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Introduction : Three types of doctoral dissertation

The Graduate School of Information Systems is involved in the study of and education about the relationship between information systems and the individual/society. Therefore, in addition to investigating and solving the scientific problems of information systems, research here also covers a variety of issues: from building the information systems used widely around the world to analyzing their effect on individuals and society.
In order to evaluate properly research conducted from such diverse viewpoints, the school accepts three different types of doctoral dissertation according to the research method, and the degree examination is conducted accordingly. Although the examination is usually conducted by five instructors from the faculty, depending on the content of the research, appropriate external specialists may contribute to provide a more suitable examination.

*Note: regardless of the type of dissertation, the degree granted is either a Doctor of Engineering or Philosophy.

Types of dissertation

1. Scientific research dissertation

This dissertation comprises cutting-edge research of important scientific value and meaning. The examination evaluates its scientific novelty and usefulness. The evaluation criteria are equivalent to those of most typical doctoral dissertations.

Condition for degree acquisition (Doctor's program)

The student must present two original papers, with content relevant to the dissertation, to an academic journal or international conference.

2. System development dissertation

This dissertation contains R&D on information systems with great social meaning. In the examination, highly useful information systems with a large impact on society are evaluated positively. For example, development leading to:

  • Configuration of an information system that serves as a social infrastructure,
  • Configuration of a normative, standardized information system applied to many products,
  • Highly evaluated software that has been downloaded many times.

In particular, a technology whose results are already in use even if it was developed in the past, or research that supports subsequent technological development, etc., are evaluated highly.

Conditions for degree acquisition (Doctor's program)

The student must show that they led the R&D in published literature (such as papers of an academic society, magazine articles to introduce a company's technology, book or patent, etc.) and also have materials to show that the R&D results are useful to society.

3. Case-study dissertation

This is a research dissertation that analyzes and systematizes a particular example of an information system. In the examination, research that is important to society is highly evaluated, for example, research that can be expected to contribute to future information-system design. This type of dissertation can include research on the effect of the information system on society and its meaning from a new viewpoint, research that considers the position and future course of an information system in its social and historical context, and research related to an information system from the perspective of technology or history of science by investigating and analyzing examples.
For example, research that:

  • Analyzes the impact on society of a specific information system by sending questionnaires to many users and companies, etc.
  • Evaluates the effectiveness of a specific information system in society through the investigation and analysis of it.
  • Surveys an example relevant to an information system and discusses it systematically from an original viewpoint.

Conditions for degree acquisition (Doctor's program)

The contents of the dissertation must be published by an academic society, at a convention, in a bulletin from a university or research institute, specialist magazine, book, etc.

Guidance toward the degree

With the System development and Case-study dissertations in particular, it is important for the student to not only collate past R&D and case-study results, but also systematize the results from a unified viewpoint with a logical through-line. The school's teaching emphasizes the process of systematization so that the final doctoral dissertations are meaningful.