Helping students demonstrate mastery of doctoral threshold concepts

Gina Wisker, Margaret Kiley

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


Research into the characteristics of successful PhD theses (See for example Bourke, Hattie, & Anderson, 2004; Holbrook & Bourke, 2004; Kiley & Mullins, 2004; Lovitts, 2007; Mullins & Kiley, 2002) suggests that examiners expect to see evidence of a variety of relatively abstract rather daunting achievements and skills. We propose that this might be because satisfactory completion of a PhD indicates both a contribution to knowledge as well as providing evidence of conceptual, critical and creative research and articulation. This evidence demonstrates a range of related disciplinary or inter-disciplinary understandings and skills at the doctoral level. Terms such as ‘conceptual framework', ‘critical perspective', ‘contribution to knowledge' and their abstract indicators are examples of those rather elusive aims in doctoral research. For candidates to be able to bring such achievements into their writing, focused, accessible and timely feedback from supervisors is essential.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeveloping research writing: a handbook for supervisors and advisers
EditorsS. Carter, D. Laurs
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781138688148
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2017


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