Written in clear, straight-forward language, Examining Doctoral Work considers how the practice of doctoral examination can be improved to ensure that both examiners and students can make the most of the assessment process.

This book analyses both good and bad practice to promote fair, thorough and productive examination. With insight into how to prepare for a viva, as well as a consideration of the responsibilities afterwards, the book de-mystifies this crucial part of the doctoral examination process to provide a comprehensive overview of the principles, criteria and processes needed to ensure success. Key points covered include:

  • The different forms doctoral submission can take
  • How examiners are chosen
  • Where to begin when reading a thesis
  • Managing your time as an examiner
  • What makes a ‘good’ doctoral thesis?
  • How to prepare for the viva
  • How to develop a preliminary report
  • The role of the supervisor before, during and after the viva
  • Examiners’ roles and responsibilities
  • Working through agreements and disagreements
  • Feeding back both orally and in writing.

Drawing from a mixture of personal experience, existing research and anecdote, this book is ideal reading for anyone new to the world of doctoral examination, or equally those looking to improve their practice.

PART I Exploring the meaning of doctorateness  1 A brave new world of doctorates?  2 What is a doctorate?  3 Enacting ‘doctorateness’: doctoral examining in practice  PART II Practical aspects of the doctoral examining process 4 Who are the examiners and what do they look for? 5 Preparing the preliminary, independent reports  PART III Judgements, decisions and their aftermath  6 Making the decision  7 The oral examination (live voice): why, what and how  8 Post examination: the examiners’ and Chair’s roles and responsibilities