European / International Joint Ph.D. in
Social Representation and Communication

Typologies and "Conventional" Book Format Thesis

1. Typology and format of the thesis

The Doctoral thesis of the European/International Joint PhD research trainees can be of two types:

  1. Thesis founded upon empirical research: works based on collecting and/or analysing empirical data on individuals, groups, organisations, etc. by using one or more methodologies of collecting data (observation, experiments, data of archives, etc.) and analysis of data (quantitative multivariable techniques, qualitative techniques).
  2. Thesis founded upon theoretical research

In the following section instructions for the format of the thesis are described.

Some instructions are valid for the empirical research as well as for theoretical research (see below part 2. General Instructions). Other instructions differ depending on whether they refer to the empirical or to theoretical research (see below part 3. Specific Instructions).

2. General Instructions

2.1 Double Format and Length of the Full and Short Versions of the doctoral thesis

The thesis consists in a Full Version (a.1. or a.2) and in a Short Version (b).

a) The full doctoral thesis is aimed at presenting a comprehensive vision of the study/research work conducted during the PhD. It should be of at least 150 pages, excluding the bibliography and appendix. It can be in two alternative formats:

a.1. the “conventional” Book Format (see details in this webpage)

a.2. the “three papers” Format (see details in the dedicated section

b) The short version of the thesis in the Article Fomat is aimed at presenting the concise summary of the whole thesis and must be understandable without references to the extended version of the thesis (both conventional or three-paper model). It should be written in a format ready for submission to an international journal.
The short version should conform to the length and standards set out in the dedicated section 

NOTE: Regardless on the format chosen - conventional or three-paper model - a short version of the thesis should be submitted by the same deadline indicated for the full thesis.

2.2 Language

  • The full report of the PhD thesis (in the alternative Book Format or Three Papers Format) may be written in a national language of the country where the doctorate is being pursued or, preferably, in ENGLISH
  • The short version of the thesis (in the international journal Article Format) should be in ENGLISH

2.3 Print format
The text should be written using any of the most generally available word-processing programmes (Microsoft Word, Office, Exel, PowerPoint), using the following formal conventions to edit the text (corresponding to 3000 characters on a page):

  • Character Font : TIMES, for the text in font 12; for the bibliography in font 10;
  • Margins : left: 4,5cm; right: 3 cm, superior and inferior: 3cm
  • Spacing: 18pt;
  • Printing: recto/verso
  • Page numbering: Arabic numerals, bottom of the page and centred

The full version and the shorter English version should be submitted both in hard and digital copy. The preferred word processing package is Word.

2.4 Delivery address: The full version and the shorter English version of the PhD should be sent in hard copy to Professor Annamaria de Rosa, European/International Joint Ph.D. in Social Representations and Communication Research Center and Multimedia Lab, Piazza Cavalieri di Malta 2, 00153 Rome, Italy. The final copy will be formated according to the standard of the European/International Joint PhD in Social Representations and Communication.

2.5 Tables and figures
Tables and figures are to be inserted as soon as the layout permits after the text in which they have been cited or commented upon. The tables and figures should be numbered according to their order in the text and separated from each other (the figures in Arabic numerals: Fig. 1, Fig.2, Fig. 3 etc.; the tables in Roman numerals: Tab. I, Tab.II; Tab. III, etc.). The legend below the table or figure should explain what is represented (e.g. Fig. 5 -- Number of students/research participants/persons who passed the test, related to variable age). If the figure is a graph, the x axis and the y axis must be clearly labelled as well as any caption relating to the different variables represented. The tables may have a title with clear reference to the rows and columns and where appropriate to the table footnotes, which are to explain the content.

2.6 Standards for bibliographical citations and format of the bibliography
All the authors should be cited who during the process of researching and writing of the thesis were: Considered when developing ideas; quoted to substantiate an opinion or illustrate an empirical result or comment on a result; or used in planning a research etc. The citation must include the author's surname and the year of publication of the book or the article, e.g. Sperry (1968), or (Sperry, 1968). When a direct quotation from an author is made in the text, it should be put between quotation remarks and should include a reference to the page(s) of the work cited. For example: "hegemonic representations as those being shared by all the members of a highly structured group-a party, city or nation- without their having been produced by the group" (Moscovici, 1988, p.221) Where there are more than two authors, in the first instance all names should be cited, thereafter in any further citations the abbreviation et al. can be used; e.g. Gazzaniga, Berlucchi & Rizzolatti, 1967, and thereafter Gazzaniga et al., 1967.

