Well, there might be a clue in the name of this site… But more seriously, here’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.
A few days ago I set a survey in motion asking seven quick questions of PhD graduates from UK universities. I talk to a lot of people about the viva – some of them are graduates, and I try when possible to interview them for this podcast – but most of them are candidates. They’ve worked hard for three or more years, become experts in their field, and then I meet them at workshops where some of them are terrified that their world is about to come crashing down. Having spoken to quite a few PhD graduates there are stories and experiences I can pass on, but sometimes the “official” stats seem unclear. I thought it might be interesting to capture a snapshot of what PhD graduates from the last fourteen years have been through – both to see what the stats are, and to see what kind of a picture it creates. And who knows, there might be some interesting things in the data!
I’ve not forgotten you, in fact I’m busy working in my quiet time (Ha! I have a five month old, I have no quiet time!) on editing the first podcast of 2014 which I recorded recently. Fingers crossed that will be released before the end of the week.
In the mean time, have you got two minutes to spare?
I’m conducting a bit of research to try to get a picture of the UK PhD viva. I could ask lots and lots of questions, but thought I would get a snapshot, a quick postcard of what it’s like. If you did your PhD at a UK university and your viva was sometime this century (2000-2013) could I ask you to take two minutes and answer seven quick questions?
The survey is here: UK PhD Viva Survivors 2000-2013
If you can help with your data that would be great, and if you have the means or the contacts to boost this signal then please do. The more data I get, the more interesting picture I can potentially find amongst all of the experiences of people.
Thank you for your time!
Happy New Year!
Is it too late to say that? Maybe, but I mean it all the same – regardless of whether or not your viva is in 2014 I hope that everything goes exceptionally well for you in the twelve months. 2013 was a good year for me personally: my wife and I moved house, we had a daughter (CJ, now nearly four months old!), and I continued to be amazed by the opportunities that came my way and the interesting things that happened to me.
One thing that was less good was my commitment to the podcast. Shocking really, that this time last year I was planning to get the total number of podcasts up to 40 by the end of 2013. A massive over-estimation in terms of my time and energy (amazing what becoming a father will do for your free time). The last new episode was way back in June! Still, the podcast is not forgotten, I will just have to be a lot cleverer when it comes to carving out the time to interview people, but I’ll say more on that in a moment. Continue reading
How are you? How have you been over the summer? Hard to believe that November is almost upon us. I don’t know where 2013 has disappeared to, and since I became a father in the last six weeks, time seems to have blurred past.
The podcast will be returning soon, as life starts to become normal for me again. If I have chatted with you in the past over email, please reconnect with me and we’ll set something up. If you’ve been listening to the podcast in the last few months (and the site stats tell me that a lot of you have) and would like to contribute your story, then please get in touch.
Follow @VivaSurvivors on Twitter – tweeting should be resuming soon – share the podcasts, and keep your eyes open for more announcements between now and Christmas, as well as the return of brand new episodes!
All the best,
NathanPS – I am loving being a dad! Our daughter CJ is just amazing.
It’s been a while since I updated, work and personal life have intruded and made it more difficult for me to record and post. That’s all coming to an end though! Although I have a major life change coming up (impending fatherhood), the podcast will continue. And the site is looking a lot better than it did already.
A week ago I went to an Intermediate WordPress course held at the Omniversity of Manchester, and I was shown just what I could get WordPress to do with a bit of thought and time. The site is by no means finished though, although improvements so far have included
- a much nicer theme – this is the 2013 theme from WordPress!
- better sharing buttons – so if you like something and want to tell other people please do!
- better commenting – spam is now being blocked by Akismet!
- a Twitter feed – because, well, you might not be following @VivaSurvivors yet!
Another piece of infrastructure that is being put together is the Viva Survivors Podcast Newsletter – I don’t have all of the answers about this yet, but soon I’ll have a subscribe option for this, along with details of what to expect and when to expect it. This isn’t the first stage in sending you lots of advertising, just a means to send on links and thoughts about the viva that don’t fit with the main podcast (at the moment). I’ll write again when the newsletter is started, but keep an eye out for that.
The last thing I want to mention for now is that I have been collecting links to articles, blogposts and media related to the PhD viva. One of my goals for the next week is to sensibly curate that for a new Links and Resources page on the site. If you know of any really valuable thoughts/links to share, then please let me know so that I can pass that on via the site.
That’s all for now: keep an eye on @VivaSurvivors on Twitter, and please comment or email me if want to get in touch!
All the best,
In this edition of the podcast I’m talking to Dr Jessica Goodman, who recently had her viva at Oxford. Jess’s thesis looks at the work and experiences of Carlo Goldoni in Paris in the 18th century, and her research approaches this from many angles. It was fascinating to hear about how she did this research, as well as hear about how she prepared for her viva and what happened on the day.
Jess is currently working on her corrections and will start a position at Clare College, Cambridge, in the autumn. You can find her on Twitter here.
As ever, it would be great to hear your comments about this episode! Either leave comments after a post, email me or tweet at @VivaSurvivors (or the “real” me @DrRyder). Summer can seem like a quieter time in some academic circles, but I’m eager to interview more people so please drop me a line.
I also have a few new features that I hope to include on the site soon, and one or two interesting announcements… Stay tuned!
Podcast: Play in new window