Three Mini-Vivas

I’m still quite pleased with the Mini-Vivas Resource I made several years ago. I think it’s a nice little way to get ready for your viva with a friend; it doesn’t require a lot of preparation to use, and gives a little structure to having a conversation about research to help with speaking practice and confidence.

There are 7776 possible combinations of questions you can find by following instructions and rolling dice; here are three to save you a little time, indexed by the dice numbers!

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  • Why did you want to pursue your research?
  • How would you describe your methodology?
  • What were some of the challenges you overcame during your PhD?
  • What questions would you like to ask your examiners?
  • If you could start again, knowing what you know now, what would you keep the same?

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  • How would you define your thesis contribution?
  • What influenced your methodology?
  • How did the existing literature in the field influence you?
  • What comments or questions have you been asked about your work previously?
  • How could you develop this work further in the future?

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  • What are the three brightest parts of your research?
  • How did your process change as you did your PhD?
  • How does your work build on prior research?
  • How can you be sure of your conclusions?
  • What publications do you hope to produce?

Are these typical of questions you might be asked in your viva? Yes and no!

Yes because these are all the sorts of things that your examiners might want to dig into. No because your examiners will have read your thesis carefully and examined it against what they know about your area of your research and what they know from their own experience.

A mini-viva is different from a real viva, because while a friend may know a little about your research, they won’t have read your thesis to prepare. They’ll be using the mini-viva questions to provide structure and listening to your responses to steer things.

Still, a mini-viva is a little help, a little practice, a little step closer to being ready for your viva.

Well, three little steps in this post – and 7773 more at the Mini-Vivas Resource post!