Methods of Doctoral Research Examined by UKZN Academic

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A paper by UKZN’s Professor Dev Tewari which was published in the global Higher Education journal, University World News, explores what doctoral research model works best for developing countries.

The paper is titled: Examination of doctoral theses/dissertations: Models, practices, and guidelines.

The research provides an analysis of two current models of dissertation/thesis examination; American and European/British and their philosophical rationale. It brings out the key differences between two models and suggests that there is a need for synchronisation of dissertation examination procedures and standards across the countries as globalization proceeds.

Tewari, who is attached to the School of Accounting, Economics and Finances, said the idea for the research came about when he noticed the difficulties university students experienced trying to produce ground-breaking research while doing their PhDs.

‘When I was the deputy Dean of the then Faculty of Management Studies in 2009 and got to deal with thesis problems, I realised there is confusion when it comes to which models of the theses is being used. There were two models, the European/British and the American and each is very different.  I thought it would be great to compare the two and weigh their pros and cons,’ explained Tewari.

‘With the American system you have to do two years of course work, many hours of written work and oral examinations in addition to the research examination. When it comes to the European/British model you concentrate on research with the guidance of your supervisor, which is a less costly option. This in my view is the best model which is why we are currently using it at UKZN,’ said Tewari.

Not willing to slow down after balancing five years of research with his academic duties, Tewari – who has already published five books on forestry – is currently writing a book on Higher Education titled: Investing in Education in South Africa. The book focuses on education as a key resource for the economic growth and development of the country.