Set In My Ways

I learned the same lesson several times during my PhD: when a certain approach isn’t working, it’s a good idea to try something else.

This was a hard lesson for me. I knew how to use the tools and concepts I had. Learning something else took time and was difficult. But I had to learn and change and see that there were better methods – or in some cases, methods that actually worked.

I learned another lesson too: when I found a method that worked there was bound to be another method used by other people.┬áMaybe it didn’t give exactly the same result or have the same benefits, but it was still useful.

Remembering and reflecting on this leads me to several questions that might help you on the way to your viva:

  • Have you become set in your ways or are you still open to other ideas and methods?
  • Is yours the only method that could lead to the research outcomes you’ve found?
  • Are you aware of your examiners’ work and know what methods they use or favour?

The ways you’ve found to get things done have probably served you well through your PhD. Make sure you’re at least aware of the alternatives so that you can talk confidently in the viva about why yours work or what the differences are between different approaches.

Best of Viva Survivors 2018: Reflections & Summaries

To finish 2018 I’m sharing my favourite posts from the last year. Today we’ll take a look at several posts on the topic of reflections & summaries. It’s useful to take a step back from your research and your thesis and think about what it all means. If you can then create a concrete resource from that – a written summary, a list of points or a mindmap – then you’ve made something valuable.

I hope these posts help you reflect on your research as your viva approaches. I’m really quite proud of 7776 Mini-Vivas and if you’ve used it do drop me a line to let me know what you think! And do share these “best of” posts over the coming days, retweets are always welcome!