Set In My Ways

I learned the same lesson several times during my PhD: when a certain approach isn’t working, it’s a good idea to try something else.

This was a hard lesson for me. I knew how to use the tools and concepts I had. Learning something else took time and was difficult. But I had to learn and change and see that there were better methods – or in some cases, methods that actually worked.

I learned another lesson too: when I found a method that worked there was bound to be another method used by other people. Maybe it didn’t give exactly the same result or have the same benefits, but it was still useful.

Remembering and reflecting on this leads me to several questions that might help you on the way to your viva:

  • Have you become set in your ways or are you still open to other ideas and methods?
  • Is yours the only method that could lead to the research outcomes you’ve found?
  • Are you aware of your examiners’ work and know what methods they use or favour?

The ways you’ve found to get things done have probably served you well through your PhD. Make sure you’re at least aware of the alternatives so that you can talk confidently in the viva about why yours work or what the differences are between different approaches.