The Viva by Levone

VIEWS: 95 PAGES: 33

									The Viva
Viva Voce – With Living Voice

The Universal and The Specific
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PhD – generic; contribution to knowledge … Form of examination – differs across the world Different terms
Thesis defense  Public defence  Viva  …
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An exercise
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Sheets on the table Some questions
Rationale  Details  Preparation  Indicators  Good and Bad practices  Alternatives
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General question
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What are the characteristics of a piece of work that make it suitable as the basis for a PhD?

Rationale
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Why is a viva necessary? What are the main objectives?

Details
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How are examiners selected and by whom? Criteria for being an examiner? Internal and External Examiners? How many examiners? Independent Chair? Supervisor?

Preparation
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What should the candidate do to prepare for the viva?

Indicators
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You’ll know your viva is going well
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You’ll know your viva is not going well
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Good & Bad Practices
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On the part of the candidate On the part of the examiners On the part of the independent chair On the part of the university

Alternatives to the Viva?

PhD characteristics
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Originality Substantial Independent Significant Rigorous So the Viva is the method for assessment of these

Attributes of doctoral graduates in relation to the doctoral qualification … how these are assessed, and the related expectations of their supervisors, examiners and employers http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/ doctoralprog/consultationpaper.asp

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Originality
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… a fundamental criterion for doctoral degrees is that they should include some form of ‘original’ research. For example, most institutions’ regulations for doctoral degrees contain references to an expectation of original work, or contribution, and this is one of the criteria used to assess doctoral candidates.

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However, there is no universally agreed definition of what ‘originality’ means when used as a criterion for making a doctoral award. Is it original thought? Carrying out new work? The application of existing knowledge to a new area? Some institutions have clear criteria for awarding doctoral degrees that include statements about making a significant contribution to learning, either through the discovery of new knowledge (which might also change existing views), developing a new theory, or applying existing knowledge in new situations.

The assessment of doctoral candidates in the UK:
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this involves a ‘closed’ oral examination, involving a small number of people including the candidate, his/her examiners and, depending on the circumstances, possibly an independent chair of the examination and sometimes the candidate’s supervisor (with the candidate’s permission), or another observer. The assessment is of the candidate’s doctoral thesis or dissertation and the way in which the candidate is able to explain and defend it. In subjects where the candidate’s work also includes an artefact or other practical output, such as a musical composition, arrangements are made for the examination to include assessment of this.

Viva is necessary as form of assessment; with these objectives
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Originality – by viva/defence Substantial – thesis or artefact plus thesis Independent – ensure that it is the candidate’s work Significant – examiners must possess subject expertise Rigorous – methods

To ascertain …
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whether it is your own work; whether you understand what you did; whether it is worth a PhD (i.e. is a contribution to knowledge);

These are the points being examined (according to Alex Gray from the University of Cardiff):
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Understanding: that you're ready to become an independent researcher. Relationship to other work: that you have a command of your subject-area. Similarity to the work of others doesn't detract from novelty! Novelty - is your work publishable? If you have already published a couple of papers, that should be proof of sufficient originality. Don't panic about recent publications that are very similar to your work - the important thing is to be aware of them, and to know the differences between your work and theirs. What you have achieved, and that you are aware of its implications. What will it make a difference to? Demonstration of hypothesis (what you set out to achieve). How have you evaluated/tested your hypothesis? Always be prepared to reconsider your hypothesis if you end up demonstrating something else - it's vitally important that your results match your hypothesis, and that you have a convincing argument for this. Why did you do it the way you did? Not just your practical work, but everything. For example, your literature review should be focused towards your hypothesis.

