SEMINAR ON EXAMINING DISSERTATIONS AND THESES

SEMINAR ON EXAMINING DISSERTATIONS AND THESES

Professor Geoff Harris, formerly of the School of Economics and Finance at UKZN and now lecturing part-time at the Durban University of Technology, presented a stimulating seminar on: “Dissertation Examining: Reducing the Stress and Fighting Bureaucracy at the same time”.

The seminar - hosted by UKZN’s College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay - was part of the College of Law and Management Studies on-going Teaching and Learning forums.

Based on his wide experience as an internal, external and international examiner, Harris said being an examiner ‘is part of an academic’s collegial responsibility and collegiality is worth building’.

Harris emphasised that establishing the criteria for examining was very important and could differ from university to university in the following ways:

• The criteria provided;

• The number (if any) of publishable or published articles in the thesis i.e. indicators of  contributions to knowledge for PhD and research masters;
• The research objectives/questions as stated by the student.

While stressing that it was important for examiners to have their own framework for examining, which should be in line with the examining university’s criteria, he cautioned that “one size does not fit all”.

He especially warned against an examiner thinking that the study should have been done differently. Rather, students must be assessed on the research aims/questions and methods they have chosen, which would have been done with supervisors’ and School’s support.


author email : pillaykri@ukzn.ac.za