Help! my Viva is on Friday


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Only just found these forums ..... my viva is on Friday and I am so nervous, when my supervisor asked me how did you become interested in your topic (in a mock viva) my mind just went blank lol :$ no it's not funny! OMG!

One of the problem questions that I am trying to answer is: what is your contribution to knowledge? The core question! The problem is that the originality of my thesis is purely methodological but there are no implications for practice (only for reserach)

Another question that I am struggling with is what next?
:-(:-( I just want to say a long lie in and a holiday but they mean future research? How do people answer this question?

Thanks in advance,


Go to your supervisor and ask him for advice, it is simple answers not too complicated, just to show you know what you did.


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Ok, I suppose I posted too late :p will just try to rehearse, tomorrow.

Another question please, if anyone happens to read this thread before the viva is over, what do people usually use post-it notes for? to remind them where certain ideas are? If so, what do you write on them? core ideas, etc?

I am going to try to summarise the rest of my thesis tonight/tomorrow and to go through my bibliograophy just in case they pick one of these very old references and ask me about it , hope not!:$


Thanks someone3. He thinks you can't contribute to every aspect and that it sounded good enough but I read that one of the common questions is what are the implications of your research. I think I will just answer that it offers an original *method* as opposed to strategies etc...


Hi Postwoman

I haven't done a viva and so can't offer you specific advice, but just wanted to say good luck! And don't panic!

In regards to your questions, you know why you became interested in your research - so maybe the problem is more one of nerves rather than content? Good that you're practicing, also do other things to calm yourself - breathing exercises, drink herbal tea, think positive. Think beyond Fri - soon it'll be all over and done with and you'll hve passed!!

Your answer to your contribution to knowledge sounds good, and as for next steps, haven't you covered that off in your conclusion? Does your thesis raise questions that are yet to be answered? Or if it's methodologically based, wouldn't you want to see if your methodology could be used in other research/gave different outcomes etc? This is vague sorry, don't know your topic.

But you do. You've worked on this for years, and you'll be fine. Breathe, and don't panic. Good luck! Think how good you'll feel afterwards!


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Hi Sue

Many thanks for your reply.

I have certain ideas about how I want my research to proceed but i know that my weakest chapter is the last one (The findings and directions for future research) I have a problem of confidence, which does not help at all.

I will try to 'say' what I failed to include in this last chapter although it is clear that I did a lot more in my thesis that I finally stated :-(

I will follow your advice (thanks again) of thinking beyond Friday, go in with a positive frame of mind, defend what I did rather than apologise for I haven't done.

I know I can talk about many themes very confidently and I have to remember that no-one knows about my topic more than I do.

Fingers crossed and many thanks for your help everyone. I wish I found these forums earlier (sigh)


Dear Postwoman,

first off from all the other people I've known that have taken vivas major panic with a few days to go is completely normal and you are not clueless/unable to answer questions/obviously going to fail! I think Sue is right, its nerves that are stopping you from clearing your mind and coming up with answers that are clearly buried in your brain somewhere!

For the 'why are you interested in the topic' question, try starting at the basics. What did you do in your bachelors degree that led you towards your thesis topic? When did you realise that no one else had done the topic before? What clues have you had from others (e.g. peers) that your topic is worth studying? What were the puzzles that you wanted to solve at the beginning and how did they change over time? Was there a particular book you read or conversation you had that sparked your interest or changed the way you thought about a question?

If your contribution to knowledge is methodological, that's fine! You have pushed at a boundary and found a new way of answering old questions. I would say that my own research is exactly the same - sure I know a little bit more about the government department I studied but my 'big revelation' was that a new methodology brings completely different insights that can in the future be applied elsewhere.

For the "what next" question, there are lots of different ways of answering this. You could extend the existing study (i.e. by using more case studies, finding more participants). You could use the methodology you have developed to research a different area. You could use a different methodology to research the same area. Or you could go for a different answer entirely and talk about planned publications. No one's going to come back and check in 6 months time whether you have actually done these things so if the real answer is "go on a long holiday" then just make something up!

I really hope it goes well and please come back on here and let us know :-)


hello again,

These are general questions, I'm sure if you read you thesis again you will find the answers in the introduction or in the conclusion and future work etc.. it is just you are nervous now, try to relax, you submitted your thesis so you are able to reply to these questions for sure.
good luck ;-)


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Hello again

many thanks for all of you for your very helpful replies.

Can't believe that in less than 24 hours, this long wait will be over.

I really really hope that I can manage to calm down tomorrow, I would feel terrible if I spoil it for myself but I feel very tense when I am the focus of attention ..I lose my focus immediately! :$

Today, I read a couple of new articles related to my topic and I intend to refer to them. One of them I received through personal communication with a key writer in this field and it sort of supports what I argued but I did not formally include it. I also wrote bullet points listing the implications of my research and future research interest (thanks to your wonderful help)

I will use some post-it notes to keep track of major agumements but will not worry much about them (I think they are just to show that I tried to prepare although really I know where every theme is by heart.)

Also have to read something written by my external examiner and maybe review my bibliography.

I am wearing a black shirt (never wore it before and not a %100 comfortable but quite formal) and grey trousers UGH the things that I have to worry about :$

Also, my hair is curly :p Does this look a bit unprofessional?

Thanks again all of you, your advice has been great so far ...and I apologise for the non-sensical messages, I feel absolutely petrified!

Will let you know how things go..


Hi there and nice to meet you,

I haven't done a Viva yet so can't offer specific advice, just try to relax if you possibly can lol. Don't worry about your hair - curly hair is not unprofessional - they'll be more interested in what's going on inside your skull rather than on top of it ;-)

I do feel for you and know I'll be exactly the same when my time comes - the thought of it terrifies me, but you've done the work, you know your stuff, just remember that this is a chance for you to shine and discuss your thesis in detail for once - at least this time people won't glaze over ;-)

Good luck, let us know how it goes, I'll be watching out for you tomorrow - there are also threads on here - a very good one by Lara is recent, that discuss the nitty gritty of the (successful) viva - it may help you to see that some people actually enjoy it once they get there, even though they are terrified before hand. You are the expert in this - sell it to them :-)


Can't offer any advice more than what's already been said. But wanted to wish you luck for tomorrow.


Best of luck tomorrow 8-)


======= Date Modified 06 Nov 2009 17:31:17 =======
I just want to say yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

Thank you thank you thank you for all your support

I passed :) I have severe migraine now but I will post more in detail soon


WoW, congratulations (up). that is great, it felt like reality tv shows only for PhDs  :$ (just kidding)


Awwwww huge huge congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 8-) Really hope your head feels better soon, can't wait to hear all about it - it helps so much for those of us still plodding through hearing about these things and getting tips. Really, really pleased for you, great news xxxxxxxxx