Cheesed off - viva result

posted
03-Jul-17, 18:41
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for punksparkle
posted about 3 years ago
Dear all,

Lurked here for many a year but not posted. I just wanted to share with you (to gain some support I suppose) my viva experience last week. Despite positive feedback from my supervisors (my very experienced first supervisor thought I would get minor corrections), and revising the thesis in-line with their advice, I am afraid the examiners in the viva were highly critical of my work, and was no more than a 'discussion' (with no negotiation) of all the things the external took exception to in my thesis.

I felt the viva was little more than working through a snagging list of issues, very little positive was said. I was commended with 'doing more work than needed for a PhD', the systematic lit review was very well received with a recommendation to publish, but basically that was it! The outcome was mixed and the verbal feedback fell into two of the outcome categories. 'substantive corrections' but 6- 12 months time span was mentioned, no second viva needed, but to be read by both examiners. The external's parting shot was that she was going to re-read my thesis!! I am awaiting the official report, but am seriously thinking about forgetting the whole thing and just getting on with my life. I have a FT academic job and have no ambition to be anything other than a senior lecturer.
posted
03-Jul-17, 22:28
edited about 4 minutes later
by Ephiny
Avatar for Ephiny
posted about 3 years ago
I think it's completely understandable to feel that way, but it would seem a shame to walk away without your PhD after all the work you've put into it! Maybe try to take a short break (you have to wait for the report anyway, right?) and see how you feel.

I got 18 months major corrections/resubmit (thankfully no second viva either), was devastated at the time and thought of quitting many times, but I got the corrections done and am waiting for the result now. Whatever the outcome, I think I'd regret it if I hadn't at least tried.

It is really frustrating to have a setback like this, especially when you thought you were almost done with your PhD, and your supervisors thought your work was good. Unfortunately it's the examiner's opinion that counts, and there's no predicting them sometimes. Hopefully they'll give you a clear list of the corrections they want, and you can just get them done, get your PhD and then move on with your life!
posted
04-Jul-17, 07:31
edited about 9 seconds later
Avatar for punksparkle
posted about 3 years ago
Thanks Ephiny for your kind words,

I do hope that you pass, please keep me posted. It must be a nervous time for you. Good luck !

Yes, hopefully the report will come soon and I can get to work. The revisions are totally do-able, and I do actually agree with most of the suggestions of improvement. I was asked to put extra variables into a series of regression models.

Most pleasingly, they make no jot of difference to the statistical predictors, and thus the subsequent discussion! This will no doubt displease the internal as I perceived a great deal of glee was gained from the potential work I would have to do!! I think that's my problem. Not the actual corrections, but the attitudes of the examiners in the viva. I felt as if they did not want to award me the PhD. (I know that this is probably untrue as a lecturer myself, they are no that interested in me as an individual). We live and learn!
posted
04-Jul-17, 08:37
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 3 years ago
Mine was horrible too. It feels very rough, doesn't it, after the years of hard work and the feedback from your supervisors saying you're nearly there, it's very good, we're looking at minor corrections, and then you walk in and get such a sour end to things. My external doesn't want to see my thesis again, but I've been given corrections, a couple of which may tighten things up a bit, but the majority of which just reflect the external's particular interests and not mine.

I've found myself in the weird position of having passed my PhD and not wanting to tell anyone. I've been trawling through old threads and I think there are a few of us in this boat, and it looks to me like people just grit their teeth and get the corrections done, and eventually move to a better place with it all. With you in spirit on this one - it is grim and unpredictable and makes you feel robbed of something just at the most stressful point.
posted
04-Jul-17, 13:30
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 3 years ago
I had exactly this experience. Mentally, it was one of the most disturbing things I have encountered for a while and it takes a lot to shake me. I got minor corrections, but there was no positivity at all and I felt I was totally worthless, inadequate and that I should quit academia asap. I felt all my years of work were for nothing and that all the good things my supervisors said about me were wrong. This was even though I already had a paper published and had started a postdoc. No one should have a viva experience like this and I don't know what these examiners are thinking conducting themselves like this.

Anyway, it took me a while after the viva to realise that the examiner was an idiot, didn't know anything about my field and this was just his 'style' of dealing with people.

Since my viva, I have had 5 papers published, started an academic teaching job and today, I just got my first grant! It's only for £2k for consumables, but still!

Those examiners don't know what they're talking about - you're already a lecturer - just make the corrections, and move on.
posted
04-Jul-17, 13:32
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 3 years ago
@chickpea You've kept this quiet on here I think? I don't remember seeing you post about your viva before.

Congrats for passing anyway - so nearly there now!
posted
04-Jul-17, 14:51
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
@chickpea You've kept this quiet on here I think? I don't remember seeing you post about your viva before.

Congrats for passing anyway - so nearly there now!


Thank you, TreeofLife - yeah, it hit me like a ton of bricks and I did not want to tell anyone about it. Glad to hear you moved on so well from your viva experience though - we need examples like that :-)
posted
05-Jul-17, 16:21
edited about 21 seconds later
Avatar for punksparkle
posted about 3 years ago
Thank you all for your reassurance, although it is sad that we have experienced a less than satisfactory viva. It has been over a week now, and I have yet to hear about the corrections I have to undertake.

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