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This Category: > PhD Advice / Support


Missing part of results section pre-viva

User: Catloverteadrinker - 29 May 2023 15:09

Hi everyone, just looking for some advice. I handed my thesis in under a lot of time pressure, and had a lot of formatting issues at the end. I was reading through to prepare for viva, and noticed a lot of typos which I was expecting and then realised 4 pages of a part of my results section was missing. I must have deleted it in my during formatting stress. Obviously I'm now extremely anxious and so worried I'm going to have to resubmit the whole thing. Also turns out I'm missing an appendix that I mentioned too.
Looking for any advice before going into viva, about how to handle this,so anxious and finding it so hard to even try to prep for viva be abuse of it. Viva is in a few days on teams.

User: Blimp - 01 June 2023 13:45

I would contact whoever organised your VIVA e.g. a PhD coordinator, or whoever your equivalent is, and send them either an updated version of your thesis with the results section and appendix included, or just those two missing sections, with a message to the examiners to explain that they were missing due to a format issue and where they should fit/what they relate to in your thesis (pages and where referenced). I would ask them to pass this on to the examiners so, while it is probably too short notice for them to read and consider them fully, they will at least have the relevant sections available and an explanation in advance. I think trying to correct the issue will make you look better than waiting until the day, otherwise, they might be frustrated that they have to spend time addressing it and that some of their questions might already be answered by these sections.

Good luck with the viva - I also have mine very soon (Monday) and feel your pain. Re-reading your own work with so much scrutiny can be painful, especially when spotting errors (I have missed a couple of references from the reference list when copying things over, despite checking the list several times before submitting!). Just remind yourself that, unlike other coursework, there is an opportunity to make corrections after if that's all they are.

User: chaotic1328 - 04 June 2023 02:26

I can only speak from my experience, as other universities might have different regulations. When I submitted my thesis, it was clearly pointed out that it would be the final draft, and no edits or alterations are allowed once the thesis has been submitted, even if an incomplete or wrong draft was submitted by mistake. So, I would advise you to check the regulations of your institution to see if alterations can be made after submission. If not, your best bet might be to convince the examiners during the viva that it was an honest mistake due to time pressure, and that you are ready to answer any questions regarding the omissions.

Good luck with the viva.

User: abababa - 13 June 2023 02:59

Part of the positive of a viva is it's ultimately an oral defence, so if you can defend what you did in argument but it's weak on the page, that's not necessarily a problem.

However, a lot of candidates rely on what's on the page - since arguing on your feet vs 2 (hopefully) experienced academics is daunting. It's definitely best to be up-front about any problems, because it's generally a much better look if a candidate with a PhD with issues shows self-awareness of them and willingness to correct them, rather than attempts to argue a flawed thesis to the hilt. I'd think what you describe is very much in the remit of 'corrections'.

What I would definitely not advise, though, is proposing any corrections or pointing out flaws you simply cannot fix. In my time as an examiner, one of the few fails I've experienced were based on a candidate saying they had data/additional results at viva, which we then (logically) requested in corrections - and I suspect the ultimate fail (by non-submission of corrections) resulted from this data not actually existing, making the corrections impossible to address.