Where reference is made to more than one work by the same author published in the same year, the indications a, b, c should be used. For example: Bogen (1969a) and Bogen (1969b).

The bibliographic references must be placed at the end of the text, with the surnames of the authors in alphabetical order first and then chronologically for the works of each author (using the indications a, b, c, etc. where reference is made to more than one work by the same author published in the same year). In the bibliographical references abbreviations should not be used.

The bibliographical references should follow the APA Format-6th Edition (see the attached guidelines for examples)

2.7 Structure and organisation of the thesis
The full doctoral thesis must consist of the following parts:

  • Cover page: All in English, setting out the name of the institution, the title of the thesis, the year of enrolment, the first name(s) and family name of the national tutor and the two foreign supervisors, the name of the candidate and the academic year in which it is to be presented. The model to be used is available at:
  • Acknowledgment to any sponsor(s) of the research contained in the paper, along with grant number(s) and eventual disclaimer
  • I.P.R. Agreement
  • Outline: Containing the content of the thesis in chapters and paragraphs with the corresponding page numbers. The thesis must be divided into chapters and paragraphs (and if necessary into sub-paragraphs), all of which must be enumerated in the following sequential fashion: 1, 1.1, 1.1.1, 1.1.2; 1.2, 1.2.1, 1,2.2; 2,2.1, etc.
  • Abstract: Containing a brief description (Max. 2 pages) of the objectives and the results of the research and acknowledgements that may be due.
  • Keywords: four to five keywords should be listed below the abstract
  • Thesis: (See points 3.1 and 3.2 below for details of the specific requirements as they relate to an empirical or a theoretical thesis).
  • Bibliography: Containing a complete list of works consulted and referred to in the text as set out in point 2.6 above.
  • Appendices (where relevant): Containing detailed information of the various aspects of the empirical research and how it was compiled (e.g. a copy of the instructions and explanations relating to the research participants, the materials and/or the methodology of the experiment, the questionnaire or weighting method employed, tables with raw data, transcriptions of audio material and or video recordings etc.)

3. Detailed Instructions

3.1 Thesis founded upon empirical research
A thesis founded upon empirical research must be arranged in chapters and paragraphs. The description of this requirement set out in the General Instructions above does not preclude the possibility of further sections, the addition of more specific paragraphs or subparagraphs as appropriate to the methodology adopted in a particular case.

