With the viva coming up and a mild exhaustion hitting me on a few fronts after the end of the autumn term, I’ve been very silent here. But I thought now is that time to post some findings on how to prepare for the viva which are available around the web, and do some relaxation writing exercise through that post as well.
I wasn’t one of the lucky ones to attend a viva prep workshop at Uni, since I was teaching on the day, but hopefully a meeting with my supervisors closer to the date (the big 31st) – and many meetings with my real and imaginary friends, where they ask me possible, impossible and obvious-so-never-bothered-to-answer questions, will help. I also attended the MeCCSA conference on Thursday last week where I talked about my research – a timely rehearsal but not particularly close to the viva experience I would anticipate, not least because the audience of my presentation but a few seemed totally aghast. This is what happens when you do a digital research methods/STS/performativity paper sat within a media policy panel. Oh well.
So I’ve found this Nasty PhD viva questions page, which doesn’t really contain any ‘nasty’ questions per se, at least not nasty in the sense of ‘viva from hell’ atmosphere presented in the Good Viva video, where the external examiner looks at their watch and asks the candidate to speed up their answer cause they’ll miss their train. Starting at the End contains a list of what the authors call ‘predictable’ questions which seem quite exhaustive – and I’m having a go at them – not sure if the insistence on the triad Research design – methodology – research methods applies for me – this may be more useful for social science theses or anthropology. I mean I’m sure I’ll have to talk a lot about my methodological choices and the analysis of my material but hopefully this will not take up 3/12 (1/4) of the total question count – as this article suggests. I’ve also found some answers to other kinds of viva preparation concerns, like what to listen to (the important stuff!). This post by Aleks Krotoski is also good advice about being calm and positive about the whole thing.