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2 weeks ago I had my viva...my experience

The process is methodologically simple... but getting there was not simple at all. Its always "easy" once it's done!!

2 weeks ago I had my viva...my experience

Thank you Pjlu and Tudor it means a lot to receive nice messages - I was so surprised about this success :)

And thank you Pursue. I have been reading your message last night and *really* want to thank you because I was hoping to talk about this in the viva but never happened!

I'd say the process is very simple - I started with my data first (whatever that may be, numerical, textual, archival) and pondered what was the biggest issue that came out from my data, filtering the noise and getting right to the heart of things. I think part is essential. Basically, what is this all about?

Then I found out who wrote about this issue, keeping my eyes open as much as I could, I followed a lot of empty leads and finally decided to analyse two different approaches... and was able to argue that they are not opposite but dialectical and their join application can provide an angle to move beyond some old theoretical and gnoseologic impasses.

Finally, I did not say my theoretical framework was super... only "convincing" - that and other things made for a "super" thesis... perhaps hyperbolic, let's say a significant piece of work :D

Have a good day all and best of luck to all, especially to those who are struggling... as I said in my previous message the struggle does not necessarily mean that you are failing. Do not confuse struggle with failure. I wish something had told me this.

Literature MA to Philosophy PhD

Hi there, my PhD was also in the arts and there is no way you can just know everything there is to know about everything in a discipline. In my opinion you are very well placed to go for this - have you thought of a subject? What would you like to study? A PhD is not a general survey course but the specific study of a "problem" or occurrence that has been understudied. What would you do?

2 weeks ago I had my viva...my experience

Hello I thought I'd tell you about my viva as there are some horror stories in this and other forums (fora?).

I can summarise it in a few words: it was great, I enjoyed every minute of it.Of course I was really worried beforehand but my examiners really liked my thesis , they put me at ease immediately and it was all very complimentary.

Both examiners were impressed by the depth and thoroughness and of my research, said that my findings are innovative and my theoretical frame convincing! They asked me to clarify a few (easy) things, noted a couple of typos (d'oh!), and then wrapped it up, recommending I publish the thesis as a monograph & suggested a job I should apply for and then they sent me home with a huge pat on the back.

I had to correct a few typos only (took 15 mins to do) and my doctorate was awarded in a matter of a few days.

I struggled during my PhD because my supervisor was a hard taskmaster but all that nitpicking and confrontation then made for a super thesis. I am saying this because if you are struggling (as i was) it does not necessarily mean that you are a muppet (as I felt many times) but because you are growing as a scholar and that may be a painful process sometimes.

Keep on keeping on, there is an end on sight, which is a new beginning.

40+ and looking for Phd. Would appreciate your advise.

Hi i also ddi my PhD in my 40s but I think if there are 2 issues in your message, the PhD but also relocating somewhere closer to India.

Should i seek the publication of a controversial paper?

Maybe I have got the wrong end of the stick but I would **never*** publish something I do not fully believe in, regardless of the effect that it can have on my career.

Help to write academically

Hi Dumbo, what field are you in?

I have just completed my PhD and am an academic journal editor - I have been working with many authors who are struggling in making their point across in academic English, and often the problem is that they have too many ideas and try to follow them all up in their writing and then the text becomes a soggy mess. PM me if you want to chat more, I am happy to look at a couple of pages of your text and give you an opinion if your field is related to mine (social history/visual studies/cultural history/historiography).

I have found Pat Thomson's blog on academic writing SUPER useful - just google "patter" and "blog" to find it.

Best of luck anyway :)

Open University

Chilax, Chaotic1328, I do not make the rules - left to me come the revolution we shall all have one state university and that shall be free.

I am just reporting on the state of affairs in my own field, and trying to give an explanation within the practice of quality control in the arts. I never said the sciences were harder but that there are more definite parameters which may level the playing field of doctorates.

You are approaching this subject and writing with your emotions - sentences like "Or have you some information about the OU PhD that are denied to the rest of us?" smack of chip on shoulder and are not really conducive to civilised debate - I have given you most of the the information I have in my previous post (lack of publications in the field, lack of scholarship, colleagues who run a master felt downgraded when they changed affiliation from a RG university to OU which are, I feel pertinent), I have begun to use economics theory - Akerlof - to explain the reason why that may be.

