Responding to Examiners - Guidelines

You should use the following guidelines in preparing your report:

  1. Make any corrections or revisions in your thesis using 'Track Changes'. Before doing that, however, make sure that you keep a copy of the original thesis that you submitted for examination.
  2. Your response to the examiners comments should be presented in a systematic manner using a tabular format in which you clearly indicate the comment to which you are responding and then give your response. (Please do not use landscape orientation for this.)
  3. If you accept an examiner's criticism, you need to indicate that and provide the verbatim change(s) that you will make clearly indicating where they will go. If the change is relatively small, then include the text in the body of your response. If it is longer (more than two paragraphs), then attach it to the tabulated response as an Appendix. If you accept an examiner's criticism, it is not generally necessary to give a long justification for what you originally did.
  4. If you think that an examiner's criticism or request for further work is not valid and you decide not to make any change, you have to provide an explanation of why you do not accept the examiner's viewpoint. Such explanations should be in the form of a logical and academic argument. Beware of:
    • Criticising the authority of an examiner. Examiners were chosen based on their expertise and so suggesting that they are incompetent is not an acceptable response.
    • Basing an argument solely on the fact that one examiner mentioned the issue and the other two did not. Quite frequently, based on expertise only one examiner identifies a problem and the fact that the other two did not, does not invalidate the criticism.
    • Dismissing a criticism on the basis that the relevant information was given elsewhere. Such criticisms can indicate that you have not presented the ideas and information clearly and hence that you need to revise it to clarify the material.
    • Arguing in multidisciplinary studies that the examiner is an expert in the discipline and hence implying that they are requiring too much expert knowledge. In multidisciplinary research, the researcher has to be proficient in all the disciplines covered in the thesis.
  5. Each grammatical, spelling and typographical error does not need to be individually addressed in your response. Instead a generic statement indicating that this has been attended to will suffice. Your supervisor will check to ensure that such changes have been made in the revised thesis. (It may be worth getting professional proofreading and/or copy editing assistance also if there are lots of these sorts of errors in your thesis).

Prof. XXX’s comments


1. The title being misleading

It was changed to “…”.

2. Including the prediction of the Rescorla-Wagner (R-W) model for the data presented.

I agree with Prof. XXX’s comment that the R-W model is an important theory in the debate about human causality judgments. However, I did not include the R-W model specifically in the current studies because it is well documented that the R-W model can not account for many of the conditioning arrangements employed in this research (backward blocking, latent inhibition and release from overshadowing). The model presented by Dickinson and Burke (1997) is a development of the R-W specifically to account for such phenomena. Therefore it makes more sense to include this model not the R-W model where the findings are already well reported.

3. The second line of work with sequential elements and compounds has not considered the highly relevant work of Helena Matute and her colleagues at the University of Deusto in Spain. Hiramatsu should consult this work and discuss its significance to these dissertation projects. Below are some citations and initial comments about the relevance of the work.

I agree with Prof. XXX that the work by Matute and her colleagues is relevant to the second part of my thesis. However, the way I interpret their data is different from Matute’s. If the context is regarded as the second CS, the results are still due to the within-compound association and, therefore, Dickinson and Burke’s model can account for their data. However, I acknowledge that this argument needs to be made. Hence, I insert the following in pg. 101. “On the other hand, Matute and Pineno argued that a within-compound association is not always necessary for cue competition. …

4. At several points in the thesis the candidate refers to the “Hays test” for post-hoc tests. I am not familiar with this test, could the candidate be a bit more specific about what it does?

On pg.65, the following footnote was inserted. “The Hays procedure enables the Decision Wise error rate to be used as a valid estimate of the Experimental Wise error rate for each test by employing a set of contrasts which are fully orthogonal (Hays, 1972).”

5. The participants information for Experiment 3.1 and 3.2 are identical (total number of participants, gender breakdown, mean age and age range). Were the same subjects used for both experiments? If so, what implications does this have for the analyses and interpretation of the data?

This was addressed in the response to A/Prof YYY’s comments (2).