The contextual statement is the over-arching introduction that commences the PPPW thesis. It is crucial to the success of the doctorate. It holds many functions. It must show the relationship between the articles and the originality of the thesis. These variables and attributes cannot be assumed.
Firstly, the contextual statement must connect the publications, showing their relationship, and the arc of knowledge they convey. Put another way, the contextual statement presents the ‘story’ of the research.
Secondly, it must demonstrate an awareness, use of and reference to relevant historic and current literature. Each individual paper will have its own references section but students should also include a reference list/bibliography for their contextual statement.
Thirdly, it must confirm the authorship, the role of the author in the construction of this research, with attention to methodology, ontology and epistemology.
Fourthly, and most importantly, the contextual statement confirms the original contribution to knowledge. The originality must be proven. In other words, the articles may disseminate strong research. But high-quality research is not sufficient for a PhD. The candidate must confirm the significant and original contribution to knowledge. What do we know now that we did not know before the publication of your research? To make this case, metrics can be deployed and/or more qualitative confirmations about impact and engagement.
Finally, a conclusion should highlight the original contribution to knowledge, discuss problems encountered throughout the research and future directions of the work.