Just wondering where anybody put/will put their research questions in their thesis? In the introduction, in the literature review??
Actually, another question as well, sorry - maybe I should have created two separate threads??
'Contribution to knowledge' - where does this go, in the introduction or at the end in the conclusion, after you have proved what you have done? Also, do you state it explicitly or is it inferred through phrases like "this advances the work of...? Finally, if stated explicitly, what sub-heading did you give it, or did you?
Thanks all - I'm jumping ahead of myself a bit here, especially with the second question but they've been on my mind. Any suggestions greatly received
My research questions were in the last section of my lit review entitled 'Aims and Objectives of the Thesis'. I did it this way so that the gaps in knowledge were highlighted in the lit review with each area linking to the next with the final section stating the questions I was to address. This way I left the reader knowing exactly what I was going to do.
With the contribution to knowledge I have included this in the final discussion. For each area, I have discussed my findings in relation to the broader area and then at the end re-stated what I found (noting the originality). I chose not to give it a separate subheading as I felt I would just be repeating myself again.
I would be interested in other view points as I have yet to submit myself ;-)
Hubby's put the research questions in the intro, and then again in the discussion (to say how he addressed them) and there is also a 'contribution to the field' section in his intro.
I don;t really have research questions :$ Maybe I need to find some!
and I don't really have an explicit 'contribution to the field section' - I just point out the gap in the literature and say what my thesis is going to cover if you know what I mean
contributions - I have a small section in the intro of each chapter that bullet points the contribution of each chapter... and then I go over it again in the conclusion section.
I will then summarise all the contributions in the conclusion chapter, and probably discuss what implications each have to the field.
I think contributions is our sales talk that justifies why we should get a PhD, so I don't see anything wrong in repeating it. Also, the contributions for each chapter justifies why the chapter is in your thesis.
As for research questions, I am going to outline the main one in the intro. I have issues that need to be dealt with before the main question can be answered, and these are highlighted through the literature reivews. I then recap the whole lot together at the start of my methodology chapter so that I can say 'to answer these questions, I used these methods'. I will probably recap them again at the start of the conclusion chapter as 'The research set out to find out A, B and C.... and I did it all'.
My research questions were in the combined intro/lit review.
My contribution to knowledge was stressed at the end of each chapter, throughout the very final conclusions chapter, and in my abstract. Writing the abstract in this way is vital: write it as if it depends completely on stressing what you have contributed to knowledge. It is to sell your thesis, and why you deserve a PhD. It's also likely to be the first thing the examiner reads. Get them on side!
ah you see now I'm thinking I need all this too. In hubby's thesis we've (I mean I here as he's done the actual research and I've told him how to lay it out) really stressed the research questions, in the intro, then each chapter has a cover page - which has 'overview of the chapter', 'contribution to the field' and 'structure of this chapter' and this is all repeated again in the discussion.
Its great for his thesis, but part of me thinks its a bit 'babyish' for mine - I don't really know why, I guess its just not been convention in the ones I've read from people in my department??
hmmm.....might do cover pages for my chapters??
======= Date Modified 24 Feb 2011 09:59:05 =======
Thanks everybody, much appreciated :-)
I had also never considered putting the contribution bit in the abstract - D'oh! I will now though so thanks for that bit of advice, Bilbo (up)
Edit: just seeing your 2nd reply there Sneaks - all I can say is that one of the Profs in my uni told a friend the other day who is absolutely fantastic theoretically (scarily so!) but is having huge difficulties writing. Her thoughts are so abstract and her sentences so long, and multi-clausal that he says she won't pass unless she spells it out more. She is not to hide anything. Lay it out, spell it out for the reading examiner. He said that the examiner shouldn't have to look for anything. If he is reading your introduction and he still doesn't know what you're going to do that can give him (or her!!) a negative first impression which can be difficult to change.
======= Date Modified 24 Feb 2011 09:59:31 =======
Sneaks, I have an intro section for each chapter, a bit like your hubby's cover page... I have intro, objectives, scope, contributions and structure in that section. They're all very short sections (2 paragraphs or so).
I first saw it in my sup's thesis, and I thought it was a bit 'much' pointing all these things out. However, it has made my life a lot easier in two ways a) it was so easy to find things I needed in her thesis - which I think it's important for the examiner also, and b) it made sure that I had all those things in my thesis, ensuring that I didn't have important things (like contribution) missing from my chapter.
I have read few other theses in my field who haven't had it so clearly laid out, and they are more difficult to see where things are.
hope that helps in any way :)
thanks bilbo, I'm just a bit wary I suppose of writing the words "the contribution of this study is...." if you know what I mean?
I written everything up for publication so far, so will be changing them into chapters in the next few weeks so I suppose I'll have to make a decision then about all of this!
There are also other work arounds in that phrase bank:
(go down to significance of the findings)
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