1 Doctor of Education (Higher Education) Thesis Handbook 1 20th October 2014 University of Liverpool Professional Doctorate programmes delivered in partnership with Laureate Online Education
2 Contents Introduction... 3 Aim of the EdD Thesis... 3 Requirements of a Research Degree... 3 Supervision in the EdD... 4 Primary Supervisor Role and Responsibilities... 4 Secondary Supervision... 6 Student Progress... 7 Stages in the Thesis Process... 9 Road map of the main phases of the thesis stage Research Environment Library Support for Research Programmes Student Responsibilities Quality Assurance Thesis Proposal Thesis Proposal Criteria...15 Ethical Approval...15 Thesis Presentation of the Thesis Plagiarism and Fabrication of Data Publication of Research The Viva Voce (Defence) Remote Vivas Preparation for the Viva Assessment Criteria for the Thesis Outcomes of the Viva Appeals Acknowledgements
3 Introduction This handbook is designed for students and faculty members on the EdD. It specifically covers the thesis period of the programme and should be read in conjunction with the EdD Student Handbook. Aim of the EdD Thesis The thesis element of the EdD programme carries 180 credits, with the thesis comprising 40-50,000 words in length. The thesis is a substantial academic report that chronicles an original piece of practitioner research in higher education, generating new, actionable knowledge that is acknowledged as significant by scholarly and practical stakeholders. Requirements of a Research Degree Doctorates are awarded to students who have demonstrated: 3 i. the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the discipline, and merit publication; ii. a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge which is at the forefront of an academic discipline or area of professional practice; iii. the general ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline, and to adjust the project design in the light of unforeseen problems; iv. a detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research and advanced academic enquiry. Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to: a. make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields, often in the absence of complete data, and be able to communicate their ideas and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
4 b. continue to undertake pure and/or applied research and development at an advanced level, contributing substantially to the development of new techniques, ideas, or approaches; and will have: c. the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations, in professional or equivalent environments. These descriptors for qualifications at Doctoral (D) level are reproduced from the QAA Framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Supervision in the EdD Supervision will operate in accordance with the University of Liverpool regulations and relevant codes of practice, specifically the Framework for Online Professional Doctorates, which is available at: 4 Primary Supervisor Role and Responsibilities Primary Supervisors have the following Duties and Responsibilities under the Code of Practice on Supervision of Research Students: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) To ensure that students are familiar with the Codes of Practice and the Ordinances and Regulations that cover the EdD. To ensure that students are aware of the current developments in both specific and wider areas of research. To submit 3 progress reports per year to the Student Progress Panel and to be a member of a separate Student Progress Panel that serves other students. To give guidance about the planning of the research programme. A draft programme of work should be agreed by the student and supervisor at the outset, with indicative deadlines for completion of the stages of the research programme. To give guidance to students in attaining ethical approval for their research.
