Protocol of Thesis Writing
It is an introducing write up submitted for approval of a thesis only and is not written for publication. It should be framed according to the following format.
- Introduction —- Two or three sentences to introduce the subject.
- Significance —- Which should explain the reason for choosing the topic, the main reason may be;
- A common ailment
- Rare but interesting problem
iii. Inadequately studied aspect of a disease.
- An innovation.
- Method of working —- which should explain criteria for selection and exclusion, controls, blind, double blind trial, method of tabulation and calculations, use of computers and duration of follow up.
- A brief resume of the existing literature on the subject with references.
- Copy of the Performa which will be used.—- Before starting work on the thesis, a research protocol or synopsis on the topic should be submitted for approval.—- The research protocol should be of about 1200 words (4-5 pages of A- 4 size) on the topic highlighting important aspects of the study including its purpose, material and methods. The research protocol should be submitted with a covering letter signed by the candidate and supervisor.
- The work on and writing of Thesis / Dissertation should be done under the direct Supervisor approved by the University or the licensing Authority of the candidate’s own country.
- A supervisor must possess the qualification like FRCP, FRCS, diplomat of the American Board or equivalent qualification recognized by the licensing Authority of the candidate’s own country.
- Supervisor must have at least four years of Post fellowship experience in the relevant specialty.
- If the candidate changes the supervisor, candidate should immediately inform the University or its authorized Campus or Representative in writing.
- A supervisor can take up to four candidates for supervision of Research.
- When the thesis is completed, the supervisor must endorse it through certification.
‘It is a detailed Discourse on a subject specialty submitted for a Higher Degree in a University.’
Topic of thesis:
This can be done in consultation with the candidate and the supervisor as well. The topic already taken up in the past years should preferably be avoided. Please refer to the ‘Examples of Thesis Topic Brochure’ or University website link for the topic selection. Candidate should choose and send six different topics pertinent to come to final after university approval.
The request for topic can be channeled through the Supervisor, stating supervisor’s willingness to directly supervise the candidate’s work and approval of his / her proposed work and its topic.
The Candidate can select a topic of his / her own interest which must be most prevalent in the community because , a rare disorder will not be accepted by the University and depending upon the specialty, one must identify a subject of one’s future interest.
Thesis should be of 100-150 pages of A-4 sized paper.
- Typed on one side with double spacing.
- There should be a uniform margin of 3 cm at the top, bottom, right and left sides of every corner.
- There should be no typographical or spelling mistakes.
- Each and every page should be serially numbered in the upper right corner.
- Photographs are interspersed with the text, charts, tables and other illustrations are given separately at the end.
- These are numbered and also marked in the text.
- Abbreviations should never be used. Only standard abbreviations should be used and while using them the word for which it stands for should be mentioned like Acute Myocardial Infraction ( AMI ), Coronary Artery Disease ( CAD ), because PID may mean ‘Pelvic Inflammatory Disorders’ or ‘Prolapsed Inter-vertebral Disc’ while the candidate might have used it for ‘Paediatric Infractions Diseases’.
- Graphs and illustrations should be used as these are more convenient to follow.
- Information given in the graphs and illustrations should not be repeated in the text.
- Computer print-outs must be clear and Use of dot matrix printers must be avoided.
- Abbreviations like Pts, +ve, -ve, wks, Mths, yrs should not be used, but complete full words like Patients, Positive, Negative, weeks, Months and years should be written.
- Candidate should have to be specific and précised and nothing should be left to imagination. e.g., the statement ‘majority of the patients in this study were below the age of 40 years’ should preferably be written as ‘70% of the patients were below the age of 40 years’.
- In the beginning of a sentence or a paragraph, always write the figures in words.
- If the number of case studied are too small to have any statistical significance, may be rejected by university.
- In case of suspicion or fraudulent data or thesis material, university can ask for the raw data of the study from the candidate and details from the institution where such a study has been conducted.
- Poorly typed thesis will not accepted by the university.
- Spelling errors, grammatical goofs, language mistakes might become the basis for rejection of even properly arranged thesis material with good technical data.
- Each section of thesis like Introduction, Patients and Methods, Results, Discussion and References should start on a separate page.
- Title page should have the complete title or topic of thesis, name of the candidate along with his/her academic qualifications, Institutional attachment and postal address.
- Language used should be simple, direct and precise.
- Direct quotations should be minimally used.
- When used, quotations should be within inverted commas and should always be acknowledged.
- Unacknowledged adaptation, too many quotations or too much text book material will be discredited.
