The research Thesis and its corresponding dissertation are an integral part of the Master of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs. The research thesis, a required component of both MSc and PhD degrees, does not carry any credit-hour but generally, MSc students spend approximately one year to carry out the experimental work and the reporting the results of their research projects in the form of dissertation whereas PhD students normally spend 3-4 years carrying out and reporting their research.
After completion of the Master Thesis the student should be able to:
· Develop a written research proposal, using relevant literature and methods learned during the coursework
· Carry out the proposed research and if necessary create, modify or adapt an appropriate methodology.
· Describe in writing and orally, clearly and succinctly the methodology used for the research
· Analyse, present and synthetize the results of an independent piece of research in writing and orally
· Critically evaluate experimental data and other sources of scientific information and compare these to available information from the published literature
· Independently recognize when further knowledge and study are necessary and take responsibility to develop the necessary knowledge.
· Report in writing and orally on the research they carry out.
· Develop the outlines and contribute to the writing of a scientific paper.
The learning objectives are similar for the PhD programs but students who successfully defend their PhD thesis should be able to:
· Prepare and organize scientific papers for peer reviewed Journals
· Respond to reviewers and amend papers for final submission.
· Design and carry out research independently and with minimum supervision
· Develop original and distinctive research methodology appropriate to the field of research
· Critically assess their own and other’s research reports
· Develop a research that is innovative and contribute significantly to the development in the field of research.
The thesis is first assessed by the thesis committee which will ask the students to correct and modify the manuscript until it satisfies all the members of the committee. This is a formative assessment as it helps the students to improve the structure and content of the dissertation. Two public seminars are also conducted to develop the presentation and synthesis abilities of the students.
The thesis is then evaluated by an independent Thesis Examination Committee. The committee, after evaluating both the thesis and the defense of the thesis by the candidate declares the thesis acceptable, acceptable with minor corrections or not acceptable at this stage.
The dissertation must show that the candidate has applied appropriate research methodology to answer the research question established initially. It must demonstrate a sufficient exploration and understanding of the relevant research literature, the use of appropriate sampling methods, analytical skills, laboratory techniques, statistical methodology to develop and assess the significance of their findings and show evidence of independent and critical thought, logical development and structure, and appropriate and consistent use of terminology. Finally, for PhD dissertation, we expect the research to contribute significantly to knowledge in the particular field chosen by the student.
The examination committee consider the following criteria to evaluate the research thesis submitted to their expertise:
The extent to which the research question, the purpose of the research are clearly stated;
- The extent to which the literature review and the introduction of the thesis make clear (1) how the research question relates to existing knowledge and (2) how and why the research chosen is meaningful and worthy of investigation;
- The extent to which the dissertation shows a logical and planned progress in the investigation, using an appropriate range of methodologies;
- The extent to which the student presents, uses and discusses the obtained data in an academic context (the academic context is a demonstration of current, detailed and comprehensive understanding of the knowledge in the field of study under investigation);
- The extent to which, in the dissertation, the candidate uses the material collected (both bibliographic and the experimental results) to present ideas in logical and coherent manner, and to develop a reasoned argument in relation to the research question;
- The extent to which the dissertation demonstrates an appropriate analysis of the data collected (graphical, statistical, logical);
- The extent to which the dissertation uses language appropriately to convey complex reasoning and explanations. The language criterion includes both the use of appropriate vocabulary and terminology and the use of the language style (tenses, voices, grammar,…) in use in the research area;
- The quality of the abstract (completeness, conciseness, structure, in both English and Arabic);
- The extent to which the layout, organization, appearance and formal elements of scientific writing are present in the thesis;
- The extent to which the design and presentation of graphics, tables and illustrations are appropriate, justified, original and complete;
- Holistic assessment: i.e. the qualities that distinguishes this thesis from an average thesis such as intellectual initiative, depth of understanding, insight, originality of methods, experimental design, etc.
Writing a thesis is not easy and the technical requirements (margins, font size, paper size, binding etc…) are often different from that of regular printed documents. To facilitate the production of dissertation that meet the requirements of the University, CAMS provide students with a set of templates to help with the formatting of the thesis document.
Our recommendations with this regards is to start writing the draft thesis in the SIMPLEST possible format that allow the thesis committee to do its work of improving the document, adding comments etc. Work, chapter by chapter (each chapter is in one folder on the computer hard disk). Name the files according to their main title (Intro, MM, Res, Disc. Etc. ) appended by an indicator of the date formatted as yymmdd. For instance, the introduction file, last edited on the 15 March 2016 would have the format (Intro_160315). The same introduction but last edited on the 4 th of April, 1 month later, would have the name Intro_160404. This file format allows for the retrieval of the most recent file while keeping older file always available. In the same folder keep copies of all figures, statistical analysis, photographs, that you decided to include in your draft manuscript, keeping if necessary a file name records of all these additional files.
Once the different drafts have all been reviewed, discussed, modified several times and are almost ready (according to you and to your thesis supervisor), create your final manuscript using the templates documented below. Large files are considerably more demanding on computers.
SAVE your documents regularly (using the date name suggested above) AND BACKUP all your files at least once week on at least two external, independent USB drives. Keep these separate from all other USB drives. Keep one at the University, the other at home, and update your backup at least once a week. These two USB drives are your only safety line, in case of computer glitches, viruses or other losses (fire, water, accidents, anything is possible).
The templates for thesis includes 3 files:
- A Thesis Format .Pdf explanation guide. This pdf file explains how the template functions, what are the different styles, what are the different files, how to use the templates etc.
- A Thesis Intro.Doc file. This word documents is a template for the introductory pages of the thesis (with page numbers in Roman numbers, i, ii, iii, iv, etc.)
- A Thesis Body.Doc file. This word document is a template for the actual body of the thesis, from the Table of content to the Bibliography. It is a template, made of many styles and with explanation on what is what and where it should be. Most of the text is written in fake Latin to make sure that nobody forget to replace this text by the actual content of their dissertation. The table of content is updated automatically when new chapter, headings etc. are added using the appropriate styles.
- A Thesis Illustration .Pdf file. This pdf document shows the different spacing, font, font size, indents etc. used for the thesis. You can you this if you want to create new styles with specific characteristics.
If, the font (Helvetica) irritates you or your supervisor to such a point that you feel that you need to change it, just change the font in the “Paragraph” style. All the other styles will automatically follow. You can of course add styles of your own for particular purposes. Use the options (based on….) to link your new styles to any existing style and ensure consistency later.