Half-time review

The half-time review shall be carried out for every doctoral student who will be taking a doctoral degree and should be carried out two years after admission or 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.  

Notification of half-time review 

Starting from 1 January 2020, the doctoral student notifies the department of an up-coming half-time review by filling in Form 5, Half-time review (notification and report). The doctoral student and the supervisor fill in part 1 and give the form to the administrator of doctoral education at the department. A Ladok transcript should be attached. 

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

Please note that before the form can be submitted, the doctoral student and his/her supervisor must have had a discussion regarding scientific writing, se iThenticate below, and a discussion regarding ethics and ethical permits

See the flow chart over the half-time review for an overview of the different steps involved. 

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 

It is mandatory for all doctoral students after 1 January 2020 to run their literature review through the anti-plagiarism tool iThenticate in preparation for a discussion with their supervisor(s) on scientific writing, covering such issues as reference management, plagiarism, self-plagiarism and copyright. Note that this discussion must be done before form 5 is handed in to the department (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 submitted to the half-time committee

Doctoral students are to send the following documents to the half-time committee by no later than two weeks before the scheduled half-time review:   

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. 

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