5 To accomplish this, the primary supervisor should, whenever possible, attend the EdD. VPREC (Virtual Programme Research Ethics Committee) as in this way one s knowledge is enhanced thereby improving the quality of guidance to their student. (vi) To give guidance about literature and sources, about appropriate methodologies and about the problem of plagiarism. (vii) To ensure that at least eight formal meetings takes place with the student each year with an agreed record of outcomes and targets following the meeting, which must be recorded. These meetings may be synchronous or asynchronous. A record of asynchronous conversations will be stored within the learning platform. The outcomes of synchronous meetings (e.g. Skype calls) must also be recorded and presented to the Student Progress Panel. (viii) To be accessible to students as appropriate at times other than formal meetings within reasonable limits. (ix) To encourage students to question critically the existing literature, the assumptions of the research project and the results they obtain. (x) To ensure that students are made aware of the quality of their progress, including attention to any ways in which standards of work are below those generally expected. (Constructive criticism is an important role of the primary supervisor.) (xi) To ensure that a draft of the thesis is read within an agreed timescale and suitable feedback given in good time to ensure submission. (xii) To ensure that any circumstances that might require a student s formal registration to be amended or suspended are brought to the attention of the Academic Director. (xiii) To assist with the selection of the Examiners and to ensure that the student is prepared and supported for the oral examination (viva voce). (Note: The responsibility to approach potential External Examiners remains with the University itself.) 5
6 Secondary Supervision Students on the EdD will have a named second supervisor who will normally be a senior academic in the University. Secondary supervision will occur in part on a group basis, through research clusters. In order to perform his or her role, the second supervisor will act as Research Cluster Lead (see below under Research Environment for further details about research clusters). The Research Cluster Lead will normally act as primary supervisor to at least one student in the cluster, with a further academic (who would in this case not normally be a member of staff based at the University) acting as secondary supervisor to his or her primary supervisee(s). Further members of staff at the University may also be linked to given research clusters as second supervisors, thus acting as Associate Leads of the Research Cluster. The secondary supervisor undertakes the following roles for the students with the research cluster (or a sub-group of students within the research cluster): 6 Provide leadership (or for Associate Leads to assist in this) for the research cluster. Participate in discussions relating to the work of each of the students for whom he or she acts as secondary supervisor (e.g. joining asynchronous online discussions for the cluster, and commenting/engaging in discussion on student work presented through presentations). Read a (fully-worked) draft of the thesis proposal and to provide feedback on the draft, completing this within an agreed timescale that takes account of expected progress milestones; for each student for whom he or she acts as secondary supervisor. Formally approve the thesis proposal for each student for whom he or she acts as secondary supervisor, subject to the student successfully completing the agreed process for ethical clearance. To scrutinise a draft of the thesis within an agreed timescale and to ensure suitable feedback is given in good time to ensure submission. Where appropriate, it may be helpful for the secondary supervisor to meet with the student and or primary supervisor (e.g. via Skype or a similar technology). The Cluster lead will also be expected to assist with the selection of internal and external examiners for vivas.
7 (Note: In cases where the primary supervisor is a member of staff at the University of Liverpool and thus where the secondary supervisor may be an employee of Laureate Online Education, then the formal approval for the thesis approval will come from the primary supervisor.) Student Progress Student progress on the thesis stage of the programme will be staged, and carefully monitored by Student Progress Panels. The Panels will thus undertake some functions that are often undertaken by a second or third supervisor. Each panel will cover up to around 50 students, and would normally be chaired by a senior academic at the University of Liverpool. Any members of the panel (including the chair) who act as primary or secondary supervisor for students under consideration will be asked to step down from their membership of the panel when the panel considers whether or not the progress of these students is acceptable. Progress arrangements are dealt with under the overall framework established by the University s Guide on the Academic Progress of Postgraduate Research Students, with the Procedure for Handling Unsatisfactory Academic Progress and Termination of Studies on the grounds of nonengagement (Deemed Withdrawn) within this guide specifically applied (see under 7 The regulations under which the programme operate indicate that submission of the thesis is required within no less than 1 year and in no more than 2.5 years following progression to the thesis stage. The student progress panel will undertake the following functions: Monitor student progress through the four-monthly reporting process. Co-ordinate the process by which students receive permission to commence the research towards their thesis, following both formal approval by the second supervisor and successful completion of the agreed process for ethical clearance. Address any student concerns regarding the supervisory relationship or the quality of supervision. Coordinate and record any changes to supervisory arrangements during the course of a student s period in the thesis stage.
