PhD thesis should be carefully planned and formulated in a project. During the Part-time Doctoral Studies, due to the time constraints, it is necessary to adopt a systematic approach. During the development of the project, students must be aware of the typical stages of doctoral dissertation:
- Question or research problem. It must be determined what is the scope of issues we are interested in and what we wish to know about those issues.
- Observation, description and background of the issue. Students should observe and collect information on the issue and the environment in which it exists.
- Formulation of the hypothesis providing an explanation for observations. Students should be able to check the hypothesis by, e.g. measurements, testing. The hypothesis should help to answer the initial question.
- Designing experiments. This means determining how to test the hypothesis and what tests (model) will provide answers for the question posed.
- Verification of the hypothesis and collection of data from experiments. Independent experiments for the verification of the hypothesis and model should be conducted. Data should be collected in order to repeat the experiment, for example.
- Interpretation and analysis of results. Students should think about the implication of the results which have been obtained, whether they confirm or reject the hypothesis. At this stage it may be necessary to return to the previous stages to reformulate the research problem or hypothesis.
- Publish the research results. The research results should be published in journals or at conferences. The summary of the research results should be included in the PhD thesis.
- Students may find the methodology of scientific research explained in an accessible way in, e.g. in: [Luis M. Camarinha-Matos: Scientific research, methodologies and techniques, Unit 2: Scientific method, PhD program in electrical and computer engineering, 2009-2012].