Tips for an Effective Dissertation
Some Ph.D. dissertations are basically composed of a collection of papers written by the student, sandwiched between an introduction and conclusion. Here are some suggestions to make the final dissertation effective:
- Related work receives a shallow treatment due to the (multiple) paper format. Extended comments on related work should be part of the introductory chapter.
- Go through the dissertation and create a list of the major concepts in each paper. Make sure all these concepts are:
- Defined clearly in the paper where they first appear.
If they aren't, add a preface to that chapter to clarify as necessary.
- Defined consistently in the separate papers.
If they aren't, add a preface to the chapter where the usage or definition changes and explain the change carefully.
- Tied together, where possible, in your concluding comments.
- The relationship(s) between the papers, and the major ideas or contributions they contain, should be summarized in the conclusions, or foreshadowed in the introduction.
- Supply comparative tables or figures in the concluding chapter to summarize all major results from the separate papers.
- Supply pseudocode for all of your algorithms so they can be re-implemented by others - this material should appear in an appendix.
- Read through the individual papers and look carefully for any place where there is a remark like: "We couldn't include this material for lack of space". That is certainly true for the individual papers, but it needs to be remedied in the thesis. For any comments like this, add a "Notes and comments" section at the end of the relevant chapter - before the references - and include the material that had to be left out of the paper.
(Contributed by M.MacGregor)
To be eligible for convocation, all students in a thesis degree program must present a thesis embodying the results of their research and the topic must be approved by the student's supervisor or supervisory committee.