  1. Theoretical context with references and introduction: This section must cover the relevant literature (domestic and international) that is directly pertinent to the aims of the study undertaken and the theory or theories to which reference is made. In particular in this section the problem addressed by the research must be briefly expounded, and it is necessary to present a reasoned and critical review of the studies that the doctoral researcher has consulted that have contributed to the definition of the hypothesis and method of the empirical research. It is necessary therefore always to cite all the authors and studies upon which the thesis is based.
  2. Objectives and hypotheses: This section should clarify, on the basis of the current state of knowledge, how the empirical research may contribute to knowledge of the argument to be addressed. It is necessary therefore to illustrate the objectives and the hypotheses, clearly distinguishing general objectives with specific aims (therefore listing them as A, B, C, etc. and a.1., a.2, a.3. etc.; b.1, b..2. , b.3. etc.). The same for the hypotheses.
  3. Method: This section should aim to describe as precisely as possible what has been undertaken during the course of the research (it is advisable to write in the past tense). The scope of this part is twofold: First, the objective is to put the reader in the position of precisely understanding the research in all its essential aspects; (subject matter, tools, time-scale, variables, analyses, etc.). The second objective is to put the reader in the position of being able to assess the validity of the reported conclusions and the method used to achieve them. This part can also be outlined in the subsequent paragraphs, in which the relevance of the methodology employed in the research must be explained (experiments, observations, simulations, indications of an ethnographic nature, archive data, tested data, etc.):
    1. Research participants: Describe how many research participants have been contacted, how they were found and selected. Describe their characteristics, in particular those that are of relevance for the work in hand (e.g. age, sex, etc.).
    2. Research Context: Describe the characteristics relevant to the research context (e.g. time, location, infrastructure supporting the research, collaborative research team if any, etc.).
    3. Tools: Describe the characteristics of the tools employed to gather the data and measure the variables. For example, if a map of behaviour is used, describe the generative criteria, the number and content of the items, the form of the responses, any previous validations, etc. If an interaction has been observed by the interviewer-interviewee, any observation grids, the classification of observed events and any audio/ audio-visual technology employed, should be described.
    4. Procedure: Describe the sequence of the following phases used to compile the empirical data: namely what was done ( e.g. the administration of the questionnaire) and how it was carried out ( e.g. in groups, individually, auto-administration, etc.).
    5. Codification: For example, describe the categorisation system - how it was defined and constructed, on the basis of which the codification of the empirical data was arrived at and/or the system to transcribe and codify the interview data and /or the system used to attribute the score to the data originating from the codification of the open questions or observations. In all these cases, always specify the theoretical criteria on which the codification is based and any signs that have been agreed by the codifiers.
    6. Variables: Describe the variables considered in drawing up the research, indicating where necessary the significance attributed to each one of those where a hypothetical relationship exists (e.g. independent and dependent, etc.).
    7. Analyses of the data: Describe the computational operation used to obtain the results. In particular describe the mathematical transformation and any calculations of indicators used starting from the raw data and /or describe the statistical analysis used (specifically the type of software) and the level of significant divergence; and /or describe the method with which they have been interpreted or regrouped in qualitative data obtained for example, from in-depth interviews or from observations, etc.). The details of the techniques employed must be described in this section and not in the section dedicated to presenting the results.
  4. Results : Describe what resulted from each one of the propounded objectives or of the defined hypotheses. It is important to describe the most important results and significance through the presentation of the collected empirical data, organised in tables and /or graphs and /or extracts of transcriptions, etc. The statistically significant results must be supported by evidence with their level of significance according to convention. Avoid going into the details of statistical analysis that will obscure the significant results obtained. Avoid wasting space by presenting results that are not relevant to the outcome of the proposed objectives.
  5. Discussion: In this section it is necessary to explain the relation between the results obtained and the introduction/background theory and the hypotheses upon which the research is founded. It is necessary to explain the theoretical significance of the results obtained (having already described the details in the preceding chapter) underlining whether they confirm - or not - or at least part of the defined hypotheses and commenting on them in relation to the results obtained by other authors (as probably already mentioned in the introduction). It is important to try to highlight the weaknesses as well the strengths of the research.
  6. Conclusions: This part should synthesise what has been contributed by the research to the knowledge about the subject expounded in the introduction and any potential for the further development and /or application in the field of research.

3.2 Thesis founded on theoretical research
A thesis founded on theoretical research must be divided into chapters and paragraphs. Also in this case the outline proposed here comprises the compulsory part but does not preclude the possible later addition of other sections.

  1. Introduction: The objective of this section is to set out the reasons for having chosen the particular subject, its relevance in the international literature from a theoretical, methodological or technical standpoint and its status in an international context.
  2. Objectives: This section should aim to outline the intentions of the research ( e.g. a critical reconstruction of the historical development; analysis of the method and the research technique; the goals of the research and its application, etc.)
  3. Method: Explain the source of the bibliographic category for the chosen subject (books, periodicals, professional literature, documents, etc.) and the sources actually consulted; declare the criteria for analysing the sources (chronology, the theoretical or historical reference context, the methodology employed, the fields taken into consideration, etc.) and the criteria for presenting the materials used.
  4. Results: This is the section where the materials consulted are able to put in order the subject, the time-scale, the method, the theoretical reference context according to the pre-stated objectives. The presentation of the materials consulted must be accompanied by a note of critical analysis and comments which it is possible to evince the contribution of the doctoral candidate to the reappraisal of the subject matter and the documents studied.
  5. Conclusions: This final section is to describe the contribution of the research undertaken to the state of knowledge of the problem propounded in the introduction and any potential development and /or application in the area of research explored. In this part it is desirable, for example, to highlight the possibilities of developing the projected research and /or guidelines for a project that would involve further development of the goals addressed by the theoretical research undertaken.