Doctoral research is usually a difficult and long process and cannot be described in one or a few sentences. A PhD thesis is a research report. It is not ‘just writing’. The report concerns a problem or series of problems in a defined area of research. It should describe what was known about this area previously, what the particular research questions are, what the PhD student has done in order to answer these questions and what he/she thinks the results mean.
The doctoral thesis is a core element of the doctorate and a proof of independent research performance and competence of the doctoral candidate. The main quality requirement for any thesis is that it should produce a new insight or knowledge – an innovation in the field, a new scientific method or an application of a known method to a new field.
The thesis should present an original piece of research work and place it in the context of the theoretical knowledge and the literature in the field.
In principle, a dissertation can be prepared and published as a monograph or as a cumulative dissertation. Due to the rapid development in the natural sciences, it is increasingly seen as useful to write a dissertation (= cumulative dissertation) in the form of a collection of English-language scientific manuscripts / publications for international journals with a medium or higher impact factor.
At the Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS, cumulative dissertations or monographs are supervised depending on the supervisor and the thematic focus. Cumulative dissertations consist of at least 3-4 scientific articles whereby the candidate shall be a first author in at least two of such articles. These articles must meet a number of criteria, which are specified in the requirements for cumulative dissertations at the Faculty of Natural Sciences. The dissertation must be written in in English, German language can be permitted upon request and a justification. Default is a cumulative dissertation that presents the student’s own contribution meaningfully in a ‘framework text”; co-authors must agree to the use of each paper in the dissertation. The individual parts must be thematically related. There must be an introductory chapter with an introduction to the work and a final chapter in which the conclusions are drawn from all parts. A typical dissertation contains around 30-50 pages and an appendix with the core articles and supplementing material such as programming code or questionnaires etc.