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28.12.09. How not to write a PhD thesis

Last two months 2009 Tara Brabazon, an academic supervisor for PhD students and the author for THE, examined three PhDs through the final two months to their doctoral submission. She offers insights to postgraduates who may be in the final stages of submission her ten tips for failing a PhD. These are:

  • Submit an incomplete, poorly formatted bibliography;
  • Use phrases such as “some academics” or “all the literature” without mitigating statements or references;
  • Write an abstract without a sentence starting “my original contribution to knowledge is…”;
  • Fill the bibliography with references to blogs, online journalism and textbooks;
  • Use discourse, ideology, signifier, signified, interpellation, postmodernism, structuralism, post-structuralism or deconstruction without reading the complete works of Foucault, Althusser, Saussure,
  • Assume something you are doing is new because you have not read enough to know that an academic wrote a book on it 20 years ago;
  • Leave spelling mistakes in the script;
  • Make the topic of the thesis too large;
  • Write a short, rushed, basic exegesis;
  • Submit a PhD with a short introduction or conclusion. Read more