No Bad Cops

The strangest viva myth I’ve been asked about is whether examiners take a “Good Cop/Bad Cop” approach. It really puzzles me.

I can’t wrap my head around the idea. Which one is supposed to be the bad cop?

Your internal? Someone who has to make sure that the viva is fair according to the rules of your university? Someone that you likely know?

Your external? Someone who has been singled out for certain reasons by your supervisor (often in conversation with you)? Someone who often has particular interest in what you’ve done?

They’re not trying to trick you. They’re not trying to trap you. It’s not a routine. It’s not how they do things.

They’re professionals. Like cops, yes, but with a much different agenda. They’re there to examine, not interrogate.

I don’t know that you would call either examiner a good cop – but neither of them is a bad cop.

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