Viva- countdown- one month today


======= Date Modified 01 Mar 2011 09:30:08 =======
Hi all,

Yikes- my viva will take place a month today- (on April Fools Day!)

I suddenly feel extremely motivated and determined enough to really go for this. I'm also relaxed, clear minded and focused which is a complete turn around from my extreme anxiety ridden state. Despite the MANY shortcomings of my thesis, I feel confident today.

I'm trying to block out all negative thinking by focusing on the positives of my thesis (as outlined previously on this website) and highlighting where my work fits in within the context of social care.

I can see that I've developed professionally as I can spot the mistakes I've made throughout my thesis. Although acknowledging these mistakes is a very painful experience(as it supports my beliefs of a substandard thesis)- at least I can highlight to my examiners that I'm aware of my mistakes and I intend to correct them in a subsequent draft.

On a more positive note, I'm starting to agree with my supervisors that I have an extensive thesis which really taps into a very under-researched field. At the very least, I've tapped into some innovative research that supports, extends and elaborates on my external examiners publications.

I just hope they don't fail me with an MPhil (which according to my sups is a possibility if I'm not clear on my research aims)!

I'm going to spend today updating and revising my literature review chapters.

Thanks for reading.


Avatar for Batfink27

Good luck pineapple! Sounds like you've got some clear thoughts on the next steps so that must be a positive thing!


Hey Pineapple- good to hear, I hope I'm that calm and focussed a month before my viva! And at the end of the day, the PhD is a learning experience- it's fine to say you'd do things a bit differently if you had your time again (now I'm trying to analyse my data I'm thinking of a million things I'd do differently). The main thing is spotting them and learning from them! Sounds like your sups are really positive about your thesis too... hope you manage to stay calm over the next few weeks! Best, KB


Good luck with the viva prep Pineapple, remember you had loads of positives demonstrating how your thesis contributes to your own field and the wider field as well



Thanks for the support everyone :)

Supervisors said, yes my thesis is extensive and far more extensive than their respective PhDs, BUT they also said an extensive PhD is a weakness with my thesis because my examiners will have mostly likely lost the 'thread' and 'story'. I can't win with my sups! :(

At the moment, I'm trying to keep myself out of MPhil/ failure territory by planning how to structure a resubmitted draft, tightening up my research objectives and following various viva tips from this website. I know there's lots of shortcomings with my thesis, so I'm trying to identify most of them now!

eeeeek- I hope I haven't left it too late for serious viva prep!

I still have a little demon on my shoulder telling me that I will never get through this or they will fail me outright, but I'm doing everything I can to focus on the positives about my work and ignore the negative defeatist thinking.

I've put so much work into it, I refuse to admit defeat now. My supervisors were more or less convinced that I'll never make it through the upgrading procedures (and I passed with flying colours second time round) so in many ways, it feels like I'm back there again, trying to prove to them that I CAN DO THIS (whereas they've pretty much hinted that it could go either way- MPhil/revise and resubmit).

In a months time, right about now, I'll be in the middle of my viva- how scary is that?!?!


Well, it sounds like your prep is going brilliantly, and you'll be even better prepared by the time of your viva! I had a 'oh my god this is actually happening' moment halfway through my viva where I realised I was actually in my viva. Weird. I find it hard to believe you could possibly MPhil/fail from the amount of original research you have completed. Fingers crossed for you!


======= Date Modified 05 Mar 2011 09:03:41 =======
Hello, just an update really.

I'm going to spend the weekend updating my literature review chapters and placing my findings in the context of very recent publications and social policy. In doing so, I've come across some key papers I originally missed from my literature review (although rather obscure references)!!!!! which has increased my worry and anxiety levels considerably! It shows that my literature review chapters are not as comprehensive as they could have been. It also perhaps shows that I'm an amateur researcher!!

How do I approach this one?!?! Perhaps admit these omissions, show an awareness of other relevant studies related to my research and discuss a plan of action to integrate them within a resubmitted draft?! I could say I wanted to focus on research exclusively carried out in the UK rather than integrating research findings from abroad (although perhaps a weak justification!).

