Know your enemy—understanding thesis examiners

Abraham Lincoln said ‘the best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend’. With respect to thesis examiners, the opposite is closer to the mark—the best way to destroy a friend is to make him or her an enemy. ‘Friend’ and ‘enemy’ are hardly accurate descriptions of the relationship between a candidate and an examiner, but it is fair to say that the majority of thesis examiners want to receive a thesis they can confidently pass and are disappointed if it is not up to standard, rather than being on the ‘attack’ from the outset. Understanding what is expected of examiners and how they approach examination can help you make the process easier for them, and the …

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