Confirmation of candidature is a formal milestone for all Higher Degree Research (HDR) students. This confirmation of candidature is a presentation that usually occurs within the first year of full time HDR enrolment. The HDR Skills Development Program covers confirmation of candidature.
There are two main sections of this confirmation process.
1) A written report and 2) a panel seminar
The written report will give an in-depth insight into your research proposal, identifying key areas that you will address in your project such as knowledge gaps and research significance. Word lengths vary depending on your enrolment in HDR as a Masters or PhD student. This will be submitted prior to your panel presentation.
The panel seminar will involve you presenting your work in an oral format, usually accompanied by a slideshow. Here you will go over the key details as discussed in your written report. Time limits vary depending on your enrolment in HDR as a Masters or PhD student. Read more about Confirmation of Candidature Guidelines here.
The written report has a word limit, suggesting every bit of information you nominate to put into it, has to be critical to your research proposal. This written report should be broken down into more manageable sections, which will help with writing it and the flow of the work to reduce miscommunication. Here’s some concrete tips for doing a good job:
- The title of your thesis gives a large indication of what your research is about, make sure this is clear and direct.
- Give a concise overview of the project. This will allow for the audience to understand the proposed area of the research study.
- Identify the research questions you will ask. This gives the audience a guideline to your main aims.
- A background on the current literature will help solidify where your research can be applied, and what new knowledge this will contribute to the field. This background will also help with your justification and significance of your project which should be made clear.
- Your research approach needs to be made very clear. What paradigm are you using? What methodology will you follow? How will you collect and analyse data? And more importantly, why have you chosen these methods, what is your justification for choosing them?
- What are the ethical issues that may be raised by the project? You need to consider the participants and yourself as a researcher.
- What is the proposed budget? Are there scholarships, grants, or financial help involved?
- What is the timetable for completion? Do you have big and small goals? This is quite an important aspect of the presentation because one of the major guidelines the panel will be looking at is, ‘Is this project manageable enough to be completed on time?’.
These section themes are included in the Confirmation of Candidature Candidate Guidelines help sheet.
The panel seminar has two main parts. Your spoken presentation, and question and answer (Q&A) time.
The audience for the seminar includes the panel members, your supervisory team, representatives from relevant industries or communities, and peers and academics across the university.
To plan and prepare for the panel seminar, it is recommended that you talk about each of the main topics in your written report. The seminar should follow a logical flow, with clear articulation of the aim, purpose, justification, and contribution of knowledge that your research will bring.
A great way of checking if you have addressed the criteria, is to mark your work against what the panel is looking for. These questions are included in the Confirmation of Candidature Candidate Guidelines help sheet.
After your panel presentation, the panel members along with your supervisors will deliberate your presentation and written report. You will not be present for the deliberation and receive one outcome. There are four possible outcomes that can be recommended:
- Confirmed subject to minor conditions
- Confirmation deferred
- Not Confirmed
All of these outcomes will be accompanied by a written report by the panel to the candidate, within five days of the presentation. In the case of a candidate being ‘Not Confirmed’, they will be invited to Show Cause. Read more about showing cause here.
Before submitting the written report and conducting the panel presentation, you will need to notify the graduate school that you have an Intention to Confirm Candidature.
For further information on the guidelines of the Confirmation of Candidature, click the following link, or contact the HDR Office.