On the plus point, these new pieces of evidence largely support my findings and also highlight the strengths of my work (ie new research). Reading these papers are also helping me revise literature surrounding my thesis.  I'm hoping I'm not making a mistake here or wasting my time by reviewing these papers! I only want to spend 2 days collecting papers and the rest of the time swotting up on my thesis. Equally, if their not going to let me resubmit for a PhD, then what's the point?!?!

I keep coming across mistakes in my thesis that only discourages me from looking at my thesis.I'm trying to stay positive, but I have no idea how I'm going to get through this viva in one piece!!!?

Anyway, in order to counter=act the negativity shown above,  I'm going to try and focus on believing in my self, increasing my self efficacy and trying to force myself to look at my thesis. I'm also working on challenging my negative cognitions by redefining this situation and focusing on my successful academic achievement from my past. For example, my internal examiner for this forthcoming viva wrote in my upgrade report that I have an impressively well structured and extensive thesis and I have the academic capabilities to complete a PhD.

I just want this nightmare to be over soon. I feel like I'm living in some sort of hell dimension!




Don't panic! I also found papers I should have included in my lit review, and also completely forgot to include some that were directly related to my project, but showed opposite results (which could be explained by differences in the methods) :$. I had read these papers and don't know why I didn't think to include them, but my internal brought it up as he had found them and wondered if I hadn't mentioned them because they had different results. I just said I had read the papers (a couple of years ago mind :$), and they asked me to include them and explain the differences in my lit review when I did my corrections. It wasn't a problem at all. I think as long as you are aware of them you are fine. You can always add them in your corrections if required :-)

You sound so prepared and organised, so just stay positive :-) You can do this!!!


======= Date Modified 07 Mar 2011 09:26:03 =======
Thanks Littlestar.

Feeling a little overwhelmed, deflated and sad this morning.

I have a mountain of new studies to work through. I want to be in a position where I can show some awareness of these new studies and show them that I've acknowledged that I'm aware of these omissions and I intend to integrate them into my literature review chapters. However, I don't want to spend too much time on this literature review stuff though as I'm running out of time!!!!!!!! But these papers contain useful discussion points and also includes comments on why my research is necessary and important for this field- so hopefully not a waste of my time.

In drawing up these publications, as I've argued in my the thesis, virtually all of these studies explore my two vulnerable population groups as two homogenous population groups. My thesis is one of the very few studies that explored the experiences of these two vulnerable population groups both as separate groups and as a combined group. By collecting data on both populations, unlike other studies (which makes my research distinctive) I'm in a position whereby I can ascertain the similarities and differences of peoples experiences of this particular service. I can also comment on whether the experiences of one vulnerable population group is representative, generalisible or similar to the experiences of the other vulnerable population group. This raises potential questions on drawing generalisations across vulnerable groups as a whole as I've found many differences in experiences of services within and between vulnerable group populations. Also raises potential questions and implications about quality of life between the two population groups or perhaps reflects a wider societal perception of supporting these vulnerable groups within services? Anyway, perhaps a another contribution to add to the mix? My examiners and my supervisors are specialist in one vulnerable population group, whereas I'm trying to identify and illuminate some speciality with two vulnerable population groups. Again, perhaps another strength of my work? I can add to the evidence base by developing publications on the two separate population groups as well as publications on exploring the two population groups in one publication. Or maybe I've just missed the point entirely! ;-) :$

Anyway, plan for action this week is to draw up a document of acknowledged omissions from my second literature review chapter and try and work on ways to improve my methods, results, discussion and conclusion chapters. I also need to work on viva preparation questions! eeeeeek I'm running out of time!!

I really hope they don't fail me! I feel like I'm in a nightmare on death row about to face the firing squad! Must crack on....... thanks for the support everyone


i don't think you are running out of time, it actually sounds like you are loading work on yourself! your thesis (from what you have written) sounds very extensive and I would be concerned about putting too much pressure on yourself to read everything there is that could possibly relate back to your work. Of course I can't know if this is the case or not but please remain selective on what you read to prep you for your thesis and be aware not to overdo it.
You are allowed not to know things, after all you are a PhD STUDENT not a Prof with many years experience and knowledge. I um-ed and ah-ed though my viva and said 'I don't know' a couple of times and backed it up with a 'what do you think'? to the examiners and swung it round to something I did know. It was fine to do that, they are exploring your knowledge boundaries, not trying to trick you (at least mine weren't!).