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Your Thesis: literature, ethics, methods and publishing

Which type of thesis should I do?

There are four primary types of thesis:

  1. The first is the conventional or critical thesis which tends to include an abstract, introductory chapter, review of the literature and thesis objectives, a chapter describing each of the studies along with a general discussion of the findings, their implications and the overall contribution of the thesis to the literature.
  2. The second approach is to do your thesis by publication. As the name suggests, a thesis by publication involves publishing your studies as you go, and compiling the published papers into your thesis which will also include introductory and linking chapters to explain how the series of studies provides a coherent body of work.
  3. The third type of thesis is called a creative work plus exegesis. Theses in the creative arts (visual arts, media arts, performing arts and creative and professional writing) may be presented in one of two forms: a conventional critical thesis, or a thesis comprising creative work and a supporting written exegesis (an exegesis is a critical explanation of a creative or literary work).
  4. The fourth type of thesis is called a folio. The folio should be a coherent selection of work carried out by the candidate, not simply a collection of unrelated pieces. It will normally include original evidence, a critical account of the methodology, a selective and critical review of relevant published research, and evidence of relevance to professional practice in the field. It may consist of one document or several, consisting of a selection of the products of research that establish the candidate's claim to have carried out research of doctoral standard.

Check out the links below for further information:


Find examples of non-traditional theses

As well as conventional critical theses, you can use DRO to find previous examples of Deakin theses that have been done in the form of a creative work plus exegesis or by publication.

  • Use “Advanced Search” to do an “All Fields” search for either “thesis by publication” (with quotation marks) or "exegesis".
  • Scroll down to “Document Type” and select “Thesis”.
  • Consider focusing your search using the “Field of Research” field (e.g. “creative writing”).

This approach is not 100% accurate—some manual sifting will be required—but should ultimately produce a range of relevant results.

You can perform similar searches:

OATD in particular produces a substantial number of relevant results in each category.


Books - working with a supervisor

The below titles devote content to the processes involved in working with an academic supervisor.


Tips - working with an academic supervior

The success of your thesis is to a considerable extent dependent upon the quality of the relationship you develop with your supervisor. The following links provide excellent information and advice regarding what you can do to get the most out of the supervision experience:

The top 10 ways to annoy your supervisor!
Humorous but very useful advice on what not to do!

The student-supervisor relationship
Excellent resource offering tips for students from getting to know your supervisor and different supervision styles to making the most of meetings

Ten types of PhD supervisor relationships – which is yours?
Helpful, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, 2016 article from The Conversation (includes links to recent Australian and international sociological research about supervision)