Examiners have three important things to do in your viva:
- Explore your significant, original contribution;
- Unpick the hows and whys of your research;
- Examine your competence as a researcher.
They ask questions to motivate discussion. If they’re satisfied by your thesis and the discussion then you are awarded your PhD.
You have to assume at submission that your thesis is good enough. Then, in the viva, the three important things your examiners have to do prompt three important challenges for you. You have to…
- …discuss your significant, original contribution;
- …explain the hows and whys of your research;
- …demonstrate your competence as a researcher.
Discuss, explain, demonstrate – the three core verbs to have in mind for your viva.
What could you do to better prepare yourself to discuss your contribution?
How well can you explain how and why you did your research?
And how can you demonstrate your competence – your talent – as a researcher?