Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Menu
Search the Staffnet siteSearch StaffNet
Search type

Continuation reports

Students should begin planning for their Continuation Report and Viva well in advance of the milestone deadline.

Assessors will be looking and testing for the following evidence:

Knowledge and Understanding

  • You have an understanding of the research area and its importance
  • You have an understanding of the relevance of your research
  • Your research is based on a clear research question that is original and/or addresses an area of controversy
  • Your research aims, approach and methodology are appropriate to address your research question

Progress-to-date

  • Your proposal and progress to date demonstrate the potential to reach the standard required of your research degree programme (PhD, MD , MPhil)
  • You understand the methodology to be applied to your research project
  • You have made reasonable progress in addressing your aims, including completion of taught units where applicable

Future plans

  • Your future objectives are feasible within the timeframe remaining on your programme and you will have produced sufficient results for the programme on which you are registered
  • You have considered and developed contingency strategies in case your research project fails to generate sufficient results

Assessment of written and oral communication skills

  • Part of the assessment at continuation will take the form of an oral examination (viva). In the viva the assessors will be testing your ability to provide a robust defence of the different points above.
  • Your examiners will also comment and assess the presentation of your Continuation Report. They will be looking for consistent presentation, formatting, minimal errors (in terms of typographical mistakes or missing figures) and appropriate and consistent referencing

Guidance on referencing is attached to the Continuation / Transfer Report Meeting milestone profile.

Structure

Continuation reports can be written in one of three ways, depending on your student's discipline area, structure of the first year of their programme and the amount of research data they have collected.

  • Traditional masters thesis style - written in the style of the final thesis. Can form chapters of the final document.
  • Literature review and journal paper format - part of the work is presented in the form of a journal paper. This can then be used in the final thesis if written in journal format style.
  • Research protocol - a research proposal and critical appraisal of the literature, study design, methodology, and future plans.

Traditional masters thesis style

The main sections of the report are:

  • Preface - should state which format the report will follow and a brief explanation of why this is appropriate given the structure of the programme, status of the research, etc.
  • Abstract - should be a succinct summary of the report that is no more than one A4 page in length. It should include a brief background, aims and objectives, methods, results and discussion.
  • Contents - this should include section heading, list of figures, tables and abbreviations.
  • Introduction - should review the background for the literature for the project, identify the question posed by the study and set out the immediate aims of the research. It is appropriate to update the initial Literature Report to use as the basis of the Introduction.
  • Methods - should describe in detail the methodology that has been established and developed, including validation procedures, together with an explanation of the data handling and analysis procedures that have been followed.
  • Results - data should be presented in an appropriate format to highlight major findings and principal comparisons. Figures and Tables should have adequate legends so that they can be interpreted without having to read the report.
  • Discussion and conclusions - should address initially the comparability of the data that has been obtained with that already available in the literature. This is essential to build confidence in the methodological approach that has been used. The results should then be related to comparable work of others. The Discussion should return to the initial aims set for the work to assess the extent of achievement and discuss how successful the student has been in achieving their aims.
  • Summary of future work - should provide an outline of remaining work, how the work can be achieved and a timeline. Also included should be a section on contingency planning and the alternative avenues of research, etc. that might be followed if obstacles are encountered in the original plan.
  • References - should be cited in the text in a consistent format and listed in the Reference section in a consistent and recognised style (suggested Harvard). The use of bibliographic software (e.g. Endnote or reference manager) is strongly encouraged to insert and automatically format the references. All references must be entered into such a database.
  • Appendices (if required)

Literature review and journal paper format

The main sections of the report are:

  • Preface - should state which format the report will follow and a brief explanation of why this is appropriate given the structure of the programme, status of the research, etc. The student should also clarify any collaboration relating to the work, particularly when using the journal format structure.
  • Abstract - should be a succinct summary of the report that is no more than 1 A4 page in length. It should include a brief background, the aims and objectives, methods, results and discussion.
  • Contents - should include section headings, list of figures, tables and abbreviations.
  • Literature review (may also be in the form of a journal paper) - should review the background for the literature for the project, identify the question posed by the study and set out the immediate aims of the research. This review may be in journal format or an update of the Literature Report.
  • Journal paper - content will be determined through discussions with the supervisory team. Students are advised to prepare a paper with a particular (and relevant) discipline journal in mind. For some disciplines a systematic review may be appropriate.
  • Summary of future work - should provide an outline of remaining work, how the work can be achieved and a timeline. Also included should be a section on contingency planning and the alternative avenues of research, etc. that might be followed if obstacles are encountered in the original plan.
  • References - should be cited in the text in a consistent format and listed in the Reference section in a consistent and recognised style (suggested Harvard). The use of bibliographic software (e.g. Endnote or reference manager) is strongly encouraged to insert and automatically format the references. All references must be entered into such a database.
  • Appendices (if required)

Research protocol

The main sections of the report are:

 

  • Preface - should state which format the report will follow and a brief explanation of why this is appropriate given the structure of the programme, status of the research, etc. The student should also clarify any collaboration relating to the work, particularly when using the journal format structure.
  • Abstract - should be a succinct summary of the report that is no more than 1 A4 page in length. It should include a brief background, the aims and objectives, methods, results and discussion.
  • Contents - should include section headings, list of figures, tables and abbreviations.
  • Introduction - should give a brief overview of the area and why it is important. The student should review the background for the literature for the project, identify the question posed by the study and set out the immediate aims of the research. The gap in knowledge that the thesis will address should be clearly articulated. It is appropriate to update the initial Literature Report to use as the basis of the Introduction.
  • Research protocol- Research Methodology and Methods - The aims/objectives of the proposed study should be clearly stated.
    • Potential methodological approaches should be critically debated and the rationale for the choice of methodology/method provided. Plans for recruitment, sampling, data collection and analysis should be described with appropriate justifications for the decisions made. If a mixed method study or multi-stage study is being proposed then explanation needs to be given on how different approaches/stages will complement one another.
    • If empirical work (e.g. a pilot study) has commenced at this stage then sections describing sampling, recruitment, data collection, data analysis and (preliminary) findings/results and discussion can be included in the report.
    • The ethical issues relating to the study should be identified (including how NHS/University Research Governance procedures will be met). How issues of rigour will be addressed in the study should also be considered.
  • Timetable and summary of future work - a timetable for the completion of the PhD should be included. The discussion of future work should also incorporate a section on contingency planning and the steps, alternative avenues of research, etc that might be followed if obstacles are encountered in the original plan.
  • References - should be cited in the text in a consistent format and listed in the Reference section in a consistent and recognised style (suggested Harvard). The use of bibliographic software (e.g. Endnote or reference manager) is strongly encouraged to insert and automatically format the references. All references must be entered into such a database.
  • Appendices - search strategies, outcome measures, interview topic guides etc can be included as appendices if appropriate