Details
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How are examiners selected and by whom? By supervisor Criteria for being an examiner? Previous examining experience; subject expertise Internal and External Examiners? Usually one of each How many examiners? 2, sometimes 3 Independent Chair? Increasingly common Supervisor? Can be present if agreeable – must remain silent, can take notes

Preparing for the Viva: Before you submit
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get the philosophy of your thesis absolutely correct, and clear in your mind by the time of the viva They could ask you to explain/justify any statement in the thesis, … Identify the contentious statements in the thesis, which you anticipate having to defend in the viva. A good supervisor will point out the contentious statements and grill you over them. Start a file of anticipated viva questions. The conclusion chapter is a major one to focus on in anticipating viva questions - especially where you criticise your work! know your own thesis thoroughly … compile a brief summary of each section before you submit Compiling a thesis summary before you submit has the advantages that you may spot strategic-level flaws in time to fix them, and will enable you to revise for the viva from the thesis summary rather than from the thesis itself. Don't try to get the thesis perfect and free of minor corrections at the expense of delaying submission. It's almost certain that the examiners will find something to correct, anyway.
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/cs/cs710/viva.html

Preparation
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Read through and mark-up the thesis – make sure it’s the correct version Have a mock viva Read about vivas
Rowena Murray How to Survive Your Viva OUP 2003  P Tinkler & C Jackson The Doctoral Examination Process OUP 2004
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Indicators
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You’ll know your viva is going well
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?????

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You’ll know your viva is not going well
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?????

Bad Practices
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On the part of the candidate
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Not answering the questions Taking too long to answer Not being fully familiar with the thesis Not admitting mistakes, errors, omissions Not having read the thesis completely Not focusing on the candidate Being aggressive Not intervening Not applying/knowing about regulations

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On the part of the examiners
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On the part of the independent chair
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On the part of the university
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Inadequate regulations Inadequate hospitality

Good Practices
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On the part of the candidate
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Responding to questions Acknowledging errors … Submission of report before the viva Constructive comments and intelligent questions Advice on what to do next Keeping the viva going smoothly; managing the examiners and the candidate Dealing with disagreements between examiners Clear regulations Well prepared staff and resources

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On the part of the examiners
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On the part of the independent chair
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On the part of the university
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Time line & Outcomes
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Submission 4-6 weeks: Reports back from examiners 6-8 weeks: the viva
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Sometimes the gap is far longer! 2 hours +/-

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How long for the viva?
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End of viva: Confirmation of outcome; clarification of requirements

Viva experiences
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Aggressive defence Missing references Wrong version submitted No mention of the external examiner’(s)’ work Rambling answers Methods – misunderstanding Failure of technology Display of artefact, performance, other products Presentation Y/N? Fire

Alternatives to the Viva?
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A written examination? Judgement purely on the thesis? Judgement on an artefact or performance or installation … ? Public defence followed by a vote?

The assessment process for doctoral candidates in continental Europe:
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… there are variations between continental countries. … in the UK the oral examination is normally a relatively private experience involving only two or three examiners and the final outcome is not known in advance (although each examiner usually submits an independent report on the dissertation before the viva takes place) in some other countries the academic assessment of the candidate is quite separate from the oral defence of the thesis, which is sometimes a public event. For example, the written dissertation may need to have been approved as being of an adequate doctoral standard before permission is granted for a public ‘defence’ to take place. In some countries, the candidate may be invited to give one or more public lectures immediately before the (also public) defence of the thesis.

Finland
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https://www.abo.fi/public/en/media/2732/do ktorsd_e_2003_06_30.pdf 35+ copies printed 20 minute lecture ‘ … evening dress (white tie) with a black waistcoat, academic dress or a black suit or dress without decorations. If the Custos and the Opponent have a Doctor's degree, they carry their doctoral hats in their left hand when entering the auditorium. The hat is placed on the table (with the lyre towards the audience) during the public defence’

The Netherlands … pedels and paranymphs

The Netherlands … pedels and paranymphs

TU Delft

Paranymphs
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http://www.rug.nl/medewerkers/a rbeidsvoorwaarden/meerweten/pr omotieregeling/bijlage6?lang=en


								
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