- Collection of old clinical records by others, in which the candidate has not taken part, will not be acceptable.
- Photographs should be sharp, glossy black and white prints sized 5” X 7” the letters, numbers and symbols should be clear.
- The number of the photograph should be indicated on top of the figure with an arrow to identify upside of the picture.
- Paper clips should not be used as they spoil the pictures.
- Figures should not be bent or mounted on cardboard.
- In case, the photographs of some persons are used, either the subjects must not be identifiable or their pictures must be accompanied by written permission to use their photograph.
- Black and white films can be obtained from colored photographs.
- Using scanner technology a very sharp and clear results can be obtained.
- Free hand or typed written lettering will not be acceptable.
- If a figure has been published already, due acknowledgement to the original source should be made.
- Legends of illustrations must be typed on a separate page.
- All the photographs and illustrations should preferably be drawn in equal size.
- Each table should be typed in double space on a separate sheet.
- Tables should not be submitted as photographs.
- Internal, horizontal and vertical rules should not be used.
- Data used from published or unpublished source should be acknowledged.
- There should be no blank space in the table.
- Graphs can be used as an alternative to tables but there should be no duplication in data, in graph and tables.
- Charts and tables should be understandable so that if presented, they could impart total information without reference to the text.
- Photomicrographs should have internal scale marks.
- Symbols, arrows or letters used should contrast with the background.
- Measurements of length, height, weight and volume should be reported in metric units (meter, kilogram or liter) or their decimal multiplies.
- Temperatures should be given in degree Celsius. Blood pressure should be given in millimeters of mercury.
- All haematological and clinical chemistry measurements should be reported in metric system in terms of International System of units (SI).
Title page should include the topic of thesis, first’ middle’ initial’ and last name of the author (candidate), highest academic degree of the candidate, name of the supervisor with his/her highest academic degree, name of the department and institution where the work was done, the date of the submission of thesis and the name of the university.
Title should never contain any abbreviation, chemical formulae, propriety names, Jargon and the like.
Review of the Literature:
- It is an essential part.
- It should be a collective review and any critique in the candidates own words of various view points supported by relevant data.
- The review should be properly referenced.
- The method of citing references in the text and listing cited references at the end of the text are describe in succeeding paragraphs.
Abstract –should not be more than 150 words. It should contain the essence of introduction, the purpose of study, the methods, specific results, their statistical significance and the main conclusions.
Structured Abstract-Should not be more than 250 words and the pattern should contain objective, design, setting, patients/subjects/material, intervention, main outcome measures, result and conclusion.
Design- a concise methodology according to the type of study chosen should be given.
- Study may be retrospective when it is based on past patients and their records or prospective when certain patients are selected and followed over a period of time.
- Selection of patients could be random or based on certain criteria.
- The method of data collection is related both to aims and objectives of the problem being studied and to the research design being followed.
- Basic method of data collection are by observation, interviews, questionnaires, measurements, project techniques or by using written information from existing records and reports.
- After collection, collected data should be critically analyzed.
- Data analysis is the process by which the researcher summarizes and interprets data to conclude to various references.
- Qualitative data should be summarized as rate, ratios, proportions and percentages, while quantitative data should be summarized by other measures e.g. mean, median, mode, standard deviation, standard error.
- Interpretation of data summaries is extracting the meaning from the data.
- Data can be presented in various ways like tables, graphs(linear or logarithmic axes), bar charts, pie charts, histograms, pictograms, scatter diagrams, etc depending upon the nature of data.
- Result should be in logical sequence with the main results being stated first.
- Data should be reported in sufficient detail to justify the conclusions.
- Results and conclusions are best arrived through mathematics.
- Discussion the result of the study should be examined and interpreted, and implication and limitations described.
- Similarities and differences between the finding of the study and those of others should be brought out and explained through a review of the literature.
Conclusion: This should be the last section of the text in which conclusion or inferences drawn on the basis of the results of study are described. The conclusion should be linked with the objectives or purpose of the study. Recommendations for the need or implications for further research may be included.
Conclusions and recommendations should be in conformity with the results.
First section of thesis should comprise of the basic Sciences in Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Immunology, Genetics etc. About 10-15 % of the final bulk of thesis should suffice as per requirement of the thesis.
Next section of thesis should give the aims and objectives of the chosen study. It should be precise, to the point and definitely relevant to the subject.
In any research on human beings, each potential subject must be adequately informed of the aims, methods, anticipated benefits and potential hazards of the study.
