BOARD OF POSTGRADUATE STUDIES
GUIDELINES FOR PREPARING RESEARCH THESES
Research theses contain different features dictated by their mother disciplines. The differences give them discipline peculiarities. However, there are common salient features across all academic disciplines. These include: -
¨ The preliminaries
¨ The main text
¨ The references
Each of these has its unique components viz.
I THE PRELIMINARIES
These preliminaries include:
¨ The cover - black or grey in colour.
¨ Spine - candidates surname and initials, the abbreviation for the degree. Writings from top of spine to bottom.
¨ Pagination: Bottom centre
¨ Margins: 1.00" right; 1.00" left and l.00" bottom.
¨ Maximum 300 pages.
¨ List of candidate's publications (options): to appear as an appendix.
¨ Legends/Titles: tables - top
- figures - bottom
¨ Chapter headings must be x 12 font bold capitals (upper case) and centred.
¨ Sub-section headings must be bold lower case.
¨ All text must be in Times Roman size 12.
¨ The spacing should be 1.5
¨ The first line in a new paragraph must be indented 5 spaces.
¨ The title page.
¨ The declaration and recommendation page.
¨ Copy right - page.
¨ Dedication page (optional).
¨ The Abstract.
II THE MAIN TEXT:
A candidate will choose any of the following two options.
A. Option 1
The main text is composed of:
-The background to the problem.
-The statement of the problem.
¨ The objectives.
¨ The Hypotheses/premise/Research questions.
¨ The justification/significance of the study.
¨ The Scope and limitations.
¨ The Literature review.
¨ The theoretical framework.
¨ The methodology/materials and methods.
Chapter 5 and 6
¨ Conclusions & Recommendations.
¨ Appendices (optional).
B. Option 2
¨ Chapter 1: General introduction same as option 1.
¨ Chapter 2: General literature review.
¨ Chapter 3, 4, 5 etc.: According to topics/experiments or papers. Each consists of:
¨ Brief introduction
¨ Literature review as pertains to that section only
¨ References relevant to that section only.
Under this option repetitions of literature review must be avoided and if this is not possible,
the thesis must be written as under option 1.
III THE BIBLIOGRAPHY
Referencing format: ABN system; Titles of papers should be provided.
References consists of cited quotes only.
IV THE APPENDICES
These consists of questionnaires, transcriptions and list of candidate's relevant publications. Analysis details and relevant raw data.
IV. SUGGESTED OUTLINES:
1. TITLE PAGE:
¨ This should bear the title of the thesis in capital letters followed below by the full names of the student.
¨ The title should be short, precise, concise and clear. It should relate to the subject matter of the thesis. It should also be captivating.
¨ This is followed by the following: "A thesis submitted to the Graduate School in partial fulfilment for the requirements of the … (Name of the degree) … Degree in … (Name of the Discipline)… of Egerton University" should follow the title.
¨ Finally, the month and the year of presentation should be included.
2. THE DECLARATION AND RECOMMENDATION PAGE:
¨ On this page, the candidate should swear that the work is original and has not been presented for the award of any another degree elsewhere. This should be followed by the supervisor(s) declaration that the work has been presented with their approval.
3. THE ABSTRACT:
¨ Almost one page.
¨ At most two paragraphs.
¨ Background to the problem.
¨ Pagination of all the above should be in lower case Roman numerals.
¨ The introduction of the thesis should be brief and clear.
¨ It should give the reader an insight into the whole work, thereby acting as a summary of the same.
¨ It comes before the Literature Review and hence exposes views of other authorities in the subject. In a nutshell, it portrays the relevant aspects of the thesis such as the problem and significance of the study.
5. BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
¨ This is what culminates into the scholar's curiosity to study the subject.
¨ A well-laid down context of the background to the study brings up a sound understanding of the topic of research.
6. THE STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
¨ This is the nerve-centre of any research work, which should be adequately comprehended by the researcher at the onset.
¨ The problem must be clearly and conspicuously stated in just one paragraph.
¨ It should be clearly focused, without unnecessary preambles and ambiguity.
7. LITERATURE REVIEW
¨ This is a selective and critical survey of the written works of the subject area. It includes personal communication, articles, books, published and unpublished papers (thesis only), literature from newspapers and unpublished works to be limited.
¨ It is a critical analysis of the selected works that reveals what has already been researched on exhaustively and the missing links that need to be filled through further research.
¨ It provides background information, which jump-starts the research exercise.
¨ It is useful in providing the theoretical framework(s) that subsequently conceptualise the fieldwork results.
¨ Above all, it buttresses the researcher's statement of the problem by revealing that the area of study is untouched.
¨ Literature review is, therefore, a must, and should be exhaustive, thorough, critical and informative and current.
8. JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
¨ Research being expensive in both in terms of money and time, it is imperative that its relevance is established at the onset in order to save the researcher unnecessary expenses.
¨ One should prove that the research findings would be beneficial to the targeted consumers besides making a contribution to the existing knowledge.
¨ A hypothesis is a guiding principle to an argument that culminates into valid and reliable conclusion.
¨ In the physical sciences, the hypothesis should be measurable in the final stages.
¨ Conversely, in the social sciences the hypothesis is difficult to measure, hence it remains a principle of assumption subject to confirmation through research.
¨ These are the aims and goals of a given research. They provide the intellectual scope of research work.
¨ Objectives should be focused on the research problem in order to yield relevant data.
¨ They should be stated in such a way that they align with the hypotheses and research questions.
11. RESEARCH QUESTIONS:
¨ Like objectives, properly structured and implemented research questions yield useful and relevant data.
¨ The questions should, therefore, be structured to bring out the clarity and the relevance of what the researcher aims to achieve. Long and complicated questions should be avoided.
¨ The questions should properly relate to the hypotheses or objectives of the study.
¨ A candidate chooses either hypothesis or research questions but not both.
12. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK/CONCEPTUAL FRAME WORK
¨ This contains theories that exist on tackling a given research problem.
¨ In establishing a suitable theoretical framework, the researcher should consider both out-dated and modern theories, reveal the merits, demerits and limitations of each.
¨ The researcher should then choose either one whole already established framework, or a modification of one or several frameworks for solving the research problem at hand.
¨ The choice of the framework should be convincingly justified. A clear mental plan or contemplation on how to steer the work and should be shown here.
¨ This section is important because it relates and co-ordinates the literature review, the problem, the significance of the study and the objectives to the applied methodology.
13. ASSUMPTIONS (OPTIONAL)
14. SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS:
¨ This is a review of the extent the research has taken. It is pegged on the geographical and intellectual area of study, the time taken, the resources used and the research design.
¨ It justifies what, when and why the work was done as expressed.
¨ It portrays the established results under the given circumstances.
15. METHODOLOGY/MATERIALS AND METHODS:
¨ This is the procedure used in eliciting data from the field of study. It includes data analysis and compilation.
¨ Research design, sample population, research instruments.
¨ Also includes description of the study location.
¨ This section should be well written in order to justify the validity and reliability of the study.