Half-time review

The half-time review shall be carried out for every doctoral student who is aiming for a doctoral degree when two years of full-time doctoral education or the equivalent has been completed.

Purpose

The purpose of the half-time review is:

  • to give the students a chance to obtain feedback on what has been done and what has been planned from experienced researchers independent of both project and supervisor 
  • to identify any areas in need of improvement 
  • to serve as an educational element
  • to inform the department of the students’ progress

The half-time review is not an examination. Its focus is on progress, feedback and learning rather than results, assessment and control. 

When?

Please note that the timing is important! The half-time review shall take place when the doctoral student is half-way through his/her studies. There are no requirements regarding completed manuscripts or published articles. Instead, it can be even more useful with a half-time feedback if the project is not following the plan. 

It is important out of learning perspective that the doctoral students take courses early in their education. Therefore, some course must be taken before half-time, preferable during the first year. See the general syllabus for more information. If a doctoral student has not achieved the half-time course requirement, the study director must be advised when notified of the up-coming half-time review.  

Overview of the half-time review routine

Appr. 2 months ahead of half-time seminar:

  • Doctoral student writes a half-time report.
  • Literature review through iThenticate.
  • Doctoral student and supervisor discuss scientific writing and ethics.

Appr. 5 weeks ahead of half-time seminar:

  • Notification to the department, use form 5.
  • Supervisor opens a new version of ISP (keep revision mode open until after seminar)

Minimum 2 weeks ahead of half-time seminar:

  • Doctoral student sends required documents to the half-time committee.
  • Department advertises the half-time seminar.

HALF-TIME SEMINAR

After seminar:

  • Doctoral student and supervisor follow-up issues raised at the seminar.
  • Revising the ISP.
  • Upload to ISP system:
    • Half-time report written by the doctoral
    • Half-time record (protokoll).

(ISP = individual study plan)

See also flow chart

Notification of half-time review 

The doctoral student notifies the department of an up-coming half-time review by filling in part 1 of Form 5, Half-time review, and giving it to the administrator of doctoral education at the department. A Ladok transcript is attached. 

The director for doctoral studies appoints the half-time committee by signing the form, where after the doctoral student can send the required documents, see below, to the appointed committee. 

Please note that before notifying the department, the doctoral student and his/her supervisor must have a discussion regarding scientific writing, see iThenticate below, and regarding ethics and ethical permits. The doctoral student and supervisor certify in the form that these discussions have taken place.

See the flow chart over the half-time review for an overview of the different steps involved. Note that the principal supervisor must open a new version of the digital individual study plan before the half-time review.

Half-time report

Before the half-time review the doctoral student should compile a half-time report. Use this template (follow the instructions in the template). 

The half-time report consists of: 

  • a literature review of the research field
  • a status report of the doctoral education project 
  • a status report on the learning progress relative to the learning outcomes of the doctoral degree 
  • a plan for the remainder of the studies 
  • a text reflecting upon ethical considerations

iThenticate 

The doctoral student must run their literature review, part of the half-time report, through the anti-plagiarism tool iThenticate in preparation for a discussion with their supervisor(s) on scientific writing. The discussion should cover issues such as reference management, plagiarism, self-plagiarism and copyright. Note that this must be done before notifying the department of the half-time review (see the flow chart).

The purpose of this step is to increase the knowledge regarding scientific writing among doctoral students, and in the long term increase the quality of the doctoral theses. In addition, to give doctoral students and supervisors useful experience in interpreting iThenticate reports.   

Since the half-time report is not part of an examination or being a publication, there are no consequences in the case of plagiarism is found in the literature review, other than the supervisor realize the need for more education regarding scientific writing. Note, that this is different from when plagiarism is found in manuscripts, publications or in thesis frames, where plagiarism could be considered as scientific misconduct and/or as cheating. 

