Negative report received after successful viva!

posted
15-Jun-17, 19:42
Avatar for Drew16CW
posted about 3 years ago
I had my viva two weeks ago and it went really well ending in a pass with minor corrections. However, when I got the corrections list I also received the examiners' reports. The internal's report was positive and only mentioned a few areas that he thought needed clarification. The external's report, on the other hand, was very very critical and negative. It even started with "At present, I am not convinced that this submission is of doctoral quality, although it would make a very decent MPhil" and ended with "At the moment, I am inclined towards MPhil, or resubmission with substantial amendments." So how the hell did I pass? What happened between writing that report and the end of the viva? I'm glad I had no idea of how they felt beforehand or I would have crumbled.

Also, interestingly, the external was lovely during the viva and I felt like it was an enjoyable chat with no harsh or aggressive questioning, so I was expecting to read some complimentary comments in the report. I feel a little deflated now and that I only just scraped through.
posted
16-Jun-17, 11:07
edited about 6 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 3 years ago
We don't get our reports after the viva, probably could, but I'm too scared to ask! I have a feeling my internal and external had a battle between minor and major corrections for me and luckily my internal won out.

If this report was written before your viva, then maybe they didn't rate your thesis, but you did extremely well in the viva, so they changed their mind in the end? I've heard examiners make comments like this.
posted
16-Jun-17, 13:21
edited about 29 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 years ago
Hi, in my institution the report is written before the viva. The fact that you passed is what mattered. It sounds as though you must have defended your thesis superbly and changed that examiner's mind. It is weird though. Could you chat to your supervisor about it just to get their take on it (e.g., maybe they'll say it is something that happens commonly, or that they'll find it equally odd but will reassure you about your work anyway - so you can put any doubts to bed).
posted
16-Jun-17, 15:56
edited a moment later
by Kamali
Avatar for Kamali
posted about 3 years ago
Just work on the Amendmends and try to finish before the deadline, forget about your viva its over and wont be repeated, and you passed. So enjoy.
posted
16-Jun-17, 17:31
Avatar for Drew16CW
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
We don't get our reports after the viva, probably could, but I'm too scared to ask! I have a feeling my internal and external had a battle between minor and major corrections for me and luckily my internal won out.

If this report was written before your viva, then maybe they didn't rate your thesis, but you did extremely well in the viva, so they changed their mind in the end? I've heard examiners make comments like this.



I think mine had a battle too and, as with you, the internal won out. The reports were the ones written prior to the exam. It just bothers me that the viva was so instrumental in me passing. It makes me wonder whether the thesis is any good.
posted
16-Jun-17, 17:39
edited about 6 seconds later
Avatar for Drew16CW
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
Hi, in my institution the report is written before the viva. The fact that you passed is what mattered. It sounds as though you must have defended your thesis superbly and changed that examiner's mind. It is weird though. Could you chat to your supervisor about it just to get their take on it (e.g., maybe they'll say it is something that happens commonly, or that they'll find it equally odd but will reassure you about your work anyway - so you can put any doubts to bed).


Sorry, I wasn't clear. The reports were the ones written before the viva, but they were given to me after with the list of corrections. I guess I must have done really well in the viva, which makes me feel good, but then it scares me that the viva was the deciding factor, as I hoped the thesis was of a good enough quality to start with. I emailed my supervisor earlier today and he replied saying that it's not entirely unusual and that he sees the reports as just the starting points for discussion on the day of the viva. He says they are meant to be critical and that any issues they felt unsure about will have been addressed in the viva. He said that it was an exam and I passed and now I should just concentrate on the amendments and not think about the reports.
posted
16-Jun-17, 17:42
Avatar for Drew16CW
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Kamali:
Just work on the Amendmends and try to finish before the deadline, forget about your viva its over and wont be repeated, and you passed. So enjoy.


Thanks Kamali. You're absolutely right! I know I'm just fussing about silly things and need to get on with the amendments instead. (That's what my wife keeps telling me anyway).
posted
16-Jun-17, 19:23
edited about 13 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 years ago
Yes - and also there is the fact that there is a huge element of subjectivity... one examiner can think one thing, and another something entirely different. The viva obviously dissolved any questions that one examiner previously had for whatever reason.

Congratulations and all the best finishing off the amendments!
posted
16-Jun-17, 20:16
edited about 24 seconds later
by Kamali
Avatar for Kamali
posted about 3 years ago
forgot to say Congratulations Dr Drew16Cw
posted
16-Jun-17, 21:37
Avatar for Drew16CW
posted about 3 years ago
Tudor_Queen – Yes, I think you're right. Good job we have two examiners! I guess the combination of the internal thinking it was a good thesis and me answering the questions well/defending convincingly won the external over. Thank you!

Kamall – thank you!
posted
16-Jun-17, 22:04
by Pjlu
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 3 years ago
Congratulations Dr Drew, well done on achieving your PhD and completing an excellent viva!
posted
17-Jun-17, 11:00
Avatar for Drew16CW
posted about 3 years ago
Hi Pjlu – thank you very much!

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