Three weeks ago Thomas Lind nailed his PhD thesis onto the log of a birch tree at the department. Nailing the printed thesis is the first step towards getting it accepted and earning a Doctor of Philosophy degree at Uppsala University. The nailing is also done electronically, and in this Digital world that might be more official than the actual book. The idea with nailing a thesis is to make it openly available for anyone interested to read and review. It is seen as a step to ensure quality, and a PhD thesis needs to be nailed three weeks before the actual defense.
Yesterday three weeks had passed and we had invited a committee consisting of three well-known researchers within HCI to evaluate Thomas Lind’s work. The committee consisted of
- Olle Bälter from KTH
- José Abdelnour Nocera from University of West London
- Tone Bratteteig from University of Oslo.
A PhD dissertation starts off by the opponent giving a summary of the thesis placing it in the context of the research area. Professor Netta Iivari from University of Oulu did a splendid job in presenting Thomas Lind’s work.
After this presentation, the opponent has a discussion with the PhD student around the work done. Usually the discussion includes explaining concepts, the Methods used and paths taken. This discussion is followed by questions from the committee and from the audience. When the committee and audience has asked all their questions it is time for the grading committee to have a meeting to discuss the quality of the work.
Thomas has addressed a very pressing issue when implementing new IT in organisations and explores the concept of inertia in sociotechnical systems. His thesis is a contribution to understanding Systems development and change. The presentation and discussion during the dissertation was really interesting, and I especially appreciated the discussion around research communities, and what research community we want to impress.
All people involved did a very good job, and Thomas Lind not only nailed the thesis three weeks ago – he also nailed the dissertation discussion!