I’ve advised candidates for a long time to think about making an edited bibliography as part of their viva preparations. Your research is based on a body of work: the edited bibliography is the skeleton you can identify supporting what you’ve done.
You could write it simply by thinking about what papers are important. If you need help, then try the following questions to start a list:
- What references have most informed your background reading?
- What references have most shaped your methods?
- What references have provided the most useful data or information?
- What references have helped you be sure about your conclusions?
- For each chapter of your thesis in turn, what references are most crucial to the material you present?
- Which papers do you need to remember?
- Which papers do you find it hard to remember?
Trim out any duplicates from the list this makes. Make sure you add the details of the authors, the journals, the year of publications. Then answer two questions for each reference: which chapter is it most relevant to? Why?
An edited bibliography can be a useful resource. I wonder if it’s even more useful when you’re creating it? Reflecting on where your research comes from is a valuable task in preparation for the viva.