The Viva – a live presentation of your thesis to examiners – is not common in Australia. Our thesis examination is a blind peer review process, which has its own fears, but nothing like the anxiety that a viva can provoke. Horror stories tend to circulate, which is why I was happy to be sent this post by a student who preferred to remain anonymous.
“I had my doctoral viva. And I enjoyed it.”
Yes, what you are reading is indeed true. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my 3 3/4 hour viva voce. But it wasn’t just me. Both of my examiners also enjoyed the experience.
Why was this the case and what lessons does it hold?
From handing in my thesis until my viva, I was overcome by a crippling state of anxiety. I had heard all of the horror stories: people having their work rubbished, examiners proclaiming…
One of the most daunting tasks for any budding researcher is the data collection process as part of your study. For many researchers this is a part of your work that will test you to the limit and take you far out of your comfort zone. However as with all things there are methods and mechanisms which you can use to make your process as easy, efficient and painless as possible. How I hear you ask? Why mobile devices off course!
It never ceases to amaze me how often students underestimate the importance of a good, solid discussion/conclusion chapter. As part of your dissertation or PhD the final chapter is worth its weight in gold, it brings together all the disparate elements of your thesis, allowing the researcher to finish with a flourish!
Recently I attended the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) latest conference on the Learning, Teaching & Student Experience. I managed to get the chance to listen to some excellent keynotes on creativity, passion and learning styles, alongside some thought provoking sessions on student epistemologies, blended learning and the flipped classroom. The conference also gave me the chance to deliver my latest paper, which talks about academic Marginalisation and increasing Marketisation of higher education. This was all underpinned by a very supportive twitter back channel #LTSE2016.
Dissertation examiners always check the methods chapter or methodological writings carefully. And the more the doctorate is seen as research training, the more important it will be for examiners to make sure that the relevant writings in the thesis really do indicate that the researcher can do the technical stuff properly. So here’s my list of what I look for in methods chapters and/or methodological writings, and what I’ve seen other examiners look for. To know the worst is to be better prepared. Well, that’s the goal.
1. The researcher does not know the difference between methodology and methods.
2. The researcher has written a long essay about epistemology and ontology. They have named their own stance but have failed to develop what it means for their subsequent choices of methodology and research design.
3. The methodology does not fit with the theoretical framework and/or the research tradition of…
In this blog post I want to take some time looking at the different types of interviews for collecting data. Every qualitative researcher will at one time or another need to conduct research where they need to interview their research participant(s). In the view of the research (Burnard, Gill, Stewart, Treasure, & Chadwick, 2008; Gill, Stewart, Treasure, & Chadwick, 2008; Morse & Corbin, 2003) there are three fundamental types of research interviews, these are:
Each of these have a slight variation in their structure and more importantly conduct. Morse & Corbin (2003) discus this in more detail and note that the main difference between the three approaches is “The degree to which participants have control over the process and content of the interview”.
For me the Fifth of November will no longer be associated with Guy Fawkes and Bonfire night, from this day forth it will no longer be the fifth of November if will be the “Phifth” of November, the day I had my viva.
Completing my PhD has been one of the biggest achievements of my life, as a process it has been challenging, rewarding and life affirming, with many, many bumps along the way. However after submission, the part of the PhD process I was dreading the most was the Viva. Today I want to discuss my experiences of the fifth of November 2015 in more detail.
For the Qualitative researcher the implementation of data management is a necessary and essential task when attempting to analyse data as part of the research process. It is very much likely the case, that as the researcher, by this stage you have amassed a large quantity of qualitative data which can include interviews, focus groups or survey data. Before anything can be done with this data it needs validating, organising and preparing for analysis. Hence at this juncture there are two options firstly the researcher can develop a manual process of data management or the researcher can live a little on the edge and go hi-tech by employing an electronic process of data management. Continue reading Data management strategy→
“As those of you who follow me on Twitter will know, earlier this year I successfully defended my PhD thesis on the topic of childhood, performance and immigration in post-Franco Spanish cinema. Since then, I’ve been meaning to write a post or two about this, including my experience of the viva, how I prepared for it and a list of handy resources for those yet to face the dreaded examination. My thought had initially been that writing these posts immediately after the viva would be favourable, given that the whole experience would be fresh in my mind. Life, inevitably, got in the way so here I am writing these posts nearly five months after the event. Taking inspiration from both Gloria Gaynor and Dr Nathan Ryder’s superb podcast and workshop series “Viva Survivors”, I’ve titled the posts ‘“I Will Survive” (The Viva)’. In this post, I concentrate…