PhD ingredients

Below are 4 parts, which should all be present in a PhD thesis document, in order to evaluate the quality of the doctoral research:

Presentation of a problem

– clearly motivated with respect to a need and to the limitations of the state of the art
– which implies a precise scientific objective (THE scientific challenge that must be tackled by the thesis contributions)

A state of the art

– that synthesized the scientific foundations of the PhD
– that introduces the existing solutions, which partly tackle the thesis challenge. This presentation must emphasize the benefits and limitations of each solution w.r.t to the thesis objective
– that can present the industrial state of practice and the limitations of these practices w.r.t the thesis challenge and objective

A scientific contribution which addresses the objective and challenge initially presented

– an idea that is new w.r.t the state of the art
– a form of implementation of the idea (a model, an algorithm, a tool)

A validation of the contribution

The validation can have different forms, depending on the nature of the contribution:
– a formal demonstration of the contribution’s quality
– a sound empirical validation of the contribution’s quality, through a set of rigorous experiments
– a demonstration of a significant improvement w.r.t the state of the art