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Doctorial Thesis


A doctorial thesis is a major writing project that one undertakes in order to receive one's doctorial degree. A doctorial thesis consists of two primary parts: the development of an idea and the defense of that idea.

Idea development includes not only topic selection but also all research. Doctorial theses serve as an opportunity for candidates to make a meaningful contribution to their academic fields. As a consequence, the candidate may spend a great deal of time and effort on selecting a topic that is unique and viable, and, because the topic is unique, the student may perform a great deal of primary research in order to create support for the idea. Primary research will demand different things depending on the academic discipline, but it can include inventing one's own equipment for conducting a particular experiment, traveling to the British museum or to archaeological digs, or becoming proficient in dead languages in order to read ancient manuscripts.

Candidates perform the defense portion of their doctorial theses in two arenas: the written dissertation and the oral defense in front of a panel of experts. One should learn everything available about the subject before sitting down to write, and one should write his or her opinions on that subject in a competent, compelling way that persuades readers to regard those opinions as fact. Then, the candidate goes before a group of experts, who have read the thesis and are often skeptical about the candidate's ideas, and convincingly answers any questions the experts may have. This oral defense requires the candidate to know unwaveringly every detail of the doctorial thesis and of its research, because the experts may ask any question that is even remotely relevant to the subject at hand.

If the student successfully develops an idea that contributes to the academic field and convincingly defends the viability of that idea in both the written and oral portions of the doctorial thesis process, he or she will receive a doctorial degree.


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