How to prepare for your Viva

how to prepare for your viva voce and tips for getting through your phd viva. And how to survive your viva | free pdf download
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Dr.CherylStam,New Zealand,Researcher
Published Date:04-07-2017
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preparing for your viva in the Sciences Ronald Grau School of Engineering and Informatics our agenda for today  Your viva – the basics, general framework  How to prepare for your viva throughout your thesis journey  Preparation questions  Practice time  A look at other peoples’ viva experiences  Tips on how to interact with your examiners  Strategies for answering questions your viva - the basics  What is a viva?  (Possibly) the final stage of your PhD examination  A defense of your thesis  An oral (viva voce) examination  Usually conducted at the University, with all actors turning up in person  Remote vivas are possible but not the norm – must be approved by the exam board  Non-public (in the UK) your viva - the basics  Why have a viva? What an examiner might say:  To confirm that the thesis is actually YOUR work, and that you have knowledge of your subject area  To find out if you are aware of and able to discuss related work  To prove that you have developed the required skills to carry out research work independently  To find out if you learned anything  To see if you can talk about your research with other academics  To discuss where your work “lives” in the research landscape your viva - criteria for passing Doctoral degrees are awarded to students who have demonstrated:  the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the discipline, and merit publication  a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge that is at the forefront of an academic discipline or area of professional practice  the general ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline, and to adjust the project design in the light of unforeseen problems  a detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research and advanced academic enquiry. viva criteria turned around  Contributing factors to failure  Lack of knowledge about the thesis  Lack of coherence throughout the chapters  Lack of understanding of the theory  Confused theoretical perspectives / methodological choices  Lack of confidence in the work  Poor literature review  Wrong problem addressed  Unoriginal work Adapted from Murray (2009) your viva - how to get the ball rolling  Intention to submit  You must do this at least 2 months before submission.  Your thesis title goes on the form.  Download from this page:  Complete the form and attach an abstract of your thesis.  Send to the Research Student Administration Office (Sussex House).  They will then start the process of appointing your examiners. your viva - the framework  Usually 2 examiners  Internal examiner: From this University Will arrange a suitable date and time for your viva Chairs the examination  External examiner: From another institution, not necessarily in the UK Needs to be ‘research active’ with recent publications in the past 5 years your viva - the framework  Appointment of examiners  Your supervisor will submit examiner CV profiles and other information required.  Suggested examiners are then considered and approved by the exam board before they are formally appointed.  Once appointed, the RSAO office sends out the theses to the examiners.  Examiners are given 9 weeks to read the thesis and submit their individual reports.  The internal examiner will get in touch during this time to arrange a date and time for your viva. your viva - the framework  Viva date  Usually 3-4 months after thesis submission  If there are any dates where you will be unavailable, inform the Research Student Administration Office (RSAO)  Viva length  2-3 hours is common  No formal limit but student will be offered a break if the viva has been going 2 hours your viva - things worth knowing  Once you have submitted your thesis, you are considered “Under Research Exam”.  From this point onwards, it is not permitted for you to contact your examiners directly. All contact, if any, should be made via your supervisor or the RSA office.  If you are not sure about what is acceptable, ask the RSA office for advice  Your supervisor may attend your viva if you wish, or if invited by the examiners.  You will have the final say on whether an invited supervisor can attend.  If YOU want your supervisor to be present at your viva, let the RSAO know.  If your supervisor does attend your viva, he/she may only speak and contribute to the discussion if addressed directly by the examiners. They can not “jump in” and help you in any way during questioning. your viva - things worth knowing  Can I take my thesis with me to the viva?  Yes The viva is an “open book” exam.  Bringing along a lightly annotated thesis will be fine.  What happens if I don’t turn up?  You risk failing your degree.  If you refuse to agree a time or do not attend the viva, the examiners will have the right to go ahead and conduct the examination without you.  Examiners may make a recommendation to the Examination Board on the basis of the only evidence they have got – your thesis. your viva - possible outcomes  Unconditional Pass  Rare  Pass with minor corrections  Usually 6 months extra time given for the corrections  Fail with permission to revise & resubmit (major corrections)  Usually 1 year extra time given for the revision  You may be offered an “exit option” to get an MPhil without having to do any corrections, if the examiners judge your thesis to fulfil the relevant requirements.  Fail without permission to resubmit  Normally, no thesis will be examined more than twice. your viva - summary of the process PRE – VIVA POST – VIVA ON THE DAY “Intention Examiners meet to Examiners submit Examiners get to submit” discuss their joint viva report appointed comments Thesis Examiners read Exam board submission your thesis VIVA VOCE EXAM Senate Examiners exchange individual Official pre-viva reports result (3-4 weeks) how to prepare for your viva  Several stages / opportunities throughout your thesis journey  Over the course of your PhD project  Whilst writing  After submission  Week before  Day before how to prepare for your viva  Over the course of your PhD project  Present your work in front of your colleagues (e.g., work in progress seminars)  Participate in reading groups to learn how research is properly discussed and criticised  Reflect on any opinions, points of view, or criticism you receive from others  Get a paper accepted at a conference to practice presenting and defending your work  Create and maintain an up-to-date summary of your work how to prepare for your viva Exercise (5-10 min):  Draft a one-minute summary of your thesis project  Think of this as an extended elevator pitch.  If you do not know what to write, here a suggestion: Make a statement about the problem you have addressed; a few sentences about your approach to the problem; one/some of the results you found (as an example); and maybe a statement about the wider impact/importance of your work. how to prepare for your viva  Whilst writing  If you know who your examiners are going to be, keep this in mind when you write.  Reference their work where appropriate.  If your thesis substantially draws on any of their work, make sure  You know their stuff inside out.  Your review of their publications is sufficiently comprehensive, and well-written.  In your thesis,  Refrain from adding noise (superfluous or badly written parts).  Do not write about stuff that you do not really know anything about.  Avoid basic spelling errors. how to prepare for your viva  After submission  First of all - take some time off and recharge your batteries.  Familiarise yourself with the relevant exam guidelines (including those for examiners).  Talk about your viva with your supervisor:  How does your written thesis fit the criteria?  What should you focus on in your oral defense preparation?  Keep the topic alive in your mind.  Prepare short summaries of your chapters and your thesis.  Look up sample questions and prepare your personal question set. viva preparation questions SET 1 Why is your subject important? What is original about your work? What are the limitations of your study? What are the pros and cons of the methods you used? What would you do differently if you were to start your project again today? What are the strongest elements of your research? What are the weakest parts of your thesis? What did you learn during your PhD?