Looking for reassurance from others who had the ‘bad viva’ experience. I just had my viva today and it was pretty bruising. Both supervisors (professors, very experienced) told me the thesis was really good and not to expect any drama and treat viva as a collegial discussion. Instead it was 3hrs of detailed grilling. The internal examiner spoke about three sentences overall and the external led everything. The internal made clear that he felt there were minor corrections only, but I’ve ended up with major and have been told I will need to redo the statistical analysis of two of my papers. The external spent a lot of time telling me that I should do the analysis a certain way. I justified why I had done them as I had (following previous research in the field, including recommendations on analysis from published reviews) and obviously both supervisors had agreed with the approach. The external said that what I had done wasn’t wrong, but the way they would do it was ‘better’ and hence I would have to reanalyse everything. I struggled with statistics and have found it really disheartening to know I have to revisit it all and toss out all the work I did. Does it seem acceptable to have to reanalyse based on the externals opinion when there are valid opinions (in literature and in supervisory team) to the contrary? I’m thinking I just have to do it as the external has all the power and could fail me if I don’t do it - it was clear in viva that differences of opinion meant that I was wrong and they were right, rather than being a discussion, so I don’t feel I’d get far debating it further. Just feeling really upset about how it all went. At no point during the viva was anything positive said about the work and it felt really combative and rather than questions it was a series of statements about what I’d done wrong. Is this how it’s meant to go? It felt like a really tough, in person, round with reviewer 2 rather then the discussion I was expecting.
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