Look back over your PhD. It may seem like a straight-line journey has brought you to the finish line. But that’s only one path. There may be lots of ways you could have gone, and lots of times things might not have worked out. What would you have done then?
It can be fruitful to explore this area by using questions. Some of these kinds of questions line up neatly with general areas your examiners might want to explore; others simply lead you to reflect on what you’ve done:
- How else could you have started your project?
- How could you have used different methods in your research?
- How could you have made use of more resources?
- How would you have managed with fewer resources?
- How would you have coped if you’d not got the results you’d needed?
- How else could someone interpret your results?
- How would you do things differently knowing what you know now?
These kinds of questions help to explore your contribution and how you got it. They also help to strengthen your competence as a researcher.
Butterfly wings flap and the world changes. What then? How else could you have got through your PhD?