n South African Journal of Higher Education - The voice of the external examiner in master's dissertations

Volume 28, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article reflects on an investigation conducted at the College of Education at the University of South Africa (Unisa). The article looks into the examination reports on dissertations of a number of master's students, with the aim of improving supervision of dissertations. The question underpinning the research was as follows: According to the examination reports: 'What are the scholarly expectations that external examiners have of a dissertation?' The examination reports were analysed in a qualitative interpretive research inquiry using the themes provided by Unisa, namely: exposition of the topic of research, theory, empirical investigation, conclusion and recommendations, and language and editing. The findings were used to develop guidelines for supervisors and students, and the latter may use them when writing a master's dissertation, as the findings may contribute to a passable dissertation.

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