Two ideas that popped into my mind at a Viva Survivor workshop last week:
- If you and some colleagues are currently writing: go exploring in your department’s thesis collection. See what people have submitted in the last few years. Meet once a month to discuss what you’ve found. Perhaps you could all read a thesis per month or take it in turns. You might find something interesting but your goal should be to look at style, formatting, layout and argument construction. As a group, create a list of helpful thoughts for your own work. How can you best layout your thesis? How can you setup a good structure? and so on. Use this to make writing up better.
- If you’ve submitted and are preparing for the viva: invite some colleagues into a very special book club. Only one book involved: yours. If you have time, get them to read and think about a chapter per week, then invite them to ask you questions. If there isn’t time for a regular meeting, you could arrange a one-off event. Your friends get a copy of your thesis in advance to read, you give a short overview of your research at the start and then take questions.
As option two is geared solely around your thesis you might have to pay for some refreshments – but that’s a small investment compared to the benefits of valuable questions from your colleagues!