This week I talk to Professor Vernon Trafford about what a PhD examiner is looking for in your thesis.
You can listen to the episode here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-phd-life-raft-podcast/id1537420258
Vernon Trafford is Professor Emeritus at Anglia Ruskin University, UK and Research Associate at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He has held visiting professorships in India, Scandinavia, Singapore, South Africa and consultancies for the British Council, OECD, UNICEF and the World Bank. His publications, conference presentations and workshops relate to the nature of doctorateness.
In this conversation Vernon talks about his own unconventional route into academia.
We then dive into the issue of examiner expectations of a thesis. Vernon outlines 4 different stances which your examiner might take – they may be attending to the philosophical underpinnings of the entire piece of work; they may be looking at evidence of scholarship; they may be seeing to identify post-doctoral capability as a supervisor or researcher; and/or they may be looking for maturity of understanding by candidates of what they’ve done.
We talk about the role of independent chairs within the Viva and why you shouldn’t listen to the viva horror stories!
Vernon outlines features that mean your thesis is more likely to pass and the importance of explaining what your research was about and what your “contribution to knowledge” is.
He also talks about the importance of smiling and if working towards making the viva as pleasurable activity as it can be.
You can find out more about Vernon’s work here: http://vernontrafford.com/
You can find his book Stepping Stones to Achieving Your Doctorate here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stepping-Stones-Achieving-your-Doctorate/dp/0335225438/ref=la_B0034PPLCA_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365518855&sr=1-1
Do you want to Detox Your PhD? Find out more about The PhD Life Raft course here: https://emmab.kartra.com/page/detoxyourphd