Flaws & Problems

After submission it’s likely that your thesis will have flaws. It’s possible that your thesis may have problems too. Both of these have the potential to be talked about in the viva and have consequences for corrections afterwards.

Flaws are simple. A flaw is relatively simple to spot through careful reading and obvious with hindsight. It’s the spelling mistake that gets overlooked and corrected, or an alteration to a diagram or table that provides clarity. You might find it or your examiners might; a flaw could be frustrating but it’s not a challenge to fix.

Problems are complicated. A problem might not be obvious at first glance. A problem could need exploring or explaining; it could have a simple solution after conversation removes confusion. The biggest contrast with a flaw is that a flaw is definite: something needs to be changed. That might not be the case with a problem. A problem could exist in the mind of a candidate or examiner – something has been read and interpreted one way when the truth is something different.

Flaws are found and fixed simply. Problems are perceived and pondered on carefully.

Neither flaws nor problems should get in the way of success at the viva. Read your thesis carefully in preparation, make notes if you need to, then be ready to talk in your viva about the amazing work you’ve done, as well as the flaws and problems that need addressing in some way.