Episode 17: Dr Stacey Habergham

In this first podcast after my house-moving hiatus I talk to Dr Stacey Habergham, who completed her PhD in Astrophysics earlier this year. Stacey did her research at Liverpool John Moores University, and is now a post-doc and outreach officer there as well. You can find Stacey on Twitter as @AstroHabs.

Stacey and I talked a bit about some of the outreach activities that she is involved with, and she very kindly sent through the following links!

If you’ve got questions or comments about the podcast then please leave them on the post, or email me – or get in touch via the site’s Twitter account: @VivaSurvivors. And please get in touch if you would like to share your PhD and viva experiences!

Restart!

Hello all!

The last few months have been really busy for me: my wife and I bought our first house, we’re halfway through the pregnancy for our first child and I’m entering a busy period of work (May is always busy it seems!). So it seems like it’s about the right time to get the podcast going again. Coincidentally, I’ve had a lot of emails and tweets over the last week since Viva Survivors got a little mention in a Times Higher Education article about the viva* – so I’m hoping to record a few interviews over a couple of days and then edit in the evenings.

I’m very attached to the idea of continuing occasional podcasts on related topics – academic jobs and interviews with examiners to name two – and if you would like to contribute to those or the main podcast series then please get in touch! I would love to hear from you.

I’ve also started self-publishing books this year: Fail Your Viva is available in the Kindle Store, and will be available in some form soon as a print-on-demand paperback. I’m writing several other books at the moment, but I’m not currently planning another viva preparation related book for this year – although there are some ideas that didn’t quite fit in Fail Your Viva.

So: coming soon, more podcasts, more questions asked about the viva – and if you have any particular questions, maybe now is a good time to ask them. I can’t make promises, but maybe we can find some answers.

It’s good to be back 🙂

Nathan

*sooner or later I’ll try to blog about the article. I had mixed feelings about the picture it painted of the viva…

Episode 16: Dr David McGrogan

In this episode I talk to Dr David McGrogan, who recently had the viva for his PhD in international law. Dave is my best friend, and I’ve been asking him since I started the podcast whether or not he would be willing to come on eventually and talk about his experiences. He recently took up a position at Northumbria University in the School of Law.

If you’ve got questions or comments, then leave them on this post, tweet @VivaSurvivors or email me – particularly if you would like to share your story on the podcast.

And finally, if you’ve read “Fail Your Viva – Twelve Steps To Failing Your PhD (And Fifty-Eight Tips For Passing)” then please get in touch, I’d love to know what you think!

Episode 15: Dr Carrie Birch

In this episode I talk to Dr Carrie Birch, who completed a PhD in education in 2010. Carrie did her PhD part time at the University of Sheffield, and it was really interesting to talk to her about what she did for her PhD and how she did it. You can find her on Twitter as @carriebirch.

In the podcast Carrie mentions some articles that she read to help her prepare for the viva; she has been kind enough to send me a list to share here.

Leshem, S. (2007). Thinking about conceptual frameworks in a research community of practice: a case of a doctoral programme. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 44(3).
Leshem, S., & Trafford, V. (2007). Overlooking the conceptual framework Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 44(1), 93-105.
Pearce, L. (2005). How to examine a thesis. Maidenhead: Open University – McGraw-Hill.
Trafford, V. (2003). ‘Questions in Doctoral Vivas: Views from the Inside’. Quality Assurance in Education, 11(2), 114 -122.
Trafford, V., & Leshem, S. (2008). Stepping stones to achieving your doctorate. Maidenhead: Open University Press-McGraw-Hill.
Trafford, V., & Leshem, S. (2009). Doctorateness as a threshold concept. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 46(3).

If you have any comments or questions then please get in touch: follow @VivaSurvivors on Twitter, or email me. If you would like to share your viva story then definitely get in touch!

And if you have your viva coming up, take a look at my first book, “Fail Your Viva – Twelve Steps To Failing The PhD (And Fifty-Eight Tips For Passing)” – on sale exclusively in the Kindle Store for now, but a print-on-demand edition is coming!

Episode 14: Academic Jobs Special 1

Some time ago I had a request to do something on the academic job market and academic jobs. I had planned to do one long episode on academic jobs, but time and schedules worked against me in January. So I’ve decided to release a podcast now and follow it up with more interviews soon!

In this episode I’m interviewing Dr Katy Shaw – regular listeners will remember that I spoke to Katy in Episode 10, and she very kindly volunteered to share her experience on the podcast again. Katy is the Subject Leader for English Literature and a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at the University of Brighton. She is also the Director of C21: Centre for research in twenty-first century writings and can be found on Twitter as @DrKatyShaw.

I’ve had a lot of recent volunteers who should be appearing on the podcast soon sharing their stories. If you have any comments or questions, drop me an email or send me a tweet via @VivaSurvivors – and especially if you would like to share your PhD and viva experiences.

PSI have a book out! Take a look, and if you read it and find it useful, please consider leaving a review. Thanks!

Fail Your Viva ebook!

As you can see on this page, I have released an ebook about viva preparation!

