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Success in your viva . Susan Marlow Professor of Entrepreneurship University of Birmingham . Time to shine? . Offering the candidate the opportunity to explore, analyse and defend their work Creating a dialogue/ having a directed conversation

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success in your viva

Success in your viva

Susan Marlow

Professor of Entrepreneurship

University of Birmingham

time to shine
Time to shine?
  • Offering the candidate the opportunity to explore, analyse and defend their work
  • Creating a dialogue/ having a directed conversation
  • Opportunity to show off – you have a captive audience, a body of work you have been immersed in and know all about – what’s the problem?
know your work
Know your work
  • What is the ‘point’ of the thesis – what have you contributed – the ‘so what’ question underpins your thesis and the viva process
  • The thesis is unpicked over the process of the Viva – explored as discrete elements all of which will be independently scrutinised
  • But it is all about your work so take the opportunity to demonstrate what you have learned and your new found knowledge
scouting for success be prepared
Scouting for success – be prepared
  • Questions may or may not follow the logic of the thesis
  • Introduction – what is the thesis about-the RQ question- why this question – why should we care?
  • Critical evaluation of your literature analysis– prepare to be asked about gaps, perceptions, biases – frame responses as what is known, what is added.
  • Methodology – why? How does your stance map onto your RQ?
  • Findings – what and why are they important – what has been added.
  • Analysis and conclusions – key element – the contribution – absolutely critical!
rabbits goldfish and bolters stand at ease
Rabbits, goldfish and bolters: stand at ease!
  • Examiner responsibility – to enable you to speak, defend your work and respond appropriately to questions .
  • Opening points/at - the RQ and why – you know this and you can talk about it
  • Managing the ‘left field question’ – ask for clarification and further information – you have rights too!
how to endear your examiner apart from decent biscuits
How to endear your examiner – apart from decent biscuits -
  • Outline a clear and concise RQ – convince in the introduction why there is a thesis here
  • Ensure you have critically analysed contemporary sources of literature – read [include – we all like a bit of flattery] the work of the examiner – how does their work reflect, complement, contradict your interpretation?
  • Ensure you can defend why you did what you did
  • Memorise your contribution
  • Develop your own critical reading of the thesis – be prepared to talk about how you would do it differently, what the limitations are; what your future plans might be
  • Write well – edit your work – responsibility of the examiner to ensure the thesis reflects the standard expected for doctoral work.
and finally my codicil
And finally, my codicil
  • I can only speak from my experience – I do not want to catch you out or trip you up – I want to hear about your work and give you the opportunity to convince me it is a PhD thesis – I want a dialogue not a cross examination
  • Chose your external with care….