Maria Kaguhangire Barifaijo, & Gerald Karyeija, PhD

Uganda Management Institute

CITATION: Barifaijo M.K & Karyeija G, (Jan, 2016). Dynamics in Doctoral External Examination: Is it Quality or Formality at Play? "An Evidence-Based Paper": International Journal of Social Sciences & Education. Volume 2 (1), 17-43. ISSN 2105 6008.


Internationalization and quality assurance requirements are driving universities into competitive pressures to gain acceptable standards for a competitive edge globally. Joint supervision, examination moderation and external examination are some of the endeavors made. The paper analyzes the conventional criteria used in the selection of external examiners in a bid to enhance quality. Globally, external examination is intended to promote reputation, quality, institutional profiling, and also to fulfill national quality assurance frameworks. However, the authors find incongruence during selection processes that are critical for its purpose. Characteristics such as methodological expertise, discipline-related competences and training orientation have more often been disregarded. Instead, experience, and the reputation of an individual and or the institution the examiner works have been adopted. The paper therefore attempts to answer the following question:

(1) why are there challenges with external examination?

(2) What are the quality related issues with external examination? And

(3) What are the culminating implications?

To address these questions, the authors have advanced The Attribution Theory.Using in depth interviews and reviewing several documents, the authors have found more unrest and frustration in this arrangement than the quality it intends to achieve. Whereas different institutions apply different judgment criteria, literature has found a common specification by all institutions to be an “original contribution” required of a candidate..The paper concludes that inadequate networking systems, economic conditions and the “hello” effect may have rendered external examination less effective in Ugandan Universities, which has influenced the outcome of external examination process.

Key words: accomplished thesis, doctoral candidates, doctoral examination, examiner consistency, external supervision and examination, graduate education, higher education internationalization, public defense, supervision and thesis assessment.

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