Higher degree examination in the Creative Arts

Year: 2003

Author: Dally, Kerry, Holbrook, Allyson, Graham, Anne, Lawry, Miranda, Bourke, Sid

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The PhD is distinguished from other university degrees by the emphasis placed on the significance of its contribution to knowledge. The qualities associated with this contribution can differ between disciplines and fields, but there are also strong similarities. One means of identifying thesis benchmarks and qualities is to identify what examiners look for in the PhD thesis. Disciplines are not static and expectations can change over time. Moreover some disciplines, such as the creative arts, did not put forward candidates for the PhD until recently and are still developing their baseline expectations on PhD process and quality.

This paper describes an established mixed-methodological approach which was previously employed to analyse the content of 603 written PhD examination reports from a range of disciplines including the arts, social sciences and science. The results from a cross-section of these previous analyses will be compared to a small sample of recently acquired Fine Art examination reports. The similarities and differences between Fine Art examination reports and reports from other disciplines are investigated. Drawing on the Fine Art examination reports as well as guidelines provided to Fine Art examiners, this paper also aims to identify emerging issues and themes from the creative arts examination process that can be explored in subsequent interviews with Fine Art examiners.