How to Keep your Doctorate on Track
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How to Keep your Doctorate on Track

Insights from Students’ and Supervisors’ Experiences

Edited by Keith Townsend, Mark N.K. Saunders, Rebecca Loudoun and Emily A. Morrison

The path of a doctoral student can feel challenging and isolating. This guide provides doctoral students with key ideas and support to kick-start a doctoral journey, inspire progress and complete their thesis or dissertation. Featuring observations from experienced supervisors, as well as the reflections of current and recent postgraduate researchers, this intimate and entertaining book offers vital insights into the critical moments in any doctoral experience.
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Chapter 49: My viva voce examination: a rollercoaster!

Zeineb Djebali


Many doctoral students are often driven by a sense of urgency to complete their thesis, tending to focus on writing and refining with less time for reflection. However, reflecting on the finishing line of the PhD, the viva voce examination, is key to students’ understanding of how much they evolve during the research process. This chapter offers the author’s reflections on her viva voce. It begins by describing the preparations, a process that proved more complicated than anticipated due to self-doubts about whether her thesis knowledge would be sufficient. Next, the chapter recounts the viva voce examination day, including the author’s surprise to find herself enmeshed in a discussion rather than being judged on how well she remembered aspects of her research. Following these recollections are an account of attending to final minor corrections, and at last being awarded the doctorate. The chapter concludes with a few final lessons.

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