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the process of Viva and different outcomes

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  1. 1. Understanding the process and outcomes of the viva<br />
  2. 2. Three horror stories by graduate students<br />Research project<br />Supervisor/co-supervisors<br />External and/or internal examiners<br />
  3. 3. What is a viva?<br />The oral part of the examination<br />
  4. 4. Why hold a viva?<br /><ul><li>To examine the academic content and scholastic level of thesis
  5. 5. To provide candidates with the opportunity to defend the thesis
  6. 6. To explore and explain the design, methodology and outcome of the research
  7. 7. To discuss the research
  8. 8. To provide evidence to help the examiners arrive at a judgement about the defence of the thesis
  9. 9. To enable the examiners to make a recommendation to the university about the thesis</li></li></ul><li>Preparation before viva<br /><ul><li>Practise your presentation
  10. 10. Know where the venue is ( if possible, visit the viva room)
  11. 11. Decide where to wait
  12. 12. Make sure that you are well-rested and eat appropriately
  13. 13. Wear comfortable clothes that make you look smart
  14. 14. Do not let stress drive you
  15. 15. Sit quietly and reflect
  16. 16. Make sure you know your work- conceptual framework, how each part fits together and what you have achieved
  17. 17. Bring a copy of your thesis (tag key chapters), pen, writing paper and a summary sheet of main points
  18. 18. Be relaxed but alert
  19. 19. Remember you would not have come this far if your work was not passable or interesting
  20. 20. Avoid negative people on the day(s) before the viva</li></li></ul><li>Guide to examiner’s report<br /><ul><li>Thesis topic (title)
  21. 21. Abstract
  22. 22. Research problems and objectives
  23. 23. Scope and relevance
  24. 24. Literature review
  25. 25. Methodology
  26. 26. Analysis and interpretation of data
  27. 27. Presentation of thesis
  28. 28. References
  29. 29. Accomplishments and/or merits
  30. 30. Demerits
  31. 31. Recommendation</li></li></ul><li>Examiners report<br />1. Thesis topic/title <br /><ul><li>Grammatically correct
  32. 32. Contains keywords found in abstract and reflects the actual research issues</li></ul>2. Abstract<br /><ul><li>Accurate – brief statement of problem or objectives, concise description of methods and design, summary of major findings, brief conclusion</li></ul>3. Research problem/objectives<br /><ul><li>Determine whether the background to the research issues is well discussed, the research problem is well-defined and the hypotheses addresses the problem, objectives are clearly stated and met by methods/design and findings</li></li></ul><li>Examiners report (contd.)<br />4) Scope and Relevance<br /><ul><li>Determine whether the study is appropriate for the degree, field of study, research issues, practicability of research problems and research objectives </li></ul>5) Literature Review <br /><ul><li>Relevant to the research issues, comprehensive, well-reviewed, summarised, organised
  33. 33. Proportionate to the rest of the thesis</li></ul>6) Methodology<br /><ul><li>Strengths and weakness of data, research design/methods suitable, clearly described, appropriate statistical method used</li></ul>7) Analysis and interpretation of results<br /><ul><li>Results are in agreement with objectives
  34. 34. Interpretation of finding logical/acceptable
  35. 35. Analysis of data correct
  36. 36. Findings are discussed with appropriate references</li></li></ul><li>Examiners report (contd.)<br />8) Presentation<br /><ul><li>Sequence of chapters able to facilitate the understanding of research issues
  37. 37. Tables and figures are properly labeled and clear</li></ul>9) References/bibliography<br /><ul><li>Current, extensive and correct format
  38. 38. Missing references or wrong citations</li></ul>10) Accomplishments and/or merits<br /><ul><li>Indicate that findings are clearly identified and discussed
  39. 39. Findings contributed to new knowledge and has application
  40. 40. Other accomplishments</li></ul>11) Demerits<br /><ul><li>Main weakness of research
  41. 41. Author has addressed the impact of the study
  42. 42. Others (eg. language, relevance, content)</li></ul>12. Recommendation<br />
  43. 43. What happens at the viva session?<br /><ul><li>Before candidate enters the room, the chairperson of the examination committee will invite the examiners to comment on the thesis in terms of knowledge and competency
  44. 44. A discussion on the comments made in the reports will follow
  45. 45. A note will be made where clarification is required
  46. 46. Candidate invited to present (not more than 20 mins)
  47. 47. Q & A session
  48. 48. Candidate leaves the room
  49. 49. Examination committee discusses the presentation and thesis, make a conclusion and recommendation
  50. 50. Candidate is re-invited back to the room
  51. 51. Result is announced
  52. 52. Candidate is informed of amendments required ( where appropriate)</li></li></ul><li>Generic questions<br /><ul><li>How did you come about choosing this research area?
  53. 53. Explain the main theories or approaches to the project
  54. 54. In retrospect, were there other theories you could have considered?
  55. 55. What methodologies did you select and why?
  56. 56. In retrospect, were there other methodologies you could have considered?
  57. 57. Were there any particularly problematic moments that were difficult? How did you overcome them?
  58. 58. What were the main findings?
  59. 59. How did these findings relate to previous work?
  60. 60. What are the implications/significance of your finding?
