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Content and form of the pilot study

In terms of content, the pilot study should be designed to form an integral part of the dissertation, EITHER as the introduction OR as an article OR a dissertation chapter. The pilot study should not take the form of a research proposal; it needs to be a coherent, independently readable, non-fragmentary text.

In the case of an introduction, the pilot study should outline the main problem and research questions of the dissertation, as well as the theoretical framework, methods and objects used to address this problem and research questions in an innovative manner. It should also demonstrate the PhD candidate’s ability to engage critically with existing scholarship.

In the case of an article or chapter, the pilot study should demonstrate the PhD candidate’s ability to clearly present and analyse one or more case studies in relation to the central research question(s) of the dissertation project and should articulate where the innovation of the analysis lies. It should also demonstrate the PhD candidate’s ability to engage critically with existing scholarship. 

In formal terms, the pilot study should be:

  • between 5,000 and 10,000 words in length;
  • a coherent, independently readable text with a beginning/introduction, middle/body and end/conclusion and a clearly developed argument;
  • professionally presented (spell-checked, with a consistently used reference system and a full bibliography).

Any questions about the pilot study and the evaluation on the part of the PhD candidate, the supervisors or the external reader should be addressed – as soon as they arise – to the ASH Office (