Asking The Literature

When the viva is coming up you’ll want to be sure of your methods.

Can you defend them? How did you arrive at them? Were they the only way to tackle the problem?

You’ll want to get your head clear on your conclusions too.

What are they? What do they mean? Why do they matter?

Maybe you’ll want to spend some time reflecting on what else you or someone could do with your thesis as inspiration.

How could you follow up this work? Who do you hope will be influenced? What’s your dream for how someone would take this forward?

These are all good questions that focus on your research – but spare a few questions for your literature review and bibliography. Your work doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it didn’t appear from nowhere. What were the most helpful references that influenced your methods? How did your reading support your conclusions? What does the literature tell you about the way your discipline is evolving?

Changing your perspective is useful. Different questions and perspectives can help prompt different reflections. You can probably find something interesting and valuable by thinking about where your work has come from.

Take some time before the viva to reflect on the literature that helped you complete your thesis.