8 Ensure that students receive feedback on a draft of the final thesis. The Panel will receive 3 reports per year on each student s progress. You are expected to complete one section of this progress report, and so sign the report. These reports will be submitted by the primary supervisor to the panel, and normally comprise: 1. During month 4: Completed Thesis Proposal. 2. During month 8: Student Progress Report, including confirmation that the students has successfully completed their ethics application, and met the following milestone: Giving an initial presentation that is related to their thesis to peers and supervisors on the programme, either conducted online or as part of a residency, and attending presentations given by peers. The presentation element itself, prior to discussion with those attending, should normally be limited to 30 minutes. The initial presentation should normally constitute an outline of the proposed research. 3. During month 12: Student Progress Report, including confirmation that the student has completed any further developmental activities that may have been identified. Students will normally be expected to deliver a further presentation or seminar, conducted either online or at a residency. This further session may either report on emerging findings or enable students to lead discussion on a further aspect of their thesis work During months 16 etc. until completion: Student Progress Report, and draft thesis chapters, any further developmental activities that may have been identified or EdD thesis; as appropriate. You are also expected to contribute to asynchronous discussions within your research cluster. Students may further be expected to engage in specific developmental activities identified in agreement with their supervisory team, to ensure adequate expertise in relation to any areas of specialist expertise required for the agreed thesis topic or agreed approach employed within the thesis. The partial staging of the work towards the thesis that is implied in these requirements for student progression assists in the following:
9 Providing a clearly defined basis for student progress on the thesis stage of the programme, thus ensuring that the judgements of the Student Progress Panel are adequately grounded (e.g. when applying the University s Procedure for Terminating Postgraduate Students Studies on the Grounds of Unsatisfactory Progress). Developing communities of practice amongst students and supervisors, facilitating a modest degree of interaction between the students undertaking the thesis stage of the programme. Enhancing the research infrastructure that underpins the programme Building the confidence of the research student Supporting the transition of the student towards independence as a researcher. Assisting dissemination of the research for the doctoral thesis, including its impact on practice. Stages in the Thesis Process 9 1. Student prepares an outline proposal and posts into the matching space. 2. Faculty profiles posted in the matching space. 3. Matching process online conversations over a period of c. 4 weeks 4. Supervisor/student assigned and confirmed in writing by the Doctoral Thesis Faculty Manager. 5. Student assigned to a Student Progress Panel (SPP) 6. Proposal submitted for approval to supervisor 7. Ethical Approval submitted to ethics sub-committee 8. Ethical approval including local and organizational approval if required. 9. Progress checks on student by Student Progress Panel (including completion of presentations, for instance) 10. Draft submission to be approved by primary supervisor and SPP 11. Viva voce 12. Revisions, as required 13. Thesis final submission
10 Road map of the main phases of the thesis stage Matching Phase (a) Starts 4 weeks before official Thesis Start Date Student required to submit their outline research proposal into the matching page in EdD. Doctoral Community area in Google Matching with Supervisor (b) Student considers the available supervisor profiles - link to this from the matching page Student approaches their first choice of supervisor and then if there is no a match made, they move on to the second choice and so on. Confirmation of Match Student and proposed supervisor EdD. Thesis Faculty Manager. EdD. Thesis Faculty Manager considers the workload of the potential supervisor prior to making a decision to confirm match Towards Official start of Thesis stage Official start of Thesis stage Once match is confirmed, EdD. Thesis Faculty Manager enters appropriateinformation into the Share point site. Thesis Administration then organise the setting up of a BlackBoard classroom for the student. Student and Supervisor meet and agree their ways of working and organise a calender of meetings. 10 Thesis start date to 3 months At or around the 3 month date from the official start date, the student should have made progress towards their draft full research proposal. This is then sent to the second supervisor for formative feedback Thesis start date to 3 months - 4 month Student considers the formative feedback received and amends their draft proposal to form their final version of their research proposal. Research proposal submitted via Turnitin. Approval or Not Yet Approved Primary Supervisor reviews the submitted proposal, adds comments in GradeBook and s to alert Second Supervisor Second Supervisor considers the submission and adds their comments in Gradebook. Result confirmedin GradeBook. Ethics Application Student required to submit their all their Ethical application documentation to the EdD. VPREC [Virtual Programme Research Ethics Committee] Ethical Approval Student must meet all the requirements made to the satisfaction of the EdD. VPREC Documentation of Expedited Ethics Approval EdD. Thesis Faculty Manager inserts code for Expedited Approval in the student's GradeBook and into share point site.
