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How to do a postgraduate research project and write a minor thesis
  1. Trevor Duke1,2,3
  1. 1 Centre for International Child Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
  3. 3 Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Prof Trevor Duke, University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics,Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville, VIC 3052 ; trevor.duke{at}


Many universities and colleges in low-income and middle-income countries require a masters dissertation or thesis for as part of postgraduate training, and some colleges offer a 1-year to 2-year diploma of child health as a clinical qualification to enable skills in child health for generalists, or as part of the early phase of paediatric training. This paper describes the stages of doing a research project for such a masters or diploma, and describes in detail how to write a minor thesis. The paper is designed to provide a practical approach for junior researchers, and their supervisors. Colleges differ in their formal requirements of a minor thesis (word count, line spacing, referencing style), but this paper outlines the principles and practical issues rarely covered elsewhere.

  • medical education
  • paediatric training
  • research training
  • low and middle income countries
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  • Funding The author gratefully acknowledges the RE Ross Trust for support to child health research training in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific, which is the basis of this work.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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