The Weakest Parts

I think everyone, if they look, will find things in their thesis that they think are weak.

When they find them, they’ll feel bad and start to worry.

If this is you, you’ve found something and are worried, please reflect on the following three points:

  • First, it’s probably not as bad as you think. In wanting to succeed in your PhD, and wanting your thesis to be the best it can be, you’ve aimed for perfection and missed. Perfect is impossible.
  • Second, something that’s “weak” doesn’t just happen. There are reasons. List them, then interrogate them. Why did it turn out this way? What’s the cause? What could you do about it if you had more time/resources/interest and so on?
  • Third, weak is relative. If your thesis was all weak, you wouldn’t have made it to submission. You see something missing because you see what’s around it. You see something as weak because of strengths of your research.

Don’t ignore the weakest parts of your work, but try not to make them the biggest focus of your viva preparations either.