The iThenticate report is not included in the documents sent to the half-time committee, but the doctoral student must be prepared to answer questions from the committee regarding scientific writing and plagiarism  

Documents to be sent to the half-time committee

The doctoral student should send the following documents to the half-time committee by no later than two weeks before the scheduled half-time review:   

  • The half-time report
  • Copy of the individual study plan (ISP)
    • Digital ISP: A print-out of the updated ISP, see below
    • ISP as paper document: Copy of the latest version of the ISP + a Ladok transcript (Note that the individual study plan should be transferred to the digital ISP system in conjunction with the half-time review)
  • The research plan
  • Copy of ethical permits (the decisions, not the applications)
  • Completed publications and manuscripts planned for inclusion in the thesis, if any
  • The document: Information to the half-time committee
  • Copy of approved notification of half-time review, see Notification of half-time review above

Regarding ”print-out of the updated ISP”:

The digital ISP is automatically updated with the latest registrations in Ladok when a new version is created. The study plan should then be kept in revision mode until after the half-time review (see After the half-time review below). The ISP is in revision mode until both doctoral student and supervisor has approved it. Note that it is only the principal supervisor who can create a new version in the ISP-system.  

What happens at the half-time review? 

The half-time review comprises a seminar and an ensuing follow-up meeting. 

Seminar

The half-time seminar consists of a presentation given by the doctoral student in English followed by a question and answer session involving the half-time committee and audience. The presentation is to summarise the results and planned continuation of the student’s doctoral studies in relation to his/her individual study plan. 

The half-time seminar is public and advertised internally. 

Follow-up meeting

  1. The half-time committee meets with the doctoral student, his/her supervisor(s) and, if present, his/her mentor. One of the members of the committee is appointed chairperson. 
  2. The following points are discussed with reference to the student’s individual study plan, the half-time report and the half-time seminar: 
    - Doctoral student:
      - Progress towards realising the intended outcomes of a doctoral degree 
      - Progress towards independence 
      - Overall performance at the half-time seminar 
    - Doctoral education project:
      - Progress and time plan
      - Plans for remaining education 
    - Supervision:
      - Scope and structure
      - Plans for remaining education 
    - Courses and other learning activities:
      - Plans for remaining education 
    - Ethical matters
  3. After the discussion, the student and his/her supervisor leave the room in turns for the committee to hold separate meetings with each to discuss their views on their collaboration, working conditions and communication. If the student so wishes, his/her mentor or other person (e.g. a doctoral student representative from the department) may also take part. 
  4. Afterwards, everyone reconvenes, at which point any issues raised during the preceding private meetings can be addressed. 
  5. Once the student, supervisor, mentor, etc. have departed, the committee goes through the comments and recommendations entered into the record form, paying particular attention to the last box – i.e. if there is any reason to recommend the department to carry out an additional or more detailed follow-up of the student. 

Half-time committtee

After the proposal from the doctoral student and supervisor, the director of doctoral studies appoints a committee of three members. The committee must comprise postdoctoral researchers who are independent of the project and who possess adequate subject knowledge. At least one member must belong to a different department to the student’s (applies from 1 January 2020). It is an advantage if one of the members later sits on the examination board at the student’s public defence.  

The committee’s responsibilities:

  • To prepare itself by reading the half-time report and other documents that the student submits by no later than a fortnight before the scheduled seminar.
  • To take active part in the half-time seminar by asking relevant questions related to the intended learning outcomes and science, and to initiate discussions.  
  • To provide feedback and recommendations through discussion and by completing the record (part 2 of form 5) at the follow-up meeting.
  • To explain to the department any weaknesses and challenges that emerge at the half-time review. 

After the half-time review 

The doctoral student and supervisor(s) should have a meeting booked after the half-time review to discuss issues raised at the seminar. At the same time, they should go through the individual study plan (see Checklist for annual follow-up) and discuss any need for revision. Unless the department inform otherwise, there is no need for another “annual follow-up” the alleged year. 

Note that doctoral students with an ISP on paper should transfer it to the ISP system in conjunction with their half-time review.

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