I have a new pet theory.
The work involved in preparing for the viva can be summarised with three Rs: refreshing, reframing and rehearsing.
- Refreshing: getting your head clearer about what you’ve done. Checking your thesis and what helped shape it.
- Reframing: looking differently at your work. Exploring what it means and trying to see it from different perspectives.
- Rehearsing: finding opportunities to practise what’s required of the viva. Finding ways to engage with questions and have useful conversations.
To be ready for the viva means spending time on tasks that allow these three things. Effective viva preparation involves improving your mental picture of your research, examining it from other perspectives, and investing time in preparing for being in the viva itself. Different viva prep tasks might require a combination of the Rs. Annotating your thesis, for example, might bridge between refreshing and reframing; a mock viva is largely about rehearsing, but could involve refreshing or reframing as well.
I’ll write more about the three Rs in the future. I don’t have a fully worked out model yet, but I’m excited about this concept for exploring viva preparation tasks. I’m hopeful that it will help me to better communicate what viva prep is all about.
Email me if you have questions or thoughts about this – it might help me to explain the idea better!