  61. 61. Are you going to take this work further?</li></li></ul><li>Do’s and don’ts during the viva<br />Answer questions clearly and concisely<br />Be able to refer to the thesis; do not fumble through the thesis (use tags to mark key chapters)<br />Use eye contact<br />Ask for clarification if you do not understand the question<br />Relate to and answer the questions<br />If problems are pointed out, think carefully; agree or provide your point of view (indicate issues that are beyond the scope of the thesis)<br />Talk as an intellectual<br />
  62. 62. How to fail a viva<br /><ul><li>One word or irrelevant answers
  63. 63. Showing reluctance to engage in discussion
  64. 64. Showing disrespect to the examiners
  65. 65. Getting angry
  66. 66. Getting defensive
  67. 67. Asking examiners questions
  68. 68. Showing examiners that you do not know your work; confused
  69. 69. Not understanding the questions</li></li></ul><li>Guide to the outcome of the viva<br />1) PASS<br />Accepted with Distinction <br />Accepted with Minor Modification<br />Accepted with Major Modifications<br />Re-examination or resubmission <br />2) Oral re-examination<br />3) Re-submission of thesis<br />4) Resubmission of PhD thesis as a Masters thesis<br />5) FAIL<br />
  70. 70. Pass<br />Have satisfied the examiners on academic knowledge and competency<br />Accepted with distinction – when all or most of research findings have either been published or accepted for publication in citation-indexed journal and requires minimal improvement in spelling, grammar and syntax<br />Accepted with minor modifications – any of the following: reformatting of chapters, revision of literature, improvement in declaring research objectives or statements, insertion of missing references, amendments of inaccurately cited references, improvements in spelling, grammar and syntax (given 60 days after date of viva to submit the thesis to SGS)<br />Accepted with major modications – extensive revision of entire thesis to improve quality such as description of methodology, statistical analysis of data, removal of research chapters(s) , rediscussion of results and improvements of spelling, grammar and syntax (60 days with a provision for an extension to 60 days or more)<br />
  71. 71. Oral re-examination<br />Examination committee are not satisfied with thesis defence or competency in the field of study<br />Oral re-examination should be held within 60 dyas after the date of first viva<br />
  72. 72. Re-submission of thesis<br /><ul><li>When thesis does not meet the scope of the degree
  73. 73. Objectives of research were not met
  74. 74. Obvious flaws in experimental design and/or methodology
  75. 75. Additional experimental work or data collection is required
  76. 76. Resubmission within the period of not more than two semester or one year
  77. 77. Student must continue to be registered student
  78. 78. Student must comply to submission procedure
  79. 79. Resubmission is permitted once only</li></li></ul><li>Resubmission of a PhD thesis as a Masters thesis<br />If thesis does not meet the scope of a doctoral thesis but is adequate for a Masters thesis<br />Amendments recommended by thesis examination committee must be made and resubmitted within 60 days of viva<br />
  80. 80. Fail<br /> A student is considered to have failed the examination if the thesis fails to meet the requirements of PhD or Masters academic level or found to have plagiarised<br />
  81. 81. Dealing with corrections<br />Work with your supervisor<br />Plan a work agenda <br />Make sure that corrections are made in a timely manner<br />Agree on a work agenda and timing<br />
  82. 82. Life after the viva and final submission of thesis<br />Celebrate<br />Find employment<br />Continue the supervisor-colleague academic relationship<br />
  83. 83. Relationship with supervisor<br /><ul><li>Important and INTENSE professionally
  84. 84. Good relationship will have a happy ending
  85. 85. Choose your supervisor carefully, need to assess what you would like from supervisor and arrange things that will suit both parties
  86. 86. Some supervisors are more critical, more demanding, provide less emotional or technical support
  87. 87. No perfect match, ask yourself what you are willing to deal with
  88. 88. You are ultimately responsible for your work</li></li></ul><li>Why do people become supervisors?<br />To fulfill performance indicator?<br />Direct order from Head of Dept?<br />Feeling of duty?<br />Love of working with students?<br />Self-interest (to further their career)?<br />Supervisors have other duties and problems such as lecturing, committees, <br />meetings on curriculum, exams, academic advisors, ISO, administrative duties,<br />write grants and fill in reports, frustration with bureaucracy, <br />financial stress due to lack of research funding and infrastructure support, etc <br />
  89. 89. To make the relationship work<br /><ul><li>Have regular meetings with an agenda
  90. 90. Agree on meeting time, tasks and milestones
  91. 91. Keep supervisor informed on status of your work
  92. 92. Inform supervisor of interesting literature ; intellectual exchange result in synergy
  93. 93. Voice your concern about the research
  94. 94. Inform supervisor of feedback from your presentations
  95. 95. Inform supervisor of your change in personal circumstances
  96. 96. Be honest, articulate, informative, respectful
  97. 97. Don’t hide, ignore, gossip, denigrate, by-pass supervisor
  98. 98. Don’t mix business and personal issues
  99. 99. Don’t assume (in doubt always ask)</li></li></ul><li>When things go wrong<br />Non-communication<br />Harassment<br />Intellectual property issues – obstruction, theft of work<br />Seek assistance such as co-supervisors, third party who can moderate <br />(faculty postgraduate co-ordinator or Deputy Dean)<br />
  100. 100. Thank you<br />