Tuesday, 19 February 2008

The Return Of The Thesis

Almost a year after I submitted my PhD thesis for examination (in February last year), it has been returned to me, and the end is truly in sight.

When I submitted my thesis I acknowledged the possibility that the examiners might request major revisions, and as the months passed by this was always in my mind: what if my thesis came back and I needed to rework it, would I have time to do it? Over the last couple of months, as work has become more and more demanding, I realised that I simply wouldn't have the time or mental concentration to do it until after L.A. Noire is shipped. And with this growing realisation, perversely, I became resigned to the certainty that the examiners would request a resubmission. The long delay seemed to stretch inevitably toward this conclusion.

The examiners' reports arrived along with a copy of my thesis. I knew Russel had sent my thesis to world-leading researchers in my field - throughout my PhD Russel had what I couldn't help believing to be greatly misplaced faith in my ability - and he wouldn't consider anything less. I knew what these exalted examiners would say: they would tear my thesis apart. I took comfort in the thought that at least it would be someone important crushing my hopes of a future in research.

So when I opened the examiners' reports and began to read, it was with pounding heart and trembling hand and terrible anticipation. Actually, I couldn't bring myself to read the written reports at first, so I carefully peeked at the front page of each report form, where there were tickboxes for "no ammendments", "textual ammendments", "revise passages", "substantial revisions", or "fail". First report... textual ammendments. Second report... textual ammendments. Third report... no ammendments! I could hardly believe it: somehow I'd made it through.

Over the next couple of days I worked up the courage to actually read the reports, and found that on the whole they are very positive. The reviewers each suggested a few minor editorial-type changes, which I agree with.
Moreover, two reviewers listed my thesis in the top 10% they'd examined! One reviewer wrote that I have "made a good contribution to the scientific knowledge, and the volume of work produced is more than enough for a Ph.D. degree in the field".
Another wrote that my thesis "makes significant contribution towards a better understanding ... has all the good ingredients for it to be popularly used in the near future," and "is an example of an impressive and scientific piece of work".
And the last wrote that "the thesis encompasses several big topics that are very rich in information... nevertheless, the author does a very good job describing each of these topics in great detail... and making contributions in all of them."
I'm particularly chuffed at mention of being "scientific", which I value very highly!

So I've gone from nearly despairing to being quite proud :) I'm currently reading through it again, a bit at a time on the train ride between home and work, marking out corrections in the margins as I go. Soon I'll get it all loaded onto my computer and make the changes, and then figure out how to get it printed and sent back to the research office, and then... done!


Thomas said...

Congrats again Nick!

Anonymous said...

That's fantastic news about the thesis Soon-To-Be-Dr Nick! Well done :P Tanya