11 4-12 months Student continues to work with their Supervisor. (Initial presentation normally completed within 8 months.) Student Progress Panels The Student Progress Panel monitors every student by receiving reports from their supervisor every 4 months. Draft Thesis Once student has drafted their thesis, it must be reviewed by the Second Supervisor who will provide formative feedback. Student continues on draft until both supervisors are content with it. 3 months prior to final submission The student and supervisor discuss when the final thesis will be formally submitted via Turnitin. 3 months before the formal submission of the thesis, the student and supervisor must alert the EdD. Thesis Faculty Manager so that necessary arrangements can be made. Post-final submission of thesis Collegues in the University of Liverpool will be expecting the thesis to be submitted as they would have been alerted to this three months prior to submission. Collegues in University of Liverpool will arrange appointment of external and Internal Examiners and organise date for Viva 11
12 Research Environment The environment within which research is conducted by students on the programme constitutes an important element of the support provided to students in order to successfully complete the thesis. Each student will be linked to a research cluster, providing as this also does a key focus for secondary supervision. Presentations conducted by students during the thesis stage of the programme will constitute a central part of the activity conducted by each research cluster, helping to form an integral part of the research environment for the programme. Asynchronous discussions will be held once a month within each research cluster in which students are expected to engage. Students will normally be part of one main research cluster, although would remain free to engage with activity in other clusters as appropriate. Clusters will be established on the basis of a range of considerations, including recognition of significant divisions in the field of research into higher education, the research interests of students on the programme, and the research interests of members of staff. 12 Library Support for Research Programmes In addition to Library facilities such as access to online databases, web-based applications and Library enquiry services, the Library also provides a variety of facilities and services which will be valuable for research programmes and the development of the thesis. Please see a brief guide to the Library for Online Programmes at: Further information is available at: See the Thesis area of the Library for Online Programmes to search for comparative theses for your area of research: See the Research page for listing of online textbooks on research skills and research methodology/methods:
13 See also the research support guide for advice on research-related Library issues (such as copyright, open access, assessing journal impact statistics and data protection), referencing management, current awareness tools and links to e-books on a wide range of research skills: Student Responsibilities It is important to remember that this is your thesis, not your supervisor s thesis. You should not expect your supervisor to chase you to meet deadlines nor to strictly direct your research. Students should keep in regular contact with their primary supervisor and submit work for review at regular intervals. It is crucial that you listen to the advice of your supervisor as this will help you to avoid making major errors. However, you should not expect your supervisor to comment on the minutiae of your work (s/he is not a proof-reader) nor to supply you with a definitive set of references. You should aim to be an expert in your field by the time you submit your thesis and this will normally mean having a more detailed knowledge of your research area than anyone else, including your supervisor. 13 Specifically, you will need to: 1. Ensure that you have ethical approval and thesis proposal approval for your work before you begin to collect any data or make any form of intervention. You should discuss this with your supervisor who will guide you on the process and format. 2. Arrange and attend regular meetings with your supervisor (at least 8 per year). 3. Keep a record of any meetings that are not recorded in the learning platform and send these to your supervisor. (Students are required to complete the studentsupervisor meeting form after each meeting with their supervisor, which is available within the repository on the online doctoral community site.) 4. Submit a full draft of your thesis for review by your supervisor and a second supervisor before formally submitting. 5. Inform your supervisor that you intend to formally submit your thesis and gain his/her agreement to this.
