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Professor Pam Denicolo, Universities of Reading and Surrey
Dr Dawn Duke, University of Surrey
The purpose of this workshop is to examine the doctoral viva process and experience in order to help doctoral researchers with their preparation for it. Doctoral candidates should note that the earlier they start to plan for the viva, the better their chances of an enjoyable academic occasion!
‘Success’ in a doctoral viva is the product not only of writing a good thesis, but also of being well prepared for the viva. The doctoral viva can, however, be shrouded in mystery. The workshop will aim to demystify the viva by exploring the range of purposes served by the viva, how the viva works procedurally and the criteria generally imposed by institutions and those used by examiners. Some insights into the examiners’ perspectives will be provided to further shed light on the process.
Advice will be provided about intellectual preparation, practical preparation and emotional preparation, including how to respond productively to the range of possible outcomes. Participants will be expected to engage in activities that will help them prepare for this special occasion so should come prepared to discuss their research with a lay but intelligent audience.
We will include some guidance on ‘remote vivas’ in case that still seems a strong possibility for some candidates.
Pam is an Emeritus Professor of Professional and Postgraduate Education at the University of Reading and a Consultant Professor of Researcher Education and Training at the University of Surrey. Having previously published widely in academic journals and produced a range of books and SRHE Guides on teaching, learning and research, Pam now co-edits and writes for a book series with Sage, Success in Research, aimed at supporting early career researchers in their endeavours, and a series with Sense, Critical Issues in the Future of Learning and Teaching aimed at supporting educators across all sectors but especially those in Higher, Further and Professional Education.
Dawn is the Researcher Training and Development Officer. She has a BS in Psychology from Western Michigan University, a MS in Behavioural Neuroscience from Rutgers University and completed her PhD in Neuropathology at Imperial College London. Dawn is responsible for workshop design and delivery within the Postgraduate Skills Development Programme (PGSDP) of the Doctoral College at Surrey University and authors/edits books in the Success in Research Series.