In the picture is Dr Klara Overland, from the University of Stavanger in Norway. Also in the picture is a Q methodology cake made by her husband.
I had the pleasure of being an Opponent on her awarding committee. In the British system we tend to produce a ‘big book’ thesis of 80,000 words that is examined by external and internal examiners, with the discussion takingplace behind closed doors.
So how do they do it in Norway? Let me tell you.
In the Norwegian system the thesis is awarded by publication, consisting of a bound thesis of four published journal articles and a 100 page summary. The thesis is sent to two external examiners for review. Once revisions have been completed the thesis is deemed ‘worthy of defense’. The Candidate is then given 2 weeks to prepare a public lecture on a topic of the committee’s choosing. On the day of the defense the lecture is delivered in the morning and the thesis is publically defended in the afternoon. Each opponent conducts an hour of public cross-examination in front of an audience of colleagues, friends and family. The Candidate then hosts a celebratory banquet in the evening.
I am pleased to report Klara successfully defended her research using Q methodology to understand how professionals frame problems and solutions in their everyday practice.
While I was there it was also possible to take a boat down the world famous Lysefjord, learn about the Norwegian oil economy at a specialist museum. For anybody travelling to Stavanger anytime soon my top tip is the less well known Norweigen canning museum dedicated to to Stavanger’s historic tinned sardine economy. Thoughly charming and great on toast.