Episode 18: Dr Anna Krzywoszynska

In this episode I talk with Dr Anna Krzywoszynska, who completed her PhD in Human Geography at the University of Sheffield last year. Anna’s research was in organic wine production in Italy. It was really interesting to hear about how she did her research – something very different from my own research experience.

In the podcast, Anna mentions lists of questions that she used to help prepare for her viva, and she very kindly sent them through to me to share here. I’ve included them at the end of this post. If you have any questions or comments for this episode or any other, then please get in touch, either through the site, on Twitter (I’m @VivaSurvivors and @DrRyder) or by emailing me. I would love to hear from you if you would like to share your story on the podcast.

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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!

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!

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.

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.

Episode 11: Dr Claire Savy

Dr Claire Savy did her PhD in neurotoxicology at Newcastle University, and her viva was less than a month ago! She is currently working at the University of Leeds as a Researcher Training and Development Project Officer; Claire is working on the organisation of the Postgraduate Research Conference and is responsible for the Thesis Twitter Conference and the conference’s Twitter feed: @UoLPGconference.

Claire had a lot of great advice on viva preparation. She spent a lot of time preparing, and I know that people are going to find her story valuable – particularly practising answering questions out loud to get used to talking about her thesis in a certain way.

If you have questions or comments about this or any of the podcasts then please get in touch, either through the comments, on email or via the Viva Survivors Twitter account: @VivaSurvivors.

Episode 10: Dr Katy Shaw

In this episode I’m interviewing Dr Katy Shaw, who is the Subject Leader for English Literature and a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at the University of Brighton. Katy is also the Director of C21: Centre for research in twenty-first century writings. She completed her PhD at Lancaster University in 2007 and her thesis was on cultural representations of the 1980s UK Miners Strike. Following on from the last podcast it was great to hear more from someone whose PhD research is in such a different area to mine. As an early career researcher Katy had lots to say about life as an academic, and shared some valuable advice for PhD students too. Katy can be found on Twitter as @DrKatyShaw.

Please leave comments below! And if you’re happy to, then please tweet and share the site and podcast with others. I’m slightly shocked that we’ve reached ten episodes already, it seems like yesterday that I was just getting things rolling. I wonder when we’ll hit 25? (which feels like the next milestone) If you would like to be on the podcast then please get in touch, either by emailing me or by sending a tweet in the direction of @VivaSurvivors.