Struggling to see the summit (post-viva angst!)


Hey everyone!

Just having a little ranting session here, so forgive me in advance!

I haven't posted on here for a while so I thought I would contribute something.....

Well I'm a few months into my resubmission journey. I'm over the stress and nightmares associated with my viva and getting stuck into my thesis rewrites ready for my resubmission next summer (although I would love to get this thing finished by spring if not sooner so I can graduate in July!). As discussed previously, most of my corrections involved cutting out 50,000 words from my PhD, most of which is tied into my literature review chapters. So right now, I'm reducing my literature review chapters.

I seem to be making a good enough start. I've integrated a new overall thesis structure and my thesis 'flow' seems to be improving.

Instead of tackling one huge monster of a thesis and tackle my 'wood through the trees problem', I've started with a completely new PhD document and working on drawing out the main points for each chapter, section and subsection. Anything in my submitted PhD which is not relevant to my main points I'm deleting or summarising. Anything which is relevant to my main points is going into my new draft. I'm slowly working through each section and subsection rather than looking at an entire chapter.

I've got 6 copies of successful PhDs (including my sups PhDs) from UK universities which are helping me to see how others have summarised such large fields.

Today, however, I'm struggling. The more I read and update my literature review chapters, the more I'm finding very important concepts that I missed the first time round.

I think I need to strike a balance between adding some new concepts, reducing some of the extra philosophical, psychological and historical context stuff and focusing on areas and concepts most relevant to my thesis research questions.

Anyway, I'll keep chipping a way at this thesis, but today, I just can't see the summit and feel very isolated. All I can see is fog and dark gloomy clouds ahead and it feels like I'm wading through treacle. Hopefully I'll get there someday. Also must remember that their allowing me to resubmit for a reason, my examiners were very positive about my work and I don't have to go through another viva voce. Surely something to be positive about?!

Plodding on slowly.......

Avatar for DrCorinne

Hello Pineapple29!

I think that you are going through the struggle that we all face during the writing up period all over again, and it is normal to feel overwhelmed when you work on such a long document. But as you said, you are making good progress, you are doing all the right things, and as you are not starting from zero, you can progress through the re-writing relatively quickly. So, there are many positive points to focus on.

I wouldn't be too concerned about new things that emerge now, or be tempted to change the focus of your thesis. I would focus on what your examiners suggested. Should I write my thesis now, I would probably changed 70% of it (and my viva was only three months ago!). There is probably never a point when you can comfortably say that your research is finished, and in the end, this is only an exercise - however big - to show that you are capable of doing research.

You will get to the end of this period before you know it. July is tomorrow.


Hi Pineapple,

you have my sympathy, removing large amounts of text is always difficult, as one gets attached to what one has written.

Obviously, I not know what your examiners have said, yet if it was to reduce the text, I would stick to that. I mean unless they have indicated that you need to add in new developments, I would be careful with that. I think, like you seem to be indicating, there is a high risk that you will collate masses of extra chunks of text and very quickly one can loose sight to what one is doing.

My advice would be (and perhaps you are doing that) to follow the instructions from the examiners to the letter. Good luck.

Kind regards,