Iam happy to chat about this if it's an honest change of opinions and experiences.

What evidence have you got to support PhDs at the OU, and, mind, I said from the beginning that in other areas* it may be different.

*I think there is a good sociology department for instance.

Open University

Akerlof, George A., ‘The Market for “Lemons”: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol.84, no.3 (1970), pp.488–500.

If you want a full ref :D

Open University

Hi there pm133 - I think that because the arts are a 'soft' areas, the parameters of scholarly rigour can be looser than in the science and sometimes there is an enormous difference in PhD standards. It is very sad but in some places PhDs are ticking the box exercises that produce work that gives a minuscule contribution to knowledge, if any. I do not want to name and shame, but if you have a look in any subject you will see that books published tend to be from a relatively small pool of universities. This is not to say that things can change, even one person in a department can then lift the whole place up but it is a true fact in the arts that there is a hierarchy in where you study, and in what is expected from you and in the piece of work that you will be asked to produce.

Do you know the essay by economics Akerlof on selling lemons (bad used cars)? When the parameters in a field are difficult to quantify some characteristics ( ie.in Akerlof's case provenance and price) will take a greater importance than others in establishing quality.

This is particularly evident in fine art courses. Why everyone wants to go to Royal College of Art and nobody to Trilla's School of Painting? Art is art, innit? Well.. no...

to change my supervisor or not

Can I put on a different slant to this? My research was going in one direction (network analysis) and my supervisor pushed me into another (political history) - I fought this but ultimately accepted a lot of what was said to me.

I am so grateful about it now.

Because my sups was against my original method, the struggle made me really strong on why I wanted to use it and really back my arguments.

On the other hand, me capitulating in part on the suggested methodology actually added strength to my own intellectual trajectory/thesis/material etc.

So I'd say some conflict with sup may be actually good. Hate to say this because being in a battlefield is not fun, but choosing a 'yes' person is not always the best choice for one's intellectual journey.

Open University

Hm. I do not know. In my field where you get your doctorate from is certainly very important and the OU is not one of the best places. I guess depends on the field? I still have to see significant work produced from the OU which is not 'reader' for their own students.Not great on scholarship.

Recently colleagues who were running a master affiliated with another university had to break their relation and go with the OU and it wasn't a great day at the office for them and it was definitely felt it was being downgraded.

BUT there are fields in which the OU is good I guess - just not mine.

Revise & Resubmit - feeling humiliated

Hi there Ciniselli - I am also a historian - so sorry to hear. It's a difficult one isn't it? Where does your responsibility and and where does your sups begin, or where does their responsibility end and yours begin! Is it a problem of methodology/theory or archives? Whatever it is I just want to wish you strength and resilience - one thing at the time. You can do it!

Hotdesking and laptops

Thank you Tree of life, you are a Tree of Knowledge :)

Christ on a Bike

13 days ago:

I ask the printers to print out the blessed thing for proofreading as now submission is only seconds away.

405 pages.

They bill me for 405 pages. I pay for 405 pages.

I parcel the 405 pages and send it to the proofreader who proofs it, and is about to post back to me.

Then the proofreader asks:"when are you sending in the last chapters?"

Me: "What last chapter, o proofreader, I sent you the whole document, including illustrations, and bibliography: 405 pages"
Proofreader: "No, it was 182 pages, stops like death in the middle of chapter 4"
Me: ... (cries).

So now.. I was planning to have all thesis checked, get on with a couple of intense days of correcting proofs and submit next week, instead I need to sort out additional printing, send it off to proofreader and wait longer.

I know it's minor but I am at the stage when I cannot stand the blessed thing anymore. I. just. want. to. submit.

I am also being considered for a lectureship and the selecting panel is asking nervously to all my referees passive aggressive questions along the lines of "WHEN is she submitting? We can't have her at our uni if she's not doing what she's supposed to do, i.e. submitting her blessed thesis"

Christ on a Bike.

That teaches me to check other people's work, so it does.
And don't tell me "we told you so" cause it doesn't help. I know I should have checked but I did not, I saw '405 pages' on the bill and took the delivery in good faith.

I am posting this here as a warning for you all: check other people's work. Do not assume that because you are a professional and you do what you are supposed to do that they will do the same.

Christ on a Bike.