14 6. Make your own local arrangements for the viva voce that will be run by teleconference. These arrangements should be fully tested prior to the conduct of the viva. (See the section on Viva Voce below for further details.) From time to time, the supervisor/student relationship can break down. This can normally be avoided by regular contact, both parties acting in a professional manner and open and honest discussions. If you feel that your relationship with your primary supervisor is not helpful then you should firstly discuss the situation with him or her. You may also want to take the advice of your Student Support Manager. If there is a need to escalate the discussion, you should contact the Faculty Manager responsible for the thesis stage of the programme, who will help you to resolve these issues in discussion with others (e.g. the Chair of the Student Progress Panel, the Director of Online Studies and the Director of Studies, as appropriate). Quality Assurance Quality assurance of academic work carried out at thesis stage will be monitored by the Board of Studies. Chairs of Student Progress Panels will report at least once a year to the Board of Studies on the overall progress of EdD students covered by each panel. This will include data regarding student progress and completion. 14 Supervision of EdD students will be jointly monitored by the Director of Studies in Liverpool and the Director of Online Studies at Laureate, or their delegate(s) (to ensure, for instance, appropriate monitoring where a Director also acts as a supervisor).the Directors will report at least twice a year to the Board of Studies on the overall quality of supervision. Thesis Proposal The Thesis proposal will incorporate the following: Introduction to the practitioner research, including its context and significance Literature base Practitioner research questions Research methodology Implementation plan
15 Draft application for ethical approval (see below) Plan to secure impact on practice, engaging with issues of equity Thesis Proposal Criteria The quality of the Thesis Proposal will be judged in light of the usual criteria on the programme for Hand-In Assignments, but adapted to specifically address the requirements of the thesis proposal. The proposal will be judged either to be acceptable or not acceptable. A grade will not be awarded for the proposal as such, but the criteria will be of value in helping to determine the expected standard of the proposal. Completion of an acceptable Thesis Proposal is expected as a part of the student progress procedures. The proposal must outline a research project that is likely to lead to an original piece of practitioner research in higher education, generating new, actionable knowledge that is acknowledged as significant by scholarly and practical stakeholders. The focus of proposal must broadly fit within the overall parameters of the programme, as indicated by the programme outcomes. 15 Ethical Approval 1. Students will complete and submit the university s ethical approval form, available from the repository for the EdD within the online doctoral community site and within the BlackBoard class materials, along with any other necessary paperwork (e.g. consent forms, participant information sheets) required by the procedure. This will normally be submitted within 4 months of a student commencing the thesis stage of the programme and always in advance of the student collecting data or making a research intervention. 2. The ethics application will be submitted to the EdD Virtual Programme Ethics Committee (VPREC), and considered by at least two approved EdD supervisors (not including the student s supervisors). (The terms of reference for this committee are available within the repository for the EdD in the online doctoral community site.)
16 3. All applications which are deemed to fall into the category of expedited approval will be approved by this committee. A record of students granted ethical approval in this way will be forwarded to the Chair of the Student Progress Panel in the University. 4. All applications which do not fall into the category of expedited approval will be considered by the International Online Research Ethics Committee (IOREC) via the Academic Director. A record of students granted ethical approval in this way will be forwarded to the Chair of the Student Progress Panel. 5. IOREC (or a sub-committee thereof) will review and monitor cases that have been deemed worthy of expedited review. Thesis The thesis is a substantial academic report that chronicles an original piece of practitioner research in higher education, generating new, actionable knowledge that is acknowledged as significant by scholarly and practical stakeholders. 16 Presentation of the Thesis The following notes have been produced for the guidance of EdD candidates in the presentation of their theses. All students, however, should ensure that they also consult their supervisor(s) about the presentation of their theses. (i) (ii) Sources Candidates must state generally in the preface and specifically in the body of the thesis the sources from which their information is derived and the extent to which they have availed themselves of the work of others. Length The length of the thesis will normally be within the range 40-50,000 words, with appendices and footnotes restricted to those that are essential. In no circumstances should a thesis of more than 50,000
