A Mini-Viva Reflection

A mini-viva is what I call one possible set of questions from the Mini-Vivas resource that I developed a few years ago. There are 7,776 possible combinations of five questions possible from that resource; of course, in practise this would lead to an even greater number of conversations between a thesis candidate and the person asking the questions.

While I think the best use for this kind of resource is to structure a conversation, as rehearsal for the kinds of questions and the situation one might find in the viva, it can be useful to use the questions as prompts for reflection.

For example, use the resource and take a sheet of paper; divide it into five equal-ish sections and roll the dice. You might find yourself reflecting on the following:

  • Where did your research ideas come from?
  • What did you learn about doing research?
  • What are the core papers that have guided you?
  • What are your main conclusions?
  • What are you taking away from your PhD?

Reflecting and thinking about questions can help, but can also lead to more abstract prep. Writing things down helps more: you’re forced to be concise and clear. Talking, responding to questions helps even more: you get feedback about whether or not you are really communicating – plus you open up the possibility of digging a little deeper.

There are 7,775 more combinations of mini-viva questions at the resource. Take a look and see if it will help your preparation in some way.