First, here is a brief summary of our requirements (in SHESC) for a three-article dissertation:
- The dissertation will consists of an introductory chapter, three article-chapters, a conclusion, and a single bibliography.
- The paper must be considered publishable by the committee. This includes evaluation of the appropriateness of the target journal.
- If the student has gathered a significant amount of data that will not go into an article, then the data should be presented in an appendix to the dissertation
- Divides the thesis into manageable sections
- Less of a big push at the end to get the thesis done
- Professional critique and feedback at an early stage
- Articles improve one’s CV, and gives you a head start on publishing from the thesis.
Here are some positive quotes from the comments on the Thesis Whisperer blog post"
For mine, the greatest advantage is that I now don’t have to sit down and write publications associated with my thesis.It would be fairly hard for examiners to say that your research is crap when it has already been peer reviewed.What this discussion raises for me, or reminds me of, is that too often PhD students spend so much time on this one research project that they end up having narrowed their vision of the field that they are in. In addition, their actual amount and breadth of experience with research methodology is quite brief, because the research methods utilised and analysis of data/results is limited in scope. I would argue that a PhD by publication can not only be rigorous, due to the peer review process, whether internal or external, but it also likely demands that the student demonstrate a variety of research skills across a number of research studies. The PhD by publication is much closer to the real life work of a career academic, where quantity of publications is a ‘fact of life.'
- The format may not fit all dissertation topics
- Can be looked down on by humanities-oriented scholars or disciplines
- Can be looked down on by older, more traditional scholars
- Can be a big delay if all of the articles must be PUBLISHED before the Ph.D. is granted.
- The dissertation is less useful as a doorstop.
Here are some negative quotes from comments on the Thesis Whisperer post:"
I was strongly advised against it as the monograph plus 1 or 2 article is still the expected norm within English departments. I asked the same question, PhD by publication or PhD as monograph, at a conference a few months later where three scholars in my field (from UK, Australia and USA) gave a seminar for post grads on the job market, and was virtually scoffed at for even suggesting that a PhD by publication was a possibility in English.
I was incredibly surprised at the range of (often strongly voiced) opinions that academics and university administrators, as well as PhD students, have on the issue of PhD by publication. I’ve seen people having angry, loud arguments (particularly in the social sciences) about whether a PhD publication is a positive development for the academy. I think the reason for the divergent opinions is that this issue goes to the very heart of what we think scholarship should be about. The monograph model suggests that good scholarship should be based on an ability to produce an in-depth, book length analysis of a given issue, whereas the publication model tends to correlate more closely to existing research evaluation frameworks, which value large numbers of papers more highly than other forms of research output (such as books).
So, here are some things to consider in making a decision about whether the three-article dissertation is right for you:
- Check your university regulations. Some British institutions (based on the comments on the Thesis Whisperer post) require the three articles to be completely published before the thesis is accepted (obviously a potentially dangerous source of delay). Some institutions promote this form of dissertation, others try to restrict it. Check your options.
- Is your archaeology more science- or humanities-oriented. The 3-article dissertation is definitely a development in the sciences, and it is more widely accepted in scientific disciplines. Humanities-oriented archaeologists, perhaps Classicists, who have spent their whole career on one type of building in one time period may be less likely to approve of the 3-article format. If you have such people on your committee, or if you intend to apply for jobs in programs consisting of such scholars, you may want to go with the traditional dissertation format.
|Theses nailed to the wall in Uppsala|