How to Write a Doctoral Thesis

Tuesday, 15 February 2022, 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. on Zoom

This talk intends to help advanced doctoral students facing the challenge of completing their doctoral theses. For many people, the thesis looms as a huge and insuperable obstacle that presents problems they have never faced before. In fact, while producing a satisfactory thesis is never an easy task, it can be made very much easier if it is broken down into its constituent elements. The talk begins with a discussion of what a thesis is and what it is not, particularly the importance of “originality” in most formal definitions of a successful submission. It discusses the overall shape of the thesis and the constituent elements that together make up a satisfactory submission. In particular, it considers the “literature review” and stresses that this has to be more than a simple list of everything you have read that is at all related to your topic. It offers advice on the order of writing and on the importance of keeping in mind the intended audience and the pressures they are under. The aim is to de-construct the doctoral thesis to demonstrate that, with proper organization and self-management, its completion is well within the competence of any young researcher.

COLIN SPARKS is Emeritus Chair Professor of Media Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University. He has written extensively on several aspects of the mass media, including tabloidization, globalization and media in transitional societies. His most recently published work, undertaken in collaboration with Chinese scholars, has been about the impact of digital technologies on mainland Chinese newspapers and journalism.

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Organized by Centre for Media and Communication Research and Research Postgraduate Studies Program, School of Communication and Film