Tag Archives: Viva

Posts on the Viva experience. How to approach, what to do!

How to write a discussion chapter?

Discussion Chapter Burger
The discussion chapter burger

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!

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My PhD Viva experience

Guy Fawkes
Remember, remember the 5th of November

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.

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“I Will Survive” (The Viva): Part One

Good points, key elements which hopefully can help me when my time comes.


“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…

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A most monumental academic cock-up

Lovely post, a lesson for us all!


“Been there, done that.” #1

‘Been there, done that’ posts are where I share experiences, mistakes, life lessons and advice primarily for students and early career researchers.

Lately my twitter and blog reader are inundated with chatter about end of year exams and graduation.  So this week I’m going to tell you the story of my most monumental academic cock-up…

Upon graduating from my BSc degree I was something like 2% away from a 1st and was called in for a viva for the opportunity to be upgraded.  The only problem was that I was 6,000 miles away at the time; here:


I don’t quite remember how this happened. I booked a trip for after my exams but realised later it was before the official end of the year (I swear this date was hidden deep in the small print).  I was not the only one; someone else ended up hugely out of pocket rearranging their holiday on the…

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What not to do in a thesis conclusion!

Brilliant stuff. Fits in with my Mount doom post.


The conclusion is one of the most important sections of the thesis, yet it is often done quite badly. This is not good because the conclusion is a key part of the text and thesis writers really need to spend some time getting it right. This is because the conclusion is the place where you argue that you have made a contribution to knowledge, where you show what it is, and where you discuss its implications. While it doesn’t have to be as long as other chapters, the conclusion does have to do the job.

It really helps here to understand what NOT to do in a thesis conclusion.

There are four common mistakes that people make in finishing off their thesis. These are:

(1) the writer goes on a laborious plod through all of the findings that have come in the chapters before. Examiners really hate this. It is…

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Writing up your PhD …

Contributing to Knowledge
How to write up the PhD.

After five long years of working on my PhD I am now near the end of the road, I have reached the write up stage. It has been a long road with a series of ups and downs and highs and lows. The key word for me throughout this process has been “resilience” and “grit”. Thats not to say that I have not enjoyed it, on the contrary I have loved doing my PhD, but you need to have steel if you ever want to finish. Doing a PhD is not easy, there were times over the last five years when the last thing I wanted to do was work on my PhD after a long days teaching and marking. However I am now at the writeup process and so close to finishing that all of a sudden I feel I have hit a brick wall!!

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