March 21, 2019
On Saturday, 16th March 2019, the DoctorateHub provided a solid understanding of the viva process and what to expect, what the outcomes could be and areas where a doctoral candidate may fail the viva. This generates some discussion around the linking and engagement with literature relative to our research and how we generate our contribution to knowledge and practice. Noting that this is a key area of concern in a number of mock viva’s the DoctorateHub have undertaken as one of their services.
There are various things to do while you wait for your viva date to arrive. Consider keeping up to date with research, even after you have submitted. Research the examiners to understand their thinking and likely questions. Think about the wider implications of your work and what you are prepared to drop v’s defend. Seek out questions likely to be asked and those that will challenge your thesis, practice answering in different ways. Take a printed copy, annotated and main arguments highlighted, to the viva. Ensure it is the same one as submitted to refer the examiners to the relevant page or section in your response. And of course practice, practice, practice your answers alone, with other cohort members, the dog, the spouse, or through a mock viva. It is these opportunities that allow you to fine-tune your responses, ready for the viva. Think of the viva as an interview for a promotion two steps up to your current role. What is the extra you would need to understand and demonstrate as being competent in to be considered for the role? Can you articulate that capability? Taking this approach focuses your responses. You need to demonstrate your competence and knowledge.
Then after the viva, the examiners have given your feedback and areas they believe need further attention. Take a deep breath… and thank them for their time and effort taken to read through your thesis and undertake the viva. Then…. what strategies to use: do it quickly while it’s fresh in you mind (don’t procrastinate!), work out which amendments you really have to address and which you can argue are not relevant but always make a well argued case for not taking up a suggestion from the examiners, summarise the changes as you go in a table. Then…have your supervisor review with fresh eyes. Whilst this is happening, re-read the examiner’s report carefully, have you missed anything you really need to address? This is the time to not rush and review your work carefully as it is the last hurdle between you and graduation…Doctor.
Following is a sample of the slides from the webinar for reference. Those attending the webinar received a full set, a sample feedback report and response table referred to during the webinar.
The full slide deck is available at the Peers4Progressclass room that also provides you with a more meeting place to support ongoing discussions, and collect and share resources. PLEASE NOTE: to access Peers4Progress, you will need to LOG-IN to the training space and then self-enrol at the Peers4Progress board. For newcomers to the training space: you can create an account free of charge – follow this link to create your account
The next webinar will held at 12noon (UK/GMT time) on 13th April 2019, covering Mirroring as a Means to Build up Your Thesis, a topic requested by various participants who are struggling with the challenges faced in writing up their thesis. Register here for this or one of the upcoming webinars or short courses.