Article-based dissertations consist of scholarly publications focusing on the same research problem as well as a summarising report.
The summarising report is the core of an article-based dissertation: it must present the background, objectives, methods, material, results, discussion and conclusions of the research. It must be a balanced work based on both the publications included in the dissertation and the research literature. Its recommended length varies by faculty, so read your faculty’s instructions before writing the report. For practical tips on how to write a good summarising report, we recommend for example this blog post by researchers from Tampere University.
As a rule, the publications included in an article-based dissertation must have been published or approved for publication. However, article-based dissertations can also contain articles that have not yet been accepted for publication. In such cases, the preliminary examiners will pay particular attention to articles that have not yet been peer-reviewed. A typical article-based dissertation includes a summarising report and three to five scholarly articles. The number of articles required depends on their scope, scientific quality and significance, and publishing forum as well as the author’s independent contribution to any co-authored articles included in the dissertation. Read your faculty’s instructions for article-based dissertations, including the sections relevant to the above, at the outset of your dissertation work.
Article-based dissertations can include co-authored publications – indeed, such articles are the rule rather than the exception in some disciplines. However, if your dissertation includes co-authored articles, you must be able to clearly demonstrate your contribution to them. You and your supervisor must together write an informal report on your contribution to each co-authored article. You are strongly recommended (and in some faculties, required) to have the report approved by the other authors of the articles in question.