Failed viva

posted
02-Oct-19, 16:17
edited about 3 minutes later
by dval
Avatar for dval
posted about 2 months ago
I am shattered. I submitted my dissertation after my supervisor gave positive feedback on the dissertation. She said that the write up was very good.
I went for the viva but the examiners' feedback was negative. I was asked to resubmit.
Now that my supervisor has seen the examiner's feedback, she agrees with their feedback. Yet, she was very clear that her support will be very limited. There will be no meetings but she might read the work again. (but I am doubting this!) I am a burden for her since I am an extra number. My sense is that she washed her hands of it.

Did anyone experience this?
Where they supported or is it assumed that you work on your own on the feedback given by the examiner?
Could the university give you a new supervisor?
posted
02-Oct-19, 16:46
by bob86
Avatar for bob86
posted about 2 months ago
Sorry to hear this. I haven't experienced this personally. What was their reasons for failing you? Do you have any of your supervisors comments/feedback in writing?
posted
02-Oct-19, 19:40
by dval
Avatar for dval
posted about 2 months ago
yes, I do have the supervisor's positive comments in writing. She told me more than once that my work was good. I would never have submitted if I didn't receive good feedback from the supervisor.
The examiners gave me a full list of reasons why it's not good. Basically, they didn't like anything.
posted
02-Oct-19, 19:57
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 months ago
I am so sorry to hear this too. Her reaction seems unfair, as does the whole scenario. Do you think that you can address the things they have asked you to address? Do you have a secondary supervisor who might be more supportive?

Regardless, I think it's important to find out where you stand. Hopefully people on here will have more experience and advice. Is there anyone you can talk to at uni , for example in the student union? Or doctoral academy? There should be someone knowledgeable and impartial (not even an academic) who can answer your questions and tell you what you are or are not entitled to. At my uni, it was called the doctoral academy.

I hope you get clarity soon.
posted
02-Oct-19, 21:06
by bob86
Avatar for bob86
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From dval:
yes, I do have the supervisor's positive comments in writing. She told me more than once that my work was good. I would never have submitted if I didn't receive good feedback from the supervisor.
The examiners gave me a full list of reasons why it's not good. Basically, they didn't like anything.


I find it bizarre that your supervisor provided you with positive feedback on the work prior to submission and now appears to be doing a U-turn by agreeing with the negative feedback of the examiners - have you challenged her on this? You mentioned that you feel your supervisor just wants to wash her hands of the situation - how was your working relationship with her throughout the PhD? If you've received a revise & re-submit then I'm guessing there will be additional analysis/work involved to satisfy the requirements of the examiners - won’t you need some form of contact/meetings with the supervisor to ensure that those requirements have been satisfied?

I agree with the advice from Tudor_Queen, at this stage you probably need to sit down with someone from your doctoral academy (or an equivalent body at your institution) to formulate a plan for moving forward.
posted
03-Oct-19, 10:13
edited about 26 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 months ago
I am sorry to hear this. As the others have said, talk with the graduate school and anyone senior about what you can do.

How bad is the revise and resubmit? Is it the entire concept, the data itself or overall quality?
posted
04-Oct-19, 17:54
by dval
Avatar for dval
posted about 2 months ago
My relationship with my supervisor wasn't easy throughout. She tended to disappear for months, for example, doesn't answer the emails at times, cancelled or dnd'd the appointments. I even had to ask her superiors to engage her twice. (always being very diplomatic). Yet, I felt that when she was engaged she provided good constructive feedback. She read my chapters several times. I trusted her academic judgement. But now she agreed with the examiners, meaning that even her academic judgement was wrong. And while I can excuse some aspects I cannot excuse everything. Some things are too basic and should have been seen years ago. So I was wondering whether there could be a change of supervisor at this stage. But I am afraid that the university will not agree with this as finally, I am responsible for my work. yet, I do want good guidance.
posted
05-Oct-19, 18:47
by bob86
Avatar for bob86
posted about 2 months ago
Your current supervisor played a big part in reassuring you that your thesis was ready for submission so I can totally understand you wanting a new supervisor to guide you through the corrections phase. It certainly sounds like you have grounds for one. In saying that, however, I would definitely think things through first before you decide to raise it with the university as I presume it will involve some form of official complaint. Certainly you want to avoid mentioning things like ‘’Some things are too basic and should have been seen years ago’’ as at this stage you are supposed to know the work better than the supervisor. Good luck and I hope you get things sorted.
posted
05-Oct-19, 20:37
edited about 11 seconds later
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 2 months ago
I am sorry that you had to go through this. Unfortunately I doubt the university would change the supervisor too. For them you are a burden who they would like to get rid off. Even your desk and computer they would try to take back as soon as possible. Try to get help from Postdocs or secondary supervisors but at the same time do your best to finish. I wish everything goes well soon.
posted
05-Oct-19, 21:03
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 months ago
I think you need to talk to someone really in the know - and then get a second opinion if needed. Make sure you keep all written (emails, uni system etc) records of everything that supports your case for if this all ends with you making an appeal. I was thinking - you may be ENTITLED to a supervisor. You just need to find out what is what. Good luck.
posted
17-Oct-19, 09:39
by azhan
Avatar for azhan
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From dval:
I am shattered. I submitted my dissertation after my supervisor gave positive feedback on the dissertation. She said that the write up was very good.
I went for the viva but the examiners' feedback was negative. I was asked to resubmit.
Now that my supervisor has seen the examiner's feedback, she agrees with their feedback. Yet, she was very clear that her support will be very limited. There will be no meetings but she might read the work again. (but I am doubting this!) I am a burden for her since I am an extra number. My sense is that she washed her hands of it.

Did anyone experience this?
Where they supported or is it assumed that you work on your own on the feedback given by the examiner?
Could the university give you a new supervisor?


Hi,

Which university do you go to? If you don't mind me asking?

At my university, they have like yearly (mini) vivas explaining what you have done in that year to the examiners. Is that not a thing at your university?
posted
02-Dec-19, 13:23
Avatar for PhDFinally19732
posted about 1 week ago
Just sending vibes of support! I had to resubmit too, and managed to push through in the end and I now have my degree.

Before my viva, I met with my supervisor who said I'd get either 3 or 6 months corrections, so they were feeling positive. However, after the viva, they started to talk about how I submitted the work without them seeing it as a complete piece, and how they didn't have the chance to give me feedback.

This was not true. In march we had agreed on a timeline, and final draft deadline for the summer. I sent my chapters in two separate files, 2 days apart, so yes, it wasn't one file, but it was the full draft. I got feedback from them, very minor things at that point and off it went in the end of September. So yeah, I felt betrayed by them, but was afraid to challenge them on this because I needed a good relationship in order to push through the resubmission.

So I get how you feel. Work to get a working relationship with a supervisor who can help. I think universities vary on this, but contact the student services about if you could get someone else who would help you during the resubmission work. Do you have a graduate school contact - someone who you can contact in supervisor issues (mine does)? I don't think they can just let you go at this stage, I'm sure they are obligated to offer you supervision..but maybe your current sup is not the right person.

More importantly, you're not alone to get that result. I felt really alone, but everyone I talked about this to at the university knew many others. We just don't hear about it a lot. You'll get there, just focus on doing what your examiners want. It's just a delay, with more work. It sucks, but it's just the final hurdle!

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