate that the reports are far more heterogenous than reported in previous studies, particularly with respect to evaluative comment. This paper begins with an overview of the findings of a content analysis of the reports. It then proceeds to a more thorough examination of those areas that receive the least attention or less attention than reported elsewhere. For example, one of the areas that attracts the least attention is ethics. Another, more complex imbalance is between detailed and descriptive evaluative comment. Although other research has reported that examiners treat the PhD as a work-in-progress and engage in formative assessment, the degree to which this is so varies according to the rating given to the thesis, but in addition a close examination of 'instructive' comment reveals considerable variation in comment characteristics.