The doctor should obtain the subjects freely given informed consent, preferably in writing.
Basic human rights should not be violated.
Confidentially of subjects must be maintained.
Names and Initials of patients in the study or their hospital numbers should not be used especially in an illustrative material.
It can be added at the beginning or at the end of the thesis.
Names of the colleagues, statistician, the computer operator and spouse if applicable while highlighting one’s gratefulness to the supervisor.
Work on thesis should be started as soon as possible after receiving approval of topic and synopsis by the university.
The topic and research methodology should be the same as approved in the research protocol.
When the dissertation / thesis is completed and before it is submitted, the supervisor must endorse it through certification.
Four copies of dissertation or thesis should be submitted on loose pages secured with spiral binding.
Permanent binding will be done by the candidate after acceptance of thesis.
Thesis must be accompanied by bank draft of 60 USD as evaluation charges.
If the thesis is not submitted on time, the candidate will have to submit his/her thesis for the next coming session.
Under unusual circumstances which are fully justified, delay up to maximum of two weeks may be permitted. In this case, late fee at the rate of USD per week will have to be paid by the candidate.
After submission, the thesis is examined by Assessors approved by the university. After assessment, the thesis may be accepted as such or returned to the candidate with the comments of the Assessors for making changes or corrections according to the Assessor’s comments. In such a case, the candidate should re-submit the thesis as soon as possible after making the required amendments. OR thesis may be rejected, in which case the reasons for not accepting it will be communicated to the candidate accordingly based on which the candidate may be required to amend or correct the thesis or parts of it, or rewrite the entire thesis.
When approved, a Certificate of Approval of the thesis will be issued by the university (will be pasted on thesis)
After its submission and approval, the thesis becomes the property of the university.
Once the thesis is submitted, it cannot be submitted to any other institution for any other Postgraduate Diploma or Degree.
Annexes: Detailed description of any material used should not be included in the main text to avoid distraction. One or more annexes may be added. All annexes can be included only when they increase the understanding or evaluation of the study.
In the Harvard system, references are given alphabetically regardless of chronology. In the text, name of the author and a year of publication are given in parenthesis, unpublished observations and personal communications should not be included in the references.
While writing references, accuracy in the spellings must be ensured for names, title of the article, name of the journal or the book, year of publication, volume number and page number as each reference is of critical importance.
In case of books, the number of edition, the publisher’s name and the name of the city where publisher is located must be mentioned.
Index medium is a standard source of references.
References cited only in tables, figures or legends should be numbered in accordance with the sequence established by the first identification in the text of the particular table or figure.
Avoid using abstracts references.
Uniform requirements style (the Vancouver style) is based largely on an ANSI standard style adapted by the NLM for its databases.
A reference may be accompanied by brief and relevant quotation from the text.
Prospective studies —- Such studies start with the cause and move forward to the effect.
Retrospective Studies —- These are backward looking in that they start with the effect and go back to the cause. Major advantage of this study is that the data have already been collected. But these are many disadvantages e.g. the data may have gaps or be incomplete, lost, damaged or inaccessible, or the recorder may not have been willing or able to observe and record accurately, without bias.
Descriptive Studies —- In this, researcher assembles new characteristics of an individual, a group, a situation or a phenomenon or examines the frequency with which an event occurs or is associated with another event.
Descriptive studies are of two types —- Cross sectional studies —- if the observations are made at one point and longitudinal studies —- if the observations are repeated on the same group of patients / community over a prolonged period of time.
Cohort Study —- Subjects of the population called cohorts are followed over time to use if they develop disease. Cohort studies are either prospective or retrospective. In prospective study exposed and unexposed individuals are followed as regular intervals to learn about the development an extent of disease.
It is an observational study of a group of people with a special characteristic or disease who are followed –up over a period of time to detect new events. Comparison may be made with a control group. No interventions are normally applied to the groups.
Cross sectional study —- It is a study for a survey of the frequency of disease, risk factors or other characters in a defined population at one particular time.
Intervention Study —- Experimental studies or clinical trials are referred as intervention studies.These can also be viewed as prospective cohort studies, because the participants are identified on the basis of their exposure status and followed to determine whether they develop the disease and what is the effect of study drug.
Therapeutic trial —- This is conducted among patients with a particular disease to determine the ability of recurrence or decrease risk of death from that disease.
Prevention trial —- This type of study involves the evaluation of an agent or procedure for reducing the risk of developing disease among those who are free from that condition. Thus a preventive trial can be conducted among healthy individuals.