17 words be submitted for the EdD including the references, footnotes and appendices, unless written permission has been obtained from the candidate s supervisor and the Director of Studies for the EdD. It is recommended that the supervisor seek the view of potential examiners before granting his/her approval. The word count for the thesis (given both with appendices/footnotes and without appendices/footnotes) should be indicated at the end of the main body of the thesis. (iii) (iv) (v) Submission of the thesis The thesis will be submitted electronically and through the prescribed plagiarism detection software (e.g. Turnitin). Restrictions on access to theses An author may impose restrictions on access to theses and copying annually for up to five years, if the supervisor endorses the author s statement that such restriction is necessary for good reasons, e.g. preparation for publication or a patent application. This will not prevent the publication of the Abstract. Permanent restriction is not permitted, nor does the University accept theses written under contracts of secrecy (see section 18 above and the Note on Theses in the current edition of the University Calendar). Presentation and layout In the following specification some of the requirements of BS 4821:1990 have been adopted to ensure that doctoral theses conform to the standards expected by the British Library. Copies of the British Standard (now withdrawn from publication) may be consulted at the British Standards website at the following address: https://bsol-bsigroup-com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/en/bsolhomepage/ Authors rights are protected under the University s agreement with the British Library. 17
18 (vi) (vii) Typing, printing and copying Type must be uniform and clear in all copies, for both text and illustrations, employing Arial or another sans serif font. The main body of the text must be in black ink on white background. Title page (Centred) Title of thesis then Thesis submitted in accordance with the requirements of the University of Liverpool for the degree of Doctor of Education by full forenames and surname. then (centred) Date (month and year) with suitable line spacing. (viii) Thesis structure The thesis will be structured to allow attention to the following areas: Introduction to the practitioner research, including its context and significance Literature base Practitioner research questions Research methodology, incorporating considerations of ethics within the research and issues arising in relation to the implementation of the methods employed Research findings, stemming from critical analysis and interpretation Impact of the research on practice and the associated knowledge base, linking to the leadership of the student in their professional setting and engaging with issues of equity Conclusions to the practitioner research 18 (ix) Table of contents The table of contents must show chapter headings and page numbers. All separate sections of the thesis, such as bibliography, lists of abbreviations, supporting papers, etc., must also be identified on the contents page.
19 (x) (xi) (xii) (xiii) (xiv) (xv) Abstract The thesis must be accompanied by an Abstract indicating the aims of the investigation and the results achieved. It must not longer than 500 words and show the author and title of the thesis in the form of a heading. Margins and line spacing 1 ½ line spacing is advised, but at least double line spacing should be used for text that contains many subscripts and superscripts. Quotations may be indented. Page numbers Pages should be numbered consecutively and the position of page numbers (candidate s choice or as advised by the supervisor) should be consistent throughout. Referencing American Psychological Association (APA) referencing should be used within the thesis. Diagrams, maps, illustrations and supporting material Diagrams, maps and illustrations should be placed as near to the relevant text as possible. Plagiarism and fabrication of data The thesis is subject to the University s Policy on Plagiarism and Fabrication of Data for Postgraduate Research Programmes, available at: 19 (xvi) Intellectual property Unless you are supported by an outside body where specific provisions relating to intellectual property are embodied in the condition of the support, you are required to agree to assign to the University all your rights to intellectual property arising from your studies or research at the University in accordance with normal custom
20 and practice. The University has a policy of sharing any profits arising from the exploitation of the results of research with the staff and research students concerned. You will not be prevented, by the terms of a contract from an outside sponsor or any other means, from including in your thesis submitted for a higher degree all material relevant to the research project and from being examined upon it. If material of a confidential nature is included in your thesis, obligations of confidentiality may be imposed upon the examiners and you may restrict access to the thesis deposited in the Library as provided for above. Further guidance on the University s position on Intellectual Property may be obtained from the Business Gateway division, details of which are available at: Plagiarism and Fabrication of Data 20 The University s Policy on Plagiarism and Fabrication of Data for Postgraduate Research Programmes applies to the thesis stage of the programme. For further details of the policy, please see: It is expected that the Thesis will contain material initially contained within the Thesis Proposal, and that both documents may draw on work originally submitted by the student towards the pre-thesis stage of the programme. In these latter cases, material is to developed and adapted rather than copied wholesale. Publication of Research Students are encouraged to publish research conducted as part of their studies on the programme in appropriate journals: The University s Policy on Exploitation and Commercialisation of Intellectual Property indicates that such publication is conditional on the agreement of the programme director or research supervisor.