I don't seem to have written this specifically, but just over two weeks ago, I sent my 'intermediate submission' to the research committee. This document - just over 60 pages, not including references or questionnaires - contains the background to my research, the literature survey, the literature synthesis, hypotheses, methodology, pilot study and ethics. It will comprise at least 50% of the final thesis.
Like the research proposal, the submission is sent two weeks prior to a meeting of the research committee; two members read the document, make notes and present their findings to the committee which then decides whether to accept or reject the document. A candidate is allowed to submit this document three times; based on this, I adopted a strategy in which the first time I submit what I think is good but probably not good enough. Based on the feedback from the committee, I can see which areas need improvement, and so I can add whatever is necessary to create a better second submission. I expect the second version to be accepted, but even if it is not, I still have a third opportunity.
So, as per my expectations, the submission was not accepted. What did surprise me in the feedback was that the reviewers did not know what I was writing about. I quote one section ad verbatim: On page 42, more than half way through this intermediate submission it finally says "The major finding of the literature review with regard to the stated topic of this research, feral system usage in SMEs which have implemented ERP, is that this subject has not been studied." So at last we know what the research is about.I have gone to the effort of going back through the entire submission up to this point and while feral systems were mentioned in subsections up to this point there was no clear indication of where they fitted into the research, let alone that this was the topic of the research. One reviewer even mentioned that he did not know what the title of the thesis was.
Clearly, a certain amount of explanatory material will have to be copied from the research proposal to the intermediate submission; I think that one of the reviewers even suggested this. Obviously, this will not be a problem as the material has already been written.
The section on methodology needs to be strengthened; I'm not sure where to include it. There was also mention of the data analysis section; I will have to read the remarks closely in order to establish in my mind what needs to be done.
The next meeting of the research committee is in six and a half weeks' time (they meet once every seven weeks), and work has to be submitted two weeks in advance. So, if I want to make the next meeting, then I have about a month to improve the submission. There is no pressure on me to make this a solid deadline, so I will take however much time is necessary in order to improve the submission according to the reviewers' feedback.
I am continuing in my efforts to find companies who are willing to participate in the research. I will be meeting next Tuesday the CIO of a pharmaceutical company who use Priority (they are located next to our offices in Haifa bay, so getting there is no problem); this will be an interesting conversation. I am well aware that a pharmaceutical company should be extremely painstaking in its data collection which makes me wonder why they use spreadsheets.