Fail Your Viva is my first ebook, and something that I have been working on for some time, along with a few other writing projects. Recently I was offered the chance to be a participant in an online course about self-publishing via the Kindle Store. I realised very quickly that there was not much stopping me from publishing.

I’m very excited to have a book out there, and if you’ve read it and have comments do let me know. If you have the time to rate it and write a review on the Kindle Store that would be great!

The cover of my ebook!
The cover of my ebook!

Episode 13: Dr Liz Walder

In the first episode of 2013 I talk with Dr Liz Walder, who had the viva for her PhD in Architectural History at the end of November. It was really great to talk to her about her viva, and also to hear about her experience as a part time research student. Liz has some materials on the Royal Institute of British Architects website about the Royal Gold Medal, the subject of her thesis. You can find her on Twitter as @WalderWit.

Any questions or comments? Then please leave them in the comments below! If you’d like to be on a future podcast or have ideas for any special episodes that might be cool to do then please email me. Also tell your friends and colleagues about the podcast: you can find it on Twitter at @VivaSurvivors.

Note: there is a little distortion/fuzziness at a few points in the audio for this episode, sorry about that! Hope it doesn’t spoil your listening experience.

Happy New Year!

I hope that you all had a great Christmas and New Year!

2012 was a great year for the podcast.

I really enjoyed talking with all of my interviewees, and hearing about their experiences during their PhDs and vivas. It’s been wonderful to share these stories and to see the number of visitors to the site increasing month-on-month; thank you to everyone who has emailed or tweeted me to ask questions, share thoughts and volunteer to be part of the podcast. Your contributions are very welcome and much appreciated. It is really great to hear that people are finding something of value in the episodes.

So, 2013!

12 episodes in 2012, so 13 episodes in 2013? No way! My goal is for there to be at least 40 episodes in the archive by the end of the year – and for there to be more research areas, backgrounds and current roles represented too. I want this site and the podcast to grow into an even more valuable resource for postgraduate researchers. I’m planning to run special episodes a few times this year: the first will be about the academic job market and it should be up on the site (schedules permitting) within the next few weeks. I’m also hoping to record a special with people who have experience of being viva examiners.

If you’d like to be part of either of these special podcasts, have questions that you’d like answered in them or have ideas for future special podcasts then please get in touch, either email me, or tweet the @VivaSurvivors Twitter account! And if you would like to be part of a regular episode, sharing your PhD and viva experience, or if you have ideas for other features on the site, let me know – it would be great to hear from you!

Thank You

If you’ve been listening, thank you. If you’ve been tweeting/retweeting about the podcast, thank you. Thank you to all of the “Viva Survivors” who have shared their stories so far. Thanks in advance to everyone who comes on the podcast this year!

Nathan

PS – Episode 13 will be live on Monday morning (7th January 2013), featuring Dr Liz Walder (@WalderWit) talking about her research and viva!

Episode 12: Dr Dawn Llewellyn

In this episode I talk to Dr Dawn Llewellyn, who did her PhD at Lancaster University and now lectures at the University of Chester. Dawn’s research was in Christian and Post-Christian women’s spiritual reading practices, and as always it was fascinating to hear about someone who has had such a radically different experience of research to me. Dawn had some great advice about preparing for the viva, and had an interesting story to tell about her viva. She is on Twitter, and you can find her at @DawnLlewellyn.

Any questions or comments? Then please let me know, either through the comments below or by dropping me an email. You can find the podcast on Twitter, if you haven’t already, by following @VivaSurvivors. Hopefully there will be at least one more podcast before Christmas, and if you would like to share your PhD and viva story on a future episode then please get in touch!

Special Podcast Coming Soon – I Need Your Help!

A “special” podcast? What do you mean?

Periodically I ask if there is anything else that I can do on the podcast that would be valuable. And just over a week ago someone responded:

This is a great idea! I’ve been mulling it over and think that it would be difficult for me to do by myself. This is where YOU come in: do you have time at some point in the next few weeks to contribute to a special Viva Survivors podcast?

What might we talk about?

It would be good to look at trends in academia, the kinds of jobs that people go for, competition, skills that help in academic jobs, CVs, what helps you to stand out… There are so many things that we could cover! What other questions or topics could we discuss? Email me, tweet @VivaSurvivors or leave a comment below if you have some ideas.

What’s all this “we” business?

As I said above, I can’t do this alone. I work in parallel with academia as a skills trainer, but I’m not a researcher in an institution now. This is where YOU come in, whoever you are. What can you tell us about the academic job market? How did you get your position now? What skills do you use in your job? Or do you work in a careers service and have time to share your experiences with the podcast? Please get in touch!

New podcasts coming soon!

This doesn’t mean that I’m stopping the regular flavour of podcast! I’m always looking for more people to share their PhD story and their viva experiences. If you would like to contribute to the podcast then please let me know. And thank you to everyone who tweets, RTs and tells me about how valuable they’re finding the podcast. I do this in my free time, and it’s nice to hear that people are getting something from hearing the stories that our @VivaSurvivors are sharing.