I am submitting my PhD now and my supervisor told that my conclusions are poor and the thesis is short. He also told that the thesis doesn't reflect all the work I did. This is because many of my experiments didn't work and didn't contribute to the final product. I don't know what I can do at this point. I also don't know how the thesis can be stronger with corrections after the viva. I am expecting a straight fail.
Do you know anyone who passed the viva with poor conclusions? What's enough for a PhD?
I'm very upset and hardly slept this week.
======= Date Modified 25 May 2011 12:58:51 =======
I'm days away from viva (assuming they don't cancel on me again). I've just experienced a panic attack due to yet more changes to my viva time, so we're in the same boat re worrying about failing.
I just wanted to say that I completely share your emotions and sleep deprivation experiences. Although I'm completely the opposite (ie an overly long thesis), my supervisors have similarly said that my conclusions and my discussion chapter needs considerable revisions and complete rewrites. I'm trying not to think the worst (ie a straight fail which is a common occurrences in my thought process) and concentrate on preparing for this viva by highlighting my strengths.
My understanding is that 'what's enough for a PhD' is some contribution to knowledge, originality and a strong understanding and critical appreciation of the thesis area. Being able to acknowledge thesis limitations etc is another area of consideration and something that their looking for. Furthermore, I think the whole point of the viva/PhD is to show that your capable of working as a robust, independent and competent researcher.
Given the extent of spelling mistakes, interchangeable terminology, omissions in earlier literature review chapters and an overly long thesis, I'm expecting a grilling for submitting a sloppy thesis. My sups think there is a possibility of an MPhil if I'm not careful in the viva. I had no choice but to submit my thesis, hence the level of errors throughout. All I can do now, is just try and convince them that my work is worthy of a PhD (and not a straight fail or an MPhil) and that I have a plan of action for what to delete and add for a potential resubmission.
You're definitely not alone. Best of luck with your submission! :) and well done for getting to the submission stage! :)
I think that you cannot really say anything until the viva has taken place. I saw people going through it and pass even though I would have not bet a penny on their thesis, and other failing or passing with major corrections because of bad supervision etc.
I also think that it is perfectly normal to feel as you/we do. I feel the same, although as I have a small child and some health problems at the moment, the focus is not entirely on the outcome of the viva.
My supervisor is very optimistic about my thesis, but as I don't trust him I expect major corrections anyway. I dreamt that faceless examiners shouted that my conclusion was inconclusive... So, as you can see we are in the same boat!
My supervisor was convinced that - at best - my examiners would want my conclusions to be substantially rewritten. He thought they were weak.
My thesis was also under-length. For my department 80-100,000 words are expected. Mine came in at 70,000 words.
I passed with minor typo corrections. Nothing had to be rewritten, including my conclusions.
I should also have said that this is the stage where you have to stand on your own two feet and defend your thesis, and believe in it. Even if some of your experiments have gone wrong you have produced a thesis, and should be prepared to defend it.
My other supervisor had other big concerns about my thesis. I thought he was wrong too. The examiners - again - agreed with me.
Thank you for your replies.
I'm very stressed now and I can't sleep at all and go around like a zombie. My partner is in our home country so I am also alone.
The good thing is that my viva is in few weeks so I don't have to wait for months. Both of my examiners don't work on my thesis subject. Besides my external is not academic and it will be his first examination. So I don't know what's waiting for me.
Bilbo, you gave me some hope. Thank you!
Corinne, good to know that I'm not alone. Best of luck with your viva.
Pineapple, I know your troubles. I really admire your determination. Good luck to you too!
I suspect your PhD is well outside my area.
I'm sure someone famous must have said this but do we not learn as much from failure as we do from successes. The fact that your experiments didn't work is adding to knowledge isn't it, wouldn't someone learn from your experiences? I have read a number of PhD were the answer was it didn't work and they were very interesting, the conclusions in some laid the way for a future career of research.
As someone said below; defend what you've done and emphasise what you and others can learn from it.
All the best, Chuff
======= Date Modified 27 May 2011 19:51:42 =======
I passed my viva with minor corrections. Corrections are really minor. They found important results in the thesis which are not stressed enough. They liked very much the conclusions chapter and it's the only chapter without any corrections at all.
I will start a new job next week so I am very pleased with result.
I wish best of luck to the ones who didn't have the viva yet.
First of all, congratulations!!!!:-):-):-)
Secondly, may I ask you some questions?
Is what your supervisor said (thesis is short- the thesis doesn't reflect all the work) true? In my case, many of my experiments also didn't work and didn't contribute to the final product. I feel & think that I don't have much significant results to be included in the thesis. If the same also applies to you, may I know how do you approach & defend your thesis/ viva? I mean, do you stress only on the parts that produce significant results, do you include that parts that does not work, what are the main points that you focus on, etc etc etc...
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