Examiner comment on theses requiring resubmission

Year: 2002

Author: Lovat, Terence, Holbrook, Allyson, Bourke, Sid, Dally, Kerry, Hazel, Gavin

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Previous research on PhD examination found that much of the examiner comment on PhD theses was 'instructive', and could be divided into three categories of comment: 'formative instruction', 'prescription' and a non- prescriptive, general strand of comment best described as 'instructional commentary'. Moreover it revealed that most of the formative comment was negative or highly critical in tone. This paper takes the study of PhD examination further by investigating the differences in examiner comment on theses by the same candidate before and after major revision. The paper highlights changes in examiner tone and in the qualities of the revised and resubmitted thesis. Six student cases (18 reports) from one institution are the subject of the analysis (6% of the total sample). The paper also explores the role of the examiner as 'gatekeeper'. The paper is one in a series emerging from a larger mixed methodological study of examination undertaken by a team at the SORTI Centre.