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Need advice about appeal procedures against the results of the university examination

Hi @withhope. How are things going? Did you win the appeal? I am in similar situation now and really want to read some experience on making appeal. Thanks

Examiners failed my Resubmission

I was given a resubmission result last December. I spent 8 months to produce a revised thesis. I submitted a few weeks ago the revised thesis and a cover letter listing out how I have addressed each and every amend suggestion. I have just got an email from the college informing me that i was failed for a phd and offered 'mphil subject to the presentation of the project/thesis amended to the satisfaction of the Examination Panel'. By the time of my viva, i no longer have a first supervisor as the original one left, so the school has found a very experienced professor to advise my revision. This professor and my 2nd supervisor worked with me through out 2 drafts of my revision, and both highly commented on my revised thesis. Of course everyone is in shock and my supervisor just called and promise to meet with the school to discuss the case.

I am beyond belief. Any advise from the forum?

The extremely anxious time waiting - for outcome of resubmission

It has been 4.5 weeks since I submitted my re-submission thesis. I got the devastating outcome from my viva last December, and have been working on revision of the thesis since Feburary. I have got a post-doc fellowship offer since May, but all pending on me getting my PhD degree. The research office told me they may have the result next week. The aspect that there is no gurantee of the outcome for a re-submission absolutely terrifies me. This correction has made my life still for me, inactive academically for almost a year. I feel really start to loose the grib.

shock result_referral & resubmission_what can I do?

Thank you Tru for taking time to give advice.

These are great points.

1)I have emailed my supervisor, the school's head of research and chairperson of viva (who is also head of Research Office) my concerns and confusion why and how it came down to here. Everyone's advice is to wait and see the r&r report. My supervisor said that the viva chairperson suggested making some green amber red positioning when we receive the examiner notes. I don't know what does that mean?

2)I'll try to talk to the student support next week, although I am not sure if they are still open.

3)How could I explore if I could change examiners?

4) two of my studies have been presented in conference workshops. 1 being reviewed by 1 reviewer and the other by 2 reviewers. Another study is being prepared to submit to a journal. These single studies are partial of the PhD process exploring an overarching topic. I find it difficult to concise the whole PhD both conceptual framework and the practice into one article. I thought I could explore trying to publish the conceptual / theoretical framework first?

shock result_referral & resubmission_what can I do?

Thank you rewt. Yes I have read most of the post on this forum regarding the topic of r&r, including the posts from faded. What a horrific experience and I admire her for enduring to the end. I noticed most people only appeal after their r&r result. I will first wait to see the list of corrections required by examiners and the extend of it. I'll discuss with my supervisor.

I have come through at least 7 drafts of my thesis in the 1.5 years leading to the submission. And each version was commented by at least one person from my supervisory team. I have addressed every single comment. My supervisor signed off my submitted version and considered the thesis strong. It is beyond my comprehension the difference in the assessment from the examiners. I could not understand how come a thesis that went through this process will end up with referral (not up to PhD standard?). And how this could be allowed to happen in a sound academic system? As now I am totally lost what check points I could rely on to get a pass in my next version.

shock result_referral & resubmission_what can I do?

post part 3:

My question is:
1. should I even explore appeal the result on the basis that neither of the 2 examiners are from the field that my thesis aim to address, or on the basis of inadequate supervision?

2. In terms of the revision, given the scale of the revise, I am not confident that the revision guide would be specific enough for me to follow. And i feel that I am now revising for someone who are not from the field and may not appreciate practice, and I worry even i revise according to the guidance the new version won't be coherent enough (as the practice is of a different nature) and the examiner will fail me again. What can I do to prevent me from failing the re-submission? - e.g. ask the research office to appoint a professor from the field of my thesis to review the draft and provide written report that I met what has been required from the examiner, before I re-submit as a check point? Anything else could be helpful?

Many thanks if you wouldn't mind sharing your thoughts and experiences. I would be so grateful. I am a mature student so the delayed time is what costing me mostly mentally. and I really LOVE research and love to have a career in research. I am devastated that this is now costing me even more time. I have a good network of academics who showed great interest in working with me or want to host me if I apply for fellowship grants. I have several publications and some either in review or in preparation for journal papers, for which I worked so hard (my 1st main supervisor told me not to publish). For the r&r result I had to shift my plans, and pause fellowship application plan. Although I am not sure if my prospective postdoc job will be affected.

