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Doctoral Research into Higher Education: Thesis structure, content and completion [Kindle Edition]

Paul Trowler
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This short book is designed to be as helpful as possible for anyone who wants to create a good structure for their doctoral thesis; one in which they can be confident that they have covered all the bases.

It is not designed to create a template for thesis structure to be followed slavishly, rather it offers suggestions and advice as well as indications of where some options are low risk and others high risk when it comes to examination of the thesis.

The book is concise, while still being comprehensive and useful, at around 12,000 words (about 40 printed pages), recognising that people appreciate concision. It gives guidance on the contents of thesis chapters and subsections of those chapters, indicating what needs to be covered and how to prepare the content in the best way. An appendix points to sections in the book that are useful for those who are at the beginning of the doctoral journey and need to construct a research proposal.

There are sections in the book indicating the “deadly sins” that experienced examiners and supervisors frequently see in doctoral theses, and which can seriously damage their quality. But this is balanced this with a discussion of “valuable virtues”, giving a description of what qualities characterise a good thesis based on higher education research.

The book’s audience is doctoral students doing research into higher education, including those who are just starting out, as well as people further along in the process.

Each section covers one of the chapters that an Education doctorate which uses primary data normally contains, but also points out those areas where a non-standard approach might be better, and why (see Chapter 10).
For readability, terms which may need a fuller explanation are linked from the text to a glossary at the end of the book.

Those who want to read this book but don’t have a Kindle can download the necessary software free from Amazon and read it on a computer, tablet or smart phone.

Paul Trowler is uniquely qualified to write on this topic. He is Professor of Higher Education at Lancaster University, UK. His roles in the Department of Educational Research there include being Postgraduate Research Student Director and Director of Research for here@lancaster, the higher education research and evaluation centre.

Paul’s full CV is here:

and his Amazon profile page is here:


1. Starting at the End: Questions examiners ask (themselves)

2. Writing the Abstract

3. Structuring the Introductory Chapter
Writing Research Questions
Research Questions: The seven deadly sins

4. Contextualising the Study
Contextualisation: The seven deadly sins

5. Structuring the Literature Review Chapter
Literature Review: The seven deadly sins

6. Structuring the Method/ology Chapter
Method/ology: The seven deadly sins

7. Writing the Data Presentation and Data Analysis Chapters
Data Presentation and Analysis: The seven deadly sins

8. Structuring the Conclusions Chapter
Concluding: The seven deadly sins

9. Sequencing the Writing

10. Non-Conventional Thesis Structures

11. Successful Completion: Some pointers

12. Seven Valuable Virtues for Doctoral Success

13. Useful Resources for Thesis Writing

14. Glossary

15. Appendix: Ending at the Start: Writing a doctoral project proposal


Product Description

About the Author

Paul Trowler is Professor in Higher Education, Lancaster University and Research Director of here@Lancaster (the higher education research and evaluation centre there). He has research interests which include: enhancing student engagement; academic 'tribes' and their disciplinary territories; planning and managing change in universities; the implementation of planned change particularly related to the enhancement of the curriculum, teaching, learning and assessment; higher education policy-making and environmental change; cultures in universities; and approaches to evaluation.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 136 KB
  • Print Length: 59 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1500543063
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007W57J5K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #219,038 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic little series for PhD students 29 Mar. 2013
By RT13345
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An absolute MUST in my view. Lots of clear, useful tips. I particularly like the '7 deadly sins' of each of the major sections e.g. of the Methodology section, the Literature section, the Data Presentation section - for each of the major sections. I'm really pleased that I've read 3 of these booklets now, as my proposal has just gone in ... and these have been invaluable ... not only for the proposal, but will used be as my research and the thesis gets underway.

I'll go as far as saying that if you read nothing else on 'how to', this particular little gem has to be 'it'.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly short and to the point! 3 Sept. 2014
This is a great and super useful book. I originally bought the Kindle edition, but it's so useful I then bought the paperback. It's very small (about 50 pages) - a real plus if you've still got a daunting pile of other books to read for your literature review! It's a great help for getting a clear idea of how to structure your thesis, written by someone with a great deal of experience in phd examining. And the '7 seven deadly sins' for each chapter are brilliant! A great little book to keep to hand.
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Format:Kindle Edition
The best ever analysis and explanatory guidance on how to write an Academic Resaerch on Doctoral Research into Higher Education.
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