Unlike our other speaker, Christiana didn't use any manuals or guides during her PhD. She said that help books can be useful but it is still down to you to produce the dissertation. Her own dissertation only had real structure a few months before submission. Remember that every PhD is unique! It might be that yours takes shape and form right at the end. Try to leave a few months for editing and proofreading, if possible. For those worried about when they would feel finished, Christiana explained that a saturation point does come eventually.
Christiana submitted in July 2010 and had her viva in October 2010. Her advice for the viva was that you can't prepare enough. Don't study though. Go through your PhD over and over, annotate and mark up to help you navigate the document easily during the viva.
- Be clear about your theoretical contribution. If you used a particular theoretical framework, why did you use this, why not something else?
- Make sure you can talk with confidence about your methodology.
- Be confident about your data and clear about your empirical contribution.
- During the viva, don't worry if you freeze. Be honest and ask for time to think the question through.
- Try to arrange a mock viva beforehand. You need to get used to the idea of answering on your work.
PhD Viva has a handy collection of resources and viva stories.
Twitter users can follow @phdviva or look for conversations using #phdviva
10 PhD Viva Survival Tips (@DrSustainable)
UoL Graduate School resources (including The Good Viva video)
There will also be the chance to hear from researchers who have recently passed their viva at future thesis forums. The next will take place on Tuesday 10th July, 3.30-5pm, Library Seminar Room.
Hope to see you there!