The preliminary examiners must submit to the faculty a separately or jointly written statement in which they either
a) Recommend that the doctoral candidate be granted permission to publicly defend the dissertation in its current manuscript form or with minor corrections that the supervisor can approve
b) Find that the manuscript contains deficiencies that are serious enough for them not to be able to recommend that the doctoral candidate be granted permission to publicly defend the dissertation
A preliminary examiner may also require that the doctoral candidate make corrections to the manuscript which the preliminary examiner then approves before providing a statement recommending the granting of permission for the public defence. After approving the corrections, the preliminary examiner must submit to the faculty his or her final statement on the manuscript.
The Faculty Council decides on granting permission to defend the dissertation based on the preliminary examiners’ statements. Hence, it is vital that the preliminary examination be thorough and that the author be required to make the necessary corrections and additions before the statement on the permission to defend the dissertation is prepared. However, the preliminary examiners are not dissertation supervisors. In the case one of the publications is a finished manuscript and not submitted for publication, the preliminary examiners should pay particular attention to the quality of this article in their assessment. If the preliminary examiner proposes corrections or additions to the dissertation, the Faculty policy is that the preliminary examiner also verifies that they have been made. The preliminary examiner may outline or summarise the corrections and additions required in his or her statement. The dissertation should not contain any significant deficiencies in the theoretical premise, methods or empirical section.
After the preliminary examiners have been appointed, Viikki PhD study services inform the pre-examiners and doctoral candidate of the decision. The pre-examiners are delivered instructions on the examination and dissertation manuscript.
The preliminary examiners must submit a written statement within two months of accepting the assignment. The statement may be written either jointly or separately, explicitly recommending that the doctoral candidate be granted or denied permission to defend the dissertation in a public examination.
The preliminary examiners’ and the opponent’s statement must include a detailed assessment of at least the following:
Formulation of the research problem: The theoretical background of the research and the doctoral candidate’s familiarity with the field. The originality and scientific significance of the topic. The research approach, the theoretical basis of the study and its suitability for the topic at hand.
Material and methods: The selection of material and methods. The applicability of the material to the examination of the research problem and the feasibility of the methods in terms of the material and problem-solving. A sufficiently detailed description of the material and any measurements to enable the relevant parts of the research to be repeated. An analysis of the material using an appropriate, efficient method that supports and is compatible with the research problem and approach.
Research results and their presentation: A report of the results obtained and their scientific significance. A clear and concise report of the results, including any reservations.
Discussion and conclusions: The rigorousness of the consideration of the results and their relationship to other research in the field. The scientific justification of the conclusions made. A critical and extensive section analysing prior literature and the results at hand.
Knowledge of the research field: The doctoral candidate’s knowledge and use of literature in the field as well as the scope of the literature covered.
The independence and maturity of the author: In the case of article-based dissertations, attention should be paid to whether the publications form a cohesive entity and to whether the doctoral candidate’s independent contribution to planning and implementing the research can be verified. Maturity refers to the author’s scholarship, mastery of the research approach and ability to analyse scientific problems as demonstrated by the dissertation.
The pre-examiner has to recommend explicitly whether the doctoral candidate is granted or denied a permission to defend the dissertation in a public examination. E.g. "I recommend that the candidate is granted a permission to defend her/his dissertation in a public examination."