This entry was previously published in my other blog - few years back. Just happened that today I received a comment from a reader and that the notification was sent to my secondary email. From there, I revisited the blog and after scrolling down the entries, I found this one which I think pretty much shareable. It was my own journey - days before the viva voce.
"It’s a sunny bright Thursday and I am back to work after 5 days off.
Linda, my [second] doctoral supervisor had finally replied to my email regarding our meeting next week. She will be in Kuala Lumpur for few days and I wanted to see her and do some questions-and-answer session before I really sit for the real viva voce session, which I have no idea of the exact date of this special, utmost important moment in my life – after all these years struggling with thesis writing and its challenges ( I will put all the stories of challenges and issues aside at this moment).
There is a lot of preparation to be done prior to meeting her. I had started with re-reading my thesis, the same version as what i had submitted to the post graduate office more than a month ago. It is 494 page and causes me a backache to carry this compiled chapters everywhere I go for reading and revising.
Gosh .. as early as in page 10, I have found an error! Apparently, the space between two paragraphs was nearer as compared to the rest of others. In page 97, another error detected. Man! How could this happen? Instead of putting a word ‘quantitative’, I had (carelessly) typed ‘qualitative’! A mistake that I should not have done! I started to jot down the list of errors for my own reference.
Overall, there are not less than 15 errors in the final version of my thesis. Am I happy? Definitely not as these errors would affect readers’ assumption towards me. Feeling so sick but yes, life must go on and I need to focus more on meeting with Linda next Monday.
For now, I had prepared some points. The most important question to be asked in viva is to explain the origin of our research. Well, this may seem very simple question, but I found myself rambling when I tried to explain to myself! But a useful tip to be able to clearly do this is to focus on what your research is all about; what motivates you to as well as your context that led you to consider particular research questions.
Another important thing to bear in mind is the theories that influenced your research. Checked.
Sometimes examiners tend to ask things that you did not do in your research. (Very unfair isn’t it!?) … for example, what are the alternative methodology that you might use. This might aim to show that we are aware of other methodology, and to demonstrate our ability to justify our selection of certain methodology.
I used to hear many times from other researchers as well as my supervisors about the contribution of the research we conducted. For a doctoral thesis level, this aspect is crucial. In directly, this addresses the gap in the literature. Our research should be able to stand up (but not on its own, surely it should be based on previous research, however it should possess added value to the body of knowledge).
A week before I submitted for viva, my first supervisor wanted me to add a small section in the last chapter on my plan for publication. Although it was to me, a bit confusing to have such section in the final chapter, but I followed his suggestion. In that section, I indicated all the papers I had presented in national and international seminar and conferences, posters that I presented in few international conferences, as well as number of articles that I had submitted for journals, and the future planning on the expansion of my research in this area."
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