Signup date: 29 May 2007 at 4:14pm
Last login: 20 Apr 2011 at 12:17pm
Post count: 218
I'm with Melsie - stick at it. If it's an improvement on existing techniques, then you'll be a front-runner in this new development. If it was me I would get a stats person to look over it just to be totally sure, and ask them to help me construct a rigorous defense for using this method. Then I would put together a strong argument why t-test etc is not adequate (not quite the same as showing why your method is better - this would focus on things they will understand).
I totally see the issue with not wanting to jeopardise your viva, and only you can decide if the risk is worth it, but if your examiners are halfway decent they should surely be open to a new approach. Like I said, if all goes well, it's your work that will be cited when others follow.
@Sheena - Linguistics. Ours are usually between 3 and 4 from what I can gather, but depends on the area. I must admit, for my kind of research, 3 years is pretty speedy :)
@Chuff - not really. I had a large lit review cos I was combining 3 distinct areas in my research. A couple of general questions on it (more of a comparison between my findings and someone else's) but nothing too specific.
Preparation: fairly minimal (lack of time). Although did re-read thesis thoroughly, thought about answers to usual questions like contribution, what would you do differently, any weaknesses, why choose topic etc.
Went in, external said she really enjoyed reading it, and it was a very good thesis. I didn't mention my huge list of typos I'd found.
Some general questions from both about why I chose the topic.
Then about an hour and 20 mins of discussion about my work. Imagine you get stuck in a room with two people who happen to have read your thesis, are genuinely interested, and simply want to know more about your work. That was it exactly. There were a few methodological questions like why did you choose to do x this way and not this way? And a couple of times I had to say 'actually, there is no reason, the other way would have been better come to think of it'. We had a really nice discussion about one result which was unexpected but interesting, and we literally just brainstormed the problem until we came up with a possible answer (which I am now going to test).
The issue of typos came up, and I said I'd found a lot, but I didn't actually hand them my list or anything.
At the end, it was obvious it had gone well, but I had to actually ask what the result was. I said 'so, does this mean it's minor corrections' and the external just said 'oh yes, just correct these typos, it's an excellent thesis'.
Then they asked if I had any questions, and I asked about publications, so we discussed suitable strategies for 20 mins.
It simply could not have been better. I only say this because nobody knows what it's going to be like, it's impossible. And if you search online, you only tend to find the horror stories.
All done. 1hr 40m of very nice intelligent discussion about my work. Just a list of typos to do (could do them in an evening). If I get it back to them next week I can graduate in December!
Started Sep 2007
Submitted Oct 2010
Viva Nov 2010
Graduate Dec 2010
Couldn't have gone better :)
I've been a lurker here since the beginning. haven't posted that much, but got some good advice, so thanks to all. Am happy to answer any questions about the viva in return!
@Sheena - it's going slowly. Had a nightmare when I submitted and found lots of typos in the intro. Took a while to pluck up courage to read the rest properly. All in all, a lot of mistakes, but not as many as I'd feared. Now I need a bit of structure in terms of preparation. I'm not having a mock, and each time I sit down to do stuff I end up idly flicking through the thesis. I think summaries of the chapters as bullet points is a good idea. I'm leaving it very late now, but that's kind of been the theme all along! I've started a job, the wife works shifts, and we have 3 young kids.That's the reality, and the prep just has to be as and when.
I submitted on 8th Oct and although I knew the viva date quite soon (unofficially) I only heard officially by letter yesterday. From what I hear, you're relying on three people being organised - the department admin has to get the thesis off to the examiners, the internal has to make contact with the external, then the external has to agree on a date. I was lucky, but there are many academics I know who would fall at the first hurdle of remembering to email the external.
You should ask admin for info on any progress.
Thanks for the advice. I couldn't resist having a quick look last night, and found more typos! I'm just annoyed with myself really for making it such a rush job in the final stages.
Still, what you say makes sense, and it sounds like typos are the norm. Hopefully they'll see past this and focus on the groundbreaking content :p
All done. The very nice feeling of relief was only slightly marred by opening my own copy after submission and finding a mistake on the very first page I looked at. Probably shouldn't open it again until I need to.
Of course it might be a pile of crap, but I've really enjoyed most of the last three years. In fact, until this last weekend, it's all been pretty good. And if it does turn out to be a pile of crap, I know it's the best I could manage without completely neglecting my kids. I'm happy with that. :-)
I'm currently waiting for confirmation on the maximum I can get away with, as mine stands at 20000+ in a 80000 word thesis. I'm so pissed off that I let this happen, and that I've basically written at least 8000 words I didn't need. But I guess that's all part of the process. It's no different to writing a load of stuff early on then later having to lose it.
Anyway, soon be over. Have to submit on 8th Oct. Time to get pruning, then finding new words in other sections to fill the gap!
These are all relative clauses, and there are two types.
Defining (essential) relative clauses define or identify what you're talking about. They don't have a comma, and you can use 'who' or 'that' for people and 'which' or 'that' for things. (you can also omit the pronoun altogether if it's the object of the sentence)
e.g. That's the lady who I was talking about; that's the lady that I was talking about; that's the lady I was talking about.
Non-defining (non-essential) relative clauses give extra information (ie do not identify what you are talking about). They usually have a comma, are usually only used in written English, and you shouldn't usually use 'that', and you can't omit the pronoun.
e.g. London, which is in the south East of England, is the nation's capital city. Not '...that is in the south of ....'
The Queen, who lives in Buckingham Palace, is a bit posh.
I am interesting really :)
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