Critical Reflections on the Conventional Thesis Structure and a Guide to the Research Questions Addressed in the Book
Kember, D, Critical Reflections on the Conventional Thesis Structure and a Guide to the Research Questions Addressed in the Book, Structuring the Thesis: Matching Method, Paradigm, Theories and Findings, Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd, D Kember, M Corbett (ed), Singapore, pp. 3-13. ISBN 978-981-13-0510-8 (2018) [Research Book Chapter]
The chapter describes the voyages of discovery as an examiner and supervisor which led me to question the suitability of the conventional thesis structure, devised for the scientific method, for research students in the social sciences, who generally eschew the scientific method. These personal voyages of discovery eventually became a collective voyage, as many research students and supervisors shared similar concerns about the conventional thesis structure and had explored alternatives. The voyages led to the formation of four research questions. These are introduced in the chapter as they are explored through the book. (1) Why do examiners often find theses hard to read when research students in non-scientific disciplines adopt the conventional structure of the scientific method? (2) Why do students in non-scientific disciplines struggle to write up the outcomes of their research in the conventional structure? (3) What alternative thesis structures can be devised which better suit the wide range of methods, theories and paradigms commonly followed in education and the social sciences? (4) What range of methods, theories and paradigms are commonly adopted by education and social science students and what issues do these pose when students write their theses?