Terrible thesis

posted
23-Sep-17, 01:51
edited a moment later
by jambo
Avatar for jambo
posted about 2 years ago
I am worried as I submitted a thesis because I had to. However, it was not polished with regards to formatting. I also feel like something is missing. It is short and I did not give enough background on my case study, and one of my supervisors told me that the purpose of my research was not clear - shortly before submission.

I feel like I am such a terrible person, because I should have been able to submit something more decent. I want to show that I did enough work for 4 years. But this is not showing on my thesis. I don't want to be told to come back with an MPHIL. Major corrections would be ok because it would allow me to write something decent.

One of my supervisors said I should not feel bad about my thesis because they read it and think it's ok (not great, but not terrible).

How can I stop feeling terrible? I had no choice. I had to submit. I didn't have time to read it before submitting it, so I am expecting to see major typos, etc. I don't want to open it. I am too embarrassed to even go to the viva and face my examiners, and tell them 'here's what I have done in 4 years. I did not even have time to proof it, and check for consistency.'


I feel like I already know the outcome - realistically speaking, the best I can hope for is major corrections. I am worried of not getting that.




I would appreciate kind words to calm me down. Many thanks.
posted
23-Sep-17, 07:36
edited about 23 seconds later
by Beasley
Avatar for Beasley
posted about 2 years ago
Hi Jambo. I'm sure someone more experienced will be along soon to give you some helpful advice, but I wanted to say that you've submitted and that not everyone gets that far. Well done! I am a week from submission and still writing. I know that what I hand in is not going to be polished, but we are all just doing our best in the circumstances. If one of your supervisors has told you that it's ok, try to hold on to that. I think outright MPhil's are rare and that you will have a chance to prove that you can do better.

I get that you feel terrible now, but I don't think it will last. Perhap you can give yourself a break from it all, find yourself some perspective, then get to work on really preparing yourself for the viva, going in with a list of corrections and ready to convince them that you are aware of the shortcomings and have a clear idea what to do about them. Speak to your supervisors maybe and other students and find out what you can do at this stage to help your situation.

There's a very good chance it's not as bad as you think, but submiting is a big achievement in itself and if you can go into the viva really prepared you can surely swing the outcome in your favour. Take a break, but don't give up on your work. You've come so far.
posted
25-Sep-17, 08:23
edited about 2 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 2 years ago
Jambo, please try not to worry. You can't predict the outcome of your viva, which is completely at the whim of your examiners.

In my research group, I've seen examiners tell students their theses are wonderful, when I think they are average, and I've seen examiners tell students their theses are just acceptable, when I think they are pretty great, so what I'm saying is, it is irrelevant what anyone, other than the examiners, thinks.

This sort of thing happens all the time. If you've done good work, you will be able to articulate this in the viva and the examiners should see this and give you time to revise your thesis. You are unlikely to be awarded an MPhil if your research is high quality and has merit.
posted
25-Sep-17, 11:36
edited about 10 seconds later
by Ephiny
Avatar for Ephiny
posted about 2 years ago
I had a similar experience - my original thesis submission was very rushed, which meant it was badly organised, under-referenced, not enough background given, missing results, inadequate figures etc. I had my viva and was (unsurprisingly) asked to do major corrections and resubmit. I did so, following the examiners' advice, and my resubmission passed with no further amendments. I was upset at the time to have to resubmit, but I ended up with a much stronger thesis.

It might be the same for you. If you're lucky, you could get minor corrections, but major corrections or revise/resubmit are not disastrous outcomes - look at them as a second chance. I agree it's really unlikely you would be offered an MPhil just because of an inadequate thesis. If you can show the examiners in the viva that you have actually done the work to merit a PhD, it's just that your actual thesis document isn't as good as it could be, they should give you the chance to correct it. Remember, no one submits a perfect thesis, so don't worry about typos etc, they can be fixed!
posted
26-Sep-17, 01:52
edited about 31 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 years ago
Quote From jambo:
I am worried as I submitted a thesis because I had to. However, it was not polished with regards to formatting. I also feel like something is missing. It is short and I did not give enough background on my case study, and one of my supervisors told me that the purpose of my research was not clear - shortly before submission.

I feel like I am such a terrible person, because I should have been able to submit something more decent. I want to show that I did enough work for 4 years. But this is not showing on my thesis. I don't want to be told to come back with an MPHIL. Major corrections would be ok because it would allow me to write something decent.

One of my supervisors said I should not feel bad about my thesis because they read it and think it's ok (not great, but not terrible).

How can I stop feeling terrible? I had no choice. I had to submit. I didn't have time to read it before submitting it, so I am expecting to see major typos, etc. I don't want to open it. I am too embarrassed to even go to the viva and face my examiners, and tell them 'here's what I have done in 4 years. I did not even have time to proof it, and check for consistency.'


I feel like I already know the outcome - realistically speaking, the best I can hope for is major corrections. I am worried of not getting that.




I would appreciate kind words to calm me down. Many thanks.


I hate to say it but it's way too late to be worrying about this now. The time for this level of introspection was probably last year.
Not comforting words perhaps but you have no choice now but to wait. None of us have read your thesis so we can't comment about the likelihood of success or failure.

The only thing I can say is that your viva is designed to check for two things. Did you do enough work to justify the award and can you prove you did it yourself by being able to talk about it? In theory they should not viva you if you fail the first test because there would be no point but there are a lot of bastards out there on a power trip. You will get your viva soon enough. It will probably be horrible but in about 3 to 4 hours it will be over and you will immediately have an idea about the scale of likely changes. You MUST make sure you read your thesis thoroughly. You can easily rescue a crap thesis by being great in the viva. Know your stuff inside out, go along with post-its all over your thesis showing that you have picked up your own corrections and cross your fingers. Good luck.

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