PhD theory thesis

Research update #63: Where to put theory in the thesis

Spreadsheet describing name, key points and structure of doctoral theses

Hi everyone with an interest in Research – I’ve spent a few days poring over theses related to edvisor themes trying to work out how people talk about theory (and methods) and where they actually put this stuff in the structure. So I figured that I’d share what I found in the attached spreadsheet.

There are more than a few theses from the US – I guess just by virtue of population – and my notes may be scratchy (ID is instructional designers, by the by) but maybe there is something of value for people in this community in there. (I highlighted in blue the ones that I thought might be most useful in my research but you may have other interests)

In brief – mostly people (in my sample and my area of interest) put information about theory in the introduction chapter and they may expand on that a little in the subsequent lit review. Very few people at all have a separate theory chapter – though if some people are very theory focused or developing their own they might. A few people also checked back in on theory in the discussion section – sense checking their findings against what the theory suggests.

As I worked through these 40+ theses, I wished that I had done this many years ago but I also suspect that, at the time, I didn’t know what I didn’t know and it might have been a little overwhelming. (Also I feel that there were fewer options in my specific area of research interest, which seems to have exploded in recent years)