[end of post]
Many thanks for your time.

shock result_referral & resubmission_what can I do?

I am now waiting for the examiners detailed report. Given the scale of the revise, I couldn't imagine that the revision guide would be specific enough for me to follow. And i feel that I am now revising for someone who is not from the field and may not appreciate practice, and I worry even i revise according to the guidance the result version won't be coherent enough and the examiner will fail me again.

I have also been not lucky with my supervision. My main supervisor changed during my PhD. The first main supervisor was with me for the first 4 years. He had to leave the college one month before I submit my first draft of my thesis. Although he is a nice person however he did not provide adequate supervision. His incapability was a shared consensus among several of us who had been his PhD students, and was also known to the department, who received complaint (informal) from students and the research lead had to give extra informal 'supervisory meeting' to save confused students. For example I communicated with both of my supervisors around Dec 2018 that I plan to do a formal study in spring 2019 and I will draft out study design to submit to ethics approval, and they agreed. Then I presented the draft of ethics approval in Jan/Feb 2019 and to my suprise my main supervisor told me I don't need another study. Between Jan and April I tried to communicate with him that I did need this final study otherwise I don't feel my practice is up to the rigor of the requirement of a PhD and he refuse to sign off my ethics approval. I had to drop the study plan as by then I am running out of time and had to enter the writing up of my thesis. Then I had our annual exam and the verdict of the exam board was that I still need to do another study, for which I need another term, which I have to pay the tuition fee. I did. My 2nd main supervisor was from social science although she research on emergent technology. She gave me feedback on several drafts of my thesis till 1.5months before my final submission, when she as well left the college. My second supervisor has been with me all the time. She has been very supportive, believes in my thinking and approach. But she is an expert practioner and does not have a PhD. So I am ever so grateful for the attention and care given by my second supervisor I still need proper supervision for the academic rigour. I could never have a proper discussion with my first main supervisor regarding framing of research question and methodology design.

(to be continued...)

shock result_referral & resubmission_what can I do?

My apologies for a long post.. and a post in 3 parts. But it's from a very distressed person.

I have been doing my PhD for 6 years before I had my viva. I started full time for 2 years, then part time for 2 years. I started writing up since Dec 2019 and I submitted thesis in June 2021, during this time I had a baby hence a few month on maternity leave. My research is a practice-based design PhD in a UK uni which I position in the field of interaction design. Although it has a big cross-disciplinary nature that I brought in fashion practice to compliment the methods of design practice in interaction design, and the material/technology I design with is of a robotic nature.

My supervisor had great confidence in my thesis. The thesis had been read by a senior postdoc in my field from the college who also think it is a very good thesis. I had a mock viva 5 months ago which went well. With the technology I designed during my PhD, I have already received 2 external grants for application in healthcare (although these grant projects were not part of my PhD). So everyone thought I was doing so well and won't have any problem. I have a part-time research fellow job lined up and I plan to use the rest of the time writing for fellowship grant. I would be happy as long as it's a 'pass', I'm fine with major correction as there is elements of uncertainty for practice-based PhD with a cross-disciplinary nature, that the examiner may perceive from a different angle and not convinced by some elements and thus suggest correction.

I have just had my viva two days ago, and got a result of referral (re-submission within 12months but can submit earlier, examiner will decide if another viva is needed). Examiners have problem with my research question, the structure of the thesis, and contribution. This is a heavy blow to me. My supervisor sent me email yesterday saying she felt responsible for me and my work, and that 'maybe the examiners in retrospect were not the most conducive'. Both examiners are external (somehow I see that most posters here seem to have one internal and one external), one from psychology background, and one from textile research. None of them are from interaction design. In the viva I have an awkward feeling with the examiner who ask the most question, that I felt that when I answered the question, she will then rephrase and ask me again, so I felt quite nervous as if she expect an answer different than what I provided. I felt from her question she either not familiar with 'practice-led' design phd, or she does not recognise that practice is research. Both examiners suggested to restructure the thesis to a conventional structure. (Regarding structure, my supervisor had several discussion with me, and I have tried this 'conventional structure' but we both consider it is best to be the current layout for it serves clarity to the reader and an honesty account of the flow of the practice).

(to be continue...)