1.5 Key dissertation ingredients
A number of ingredients are essential for a satisfactory dissertation:
a thesis, i.e. one coherent overriding ‘story’ or argument
situation in existing knowledge, i.e. a critical review of prior research which motivates and justifies the research question
contribution of something new
appropriate voice and argument, i.e. the provision of clear and explicit evidence, substantiation, and chain of inference.
More hangs on the student's ability to demonstrate intellectual maturity and critical depth (and through them to provide insight) than on the scale or scope of the research findings. A good PhD is based on an honest report of research that reflects sound practice and well-articulated critical thinking.