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university of tampere: faculty of education: doctoral studies: dissertation:
Faculty of EducationUniversity of TampereFaculty of Education

Evaluation of Doctoral dissertation 

The opponent or opponents submit a written report on the dissertation manuscript. The doctoral candidate must then be given a chance to respond to the report before the dissertation manuscript is graded. The custos must present his/her evaluation of the success of the defence to the EDU Board after the public defence is held but before the dissertation is given a grade. The Board will then grade the dissertation as either excellent, very good, good, satisfactory, sufficient or failed. If the doctoral candidate is dissatisfied with the grade, he/she may submit a request for reconsideration to the EDU Board not later than 14 days after the announcement of the grade (see section 82 of the Universities Act 558/2009 and the University’s General Regulations on Degrees).

5 (excellent)

The research topic is clearly more demanding, significant and ambitious than in an average dissertation. The dissertation demonstrates a critical, truly creative and original approach and shows that the author can theoretically analyse an extensive complex of issues and/or research problems. The author has an in-depth knowledge of the research traditions, key concepts and theories in his/her field, and he/she makes use of them creatively and exceptionally well. The research problems are expertly reasoned and tightly connected to the theoretical framework, and the research design demonstrates creativeness and innovativeness. The research is exceptionally well conducted and produces significant new information. The analysis demonstrates a very good command of methods and is systematic, accurate and reliable. The discussion of ethical issues is critical, in-depth and diverse. The author reports his/her findings clearly and logically; his/her reporting is excellent in both style and language.

In the light of key evaluation criteria, the dissertation is especially distinguished, even on an international level. The doctoral candidate also presents and defends his/her research exceedingly well.

4 (very good)

The author is well-acquainted with the theoretical premises of his/her field and has not only successfully placed his/her research in the context of the research tradition in the field: his/her research also represents a significant contribution to the theory or empiricism in the field. The dissertation demonstrates that the author has an excellent command of the key theories and concepts in the field and he/she makes good use of them. The research problems are challenging and well-justified, and the author successfully connects them to his/her theoretical framework. The author explicitly derives his/her research questions from the research problems, and formulates and defines them well. The research design is also very clear and logical; the choice of research methods is well-justified, and the use of methods is competent. The analysis demonstrates a very good command of the methodology. Findings are interpreted logically and conclusions are well-justified. The author considers the ethical issues involved in the research from a critical point of view and from different perspectives. The research accurately answers the research questions presented, and the interpretation of results is in good balance with the theoretical framework. The author reports on his/her research very clearly and logically, and the style and language of the report are commendable.

In relation to the evaluation criteria, the dissertation has several significant merits without invalidating deficiencies. The author also presents and defends his/her research very well.

3 (good)

The author is familiar with the theoretical premises of his/her field and has successfully placed his/her research in that context. The dissertation demonstrates that the author has a good command of the key theories and concepts in the field and that he/she makes appropriate use of them. The research problems are fairly challenging and well-justified, and they are relevant to the theoretical framework. The research assignment is defined so that it has a clear purpose. The research questions are derived from the research problems, and they are clearly formulated and well-defined. The choice of methods is justified and allows the author to answer his/her research questions. The use of methods is consistent and meticulous. The analysis is accurate and reliable and demonstrates a good command of the methodology. The presentation and discussion of findings is competent. The research answers the research questions well, and the author does well in placing the interpretation of his/her findings in the theoretical framework. The research offers new information or a new insight. The author includes critical remarks when discussing research ethics and reports the research clearly and logically; his/her reporting is impeccable in style and language.

The research meets the criteria set for a good-quality dissertation in education. The doctoral candidate presents and defends his/her research well.

2 (satisfactory)

The author knows the key theoretical premises in his/her field and can place his/her research in the overall context of the research tradition in the field. The author demonstrates that he/she has familiarised himself/herself with the key theories and concepts in the field, but he/she has a fairly limited command of them and applies them to a limited extent only. The research offers some new information or a fresh point of view. The research design is fairly clear and logical. The research problems are challenging enough and the author justifies them; the research questions are derived from the research problems, but could have been better defined. The author applies methods mechanically but appropriately and mainly faultlessly. The analysis is reliable but could be more specific. The author pays attention to the ethical issues concerning his/her research, but the connection between this discussion and the research itself is unsound. The author presents his/her findings logically and discusses their meaning also in relation to his/her theoretical framework. The research answers the research questions. His/her reporting on the research is clear, but there may be minor shortcomings in the structure, style or language.

The special merits of the dissertation may compensate for possible deficiencies. The doctoral candidate presents and defends his/her research satisfactorily.

1 (sufficient)

The research demonstrates that the author has familiarised himself/herself with the research tradition in the field, but he/she places his/her research in this context insufficiently. The author uses the key theories and concepts of his/her specialism, but may have defined them insufficiently or applied them inconsistently. The research offers only limited new information. The research problems are not especially challenging or they are only loosely connected to the theoretical framework. The research design lacks clarity or consistency. The research questions are derived from the research problems, but the author formulates or defines them inadequately. There are shortcomings in his/her use of the methods. The analysis is reliable, but at times it is mechanical or inaccurate. The author acknowledges ethical considerations only on a general level. The author presents his/her findings logically, but discusses the meaning of the findings insufficiently. The research answers the research questions, but the author could have placed the findings in his/her theoretical framework better. His/her reporting technique has shortcomings in structure, language and/or style.

The dissertation has several deficiencies without adequate compensative merits. The doctoral candidate presents and defends his/her research in an acceptable manner.

0 (failed)

The dissertation has a considerable number of marked deficiencies. The author’s understanding of his/her research topic is superficial, and he/she discusses the topic in a way that is only loosely connected to the field. The theoretical framework of the research is too limited, too rambling and/or too extensive. The author fails to explain how his/her research is connected to previous research and theory. Also, the author does not justify his/her choice of methods and applies methods inconsistently. The analysis is not entirely reliable. The author presents his/her findings in a list-like or mechanical manner, and their connection to the theoretical framework is weak. The author does not discuss his/her findings on a general level, and he/she either fails to discuss ethical issues altogether or discusses them in a manner that is very brief and declaratory. The language of the dissertation is poor or unfinished.

The research does not meet the minimum criteria set for a dissertation in education.

For further information on doctoral studies at the Faculty of Education please see the Regulations concerning licentiate's and doctoral degrees.

(updated: 27 September 2017)

 

 
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