What does originality in research mean? A student’s perspective
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What does originality in research mean? A student’s perspective

Mandy Edwards PhD student, University of South Wales Cardiff, UK

Aim To provide a student’s perspective of what it means to be original when undertaking a PhD.

Background A review of the literature related to the concept of originality in doctoral research highlights the subjective nature of the concept in academia. Although there is much literature that explores the issues concerning examiners’ views of originality, there is little on students’ perspectives.

Review methods A snowballing technique was used, where a recent article was read, and the references cited were then explored. Given the time constraints, the author recognises that the literature review was not as extensive as a systematic literature review.

Discussion It is important for students to be clear about what is required to achieve a PhD. However, the vagaries associated with the formal assessment of the doctoral thesis and subsequent performance at viva can cause considerable uncertainty and anxiety for students.

Conclusion Originality in the PhD is a subjective concept and is not the only consideration for examiners. Of comparable importance is the assessment of the student’s ability to demonstrate independence of thought and increasing maturity so they can become independent researchers.

Implications for research/practice This article expresses a different perspective on what is meant when undertaking a PhD in terms of originality in the doctoral thesis. It is intended to help guide and reassure current and potential PhD students.

Nurse Researcher. 21, 6, 8-11. doi: 10.7748/nr.21.6.8.e1254

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 10 June 2013

Accepted: 29 August 2013

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