Skip to main content

Thesis forum: The viva

Dr Christiana Tsaousi (School of Management) was our second speaker at the June thesis forum. She completed her PhD at Leicester in 2010 and recently returned to take up a position as Lecturer in Marketing and Consumption. She reflected on her experience of completing a PhD and preparing for the viva. She described the difficulty of working in a new area of study but emphasised how important it was to talk to her supervisors throughout the process. She found that meeting them and discussing data left her feeling confident and with a renewed energy and purpose. Frequent deadlines worked well in keeping the thesis on track and regular feedback helped to chart progress.

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.

Key tips:
  • 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.
Christiana acknowledged that the viva can seem like a mountain you have to climb and something to be scared of. But if you are well prepared, this shouldn't be the case.


Further resources:
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!

Comments

  1. Hi Helen,

    Thanks for mentioning PhDViva and spreading the word.

    Best wishes,
    Salma (Editor at PhDViva)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Finding our training

I had some feedback last week that searching PROSE is not the easiest way to find out what library training is on offer.

We sympathise with you! An alternative is to look at the list of training on our Researchers page

Or you can look at brand new guide to the Postgraduate Researcher Workshop Programme

If you have any questions about the training please email Selina or myself: librarians@le.ac.uk



Library publishing services

The Library offers several services to help you publish and disseminate your research. We can help you publish reports, journals and conference proceedings. We also support the publishing of digital collections.

Research publications The Library can help you to publish one-off reports in an open access format. See this example from the SAPPHIRE Group in Health Sciences.  If you want to start a new open access journal or conference proceedings, we have our own version of Open Journal Systems (OJS). This is journal management and publishing platform for academic publications. Articles published through this system are free to any reader, and no APCs are charged to authors. 
Please contact Library Research Services for more information: librarians@le.ac.uk



Digital collections Some researchers will be collecting materials as part of a project, and may want to publish them online. The Library supports two platforms to do this:


Omeka.net.This is an easy to use platform for creating websites to d…

Round-up of Elevenses Recordings

Throughout July we ran a series of short talks about issues of interest to researchers. If you missed them you can now watch the recordings:

Discovering the University’s unique archives An overview of what archives are and give an overview of the archives held by the University of Leicester library.Watch the webinar

Publishing your own Open Access journal The Library has developed an online publishing platform (Open Journals System) that enables researchers at Leicester to set up and run their own open access journals.  This session offers an overview of the platform and what you need to consider before launching your own title.
Watch the webinar

Finding datasets for research One of the most common enquiries from researchers is “Where can I find data on my topic?”  This session provides advice on how to find datasets for your research. We will cover a range of subject areas, and also look at the specialist resources to which the Library provides access.
Watch the webinar

Research Data …