Guidance on the thesis process for trainees (2014 cohort and onwards)

The thesis is the largest piece of research work that trainees undertake. It requires considerable planning. This section tells you how to go about planning for your thesis.

Initial proposal form for thesis project

After the Introduction to the Thesis teaching session the trainee will identify three broad topic ideas and email these to the research co-ordinator in October. The trainee will then be allocated an academic research supervisor from the programme team. The trainee then drafts a thesis proposal form (see appendix below) with the input of their supervisor(s). This form is to be completed in the first part of the second year. This proposal will be reviewed and the trainee informed of the outcome.

Ethics committee proposal(s)

For trainees to plan their research time effectively, it is vital that they are ready to start work on their project by October of the third year. This means gaining approval from relevant ethics committee(s) well before October in the third year. Therefore, it is recommended that trainees make applications to relevant ethics committee(s) as early as possible. This is to allow time to make any alterations ethics committees require, taking into account the fact that some ethics committees do not meet as frequently over the summer. Supervisors would expect to see one complete draft of the ethics application before submission, including copies of measures and draft information sheets and consent forms.

Custodianship of the data

Please note that your thesis supervisor will act as the data custodian throughout the life of the project.

Funding for research

Trainees may wish to consult the policy on funding for research, which can be found in the online handbook.

Literature review

To assist trainees in writing the literature review in good time, supervisors would expect to see the following:

Draft literature review structure. This should be no more than a couple of pages of A4, and should contain the proposed title of the literature review and any subheadings, together with brief outlines of what issues each trainee is planning to discuss under each subheading. This should enable trainees to plan the overall structure of the literature review. Supervisors would expect to see this draft literature review structure in the first part of the third year. At the same time, supervisors also need to see the name of the target journal that is being considered for the literature review and the notes for contributors for that journal.

A first complete draft of the literature review should normally be completed and handed in to supervisors by mid-December of the third year. It should be a complete first draft, written in the format of the target journal, containing a title page, abstract, literature review, any tables/figures and reference list.

A second complete draft of the literature review should normally be completed and handed in to the research team by the end of February of the third year. It should be a complete second draft, written in the format of the target journal, containing a title page, abstract, literature review, any tables/figures and reference list.

Research paper

To assist trainees in writing the research paper in good time, the research team would normally expect to see the following:

By the end of December of the third year, the name of the target journal that is being considered for the research paper and the notes for contributors for that journal. This is to ensure that trainees begin writing the research paper in the appropriate format for their target journal. However, a trainee may find that he or she wishes to change the target journal at some point; this is not a problem as long as the new target journal is acceptable to the research team.

A first draft of the introduction and method of the research paper should normally be completed and handed in to the research team by the end of January of the third year. This should be written in the format of the target journal, and should also contain a title page and a reference list of the references cited in the research paper so far.

A complete draft of the research paper should normally be completed and handed in to the research team by the end of March of the 3rd year. It should be a complete draft, written in the format of the target journal, containing a title page, abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, tables/figures and reference list.

Critical appraisal section of the thesis

The research team would normally expect to see a first draft of the critical appraisal, completed and handed in to the research team by the end of March in your third year. This should be written in the format of the target journal used for the research paper, and should also contain a title page and a reference list. Given that the critical appraisal contains reflections on the whole thesis process, it is usual to leave this section to the end to write.

The Thesis

The research team would normally expect to see a complete draft of the thesis by the end of April of the third year. This should contain all the constituent parts of the thesis, including a cover page, word counts, the declaration, acknowledgements, contents pages, the literature review, the research paper, the critical appraisal, the ethics committee proposal, and appendices. Please also refer to the consistency framework for details of support.

Presentation guidelines

Following the submission of your thesis, you will be required to give a short presentation of your work to fellow trainees, supervisors and members of the wider faculty. This should be thought of as a public presentation and copies of the presentation will be made available afterwards to the public through the course website. You should bear this in mind when choosing what to present and include on your slides.

Examples of previous presentations can be found on the programme website.

Electronic submission in the library

Trainees are required to submit an electronic copy of their thesis to the University Library using an online system. More information about this can be found on the eTheses guide below.

Thesis proposal form (2014 cohort onwards)
Thesis proposal form (2014 cohort)
Research expenses
eTheses Guide