Viva Question Repository

The Viva Voce (aka Defense) Question Repository! Viva Question Repository PhD Voice

This is a repository of questions that were asked at Vivas of students, just like you.

Look up what questions you can expect in your Viva! Don’t get caught off-guard.

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QuestionGeneral SubjectSpecific SubjectIs The Question Applicable To Almost Any Subject?Country Where The Viva Took PlaceYour Answer To The QuestionWas Your Answer Satisfactory?Person Who Added Question
Sum your Ph.D. up in one sentence.Physical SciencesYesUSA
What are the weakness of your work?Physical SciencesYesUSA
What are you most proud of about your work?Physical SciencesYesUSA
If you could redo you PhD, what would you do differently?Physical SciencesYesUSA
How does this particular finding help your field?Physical SciencesYesUSA
How long until your results can be implemented in the real world? And what's holding them back at the moment?Physical SciencesYesUSA
What is the next logical step(s) for this research?Physical SciencesYesUSA
Your findings on figure 3 contradict findings from "Smith 2002". Can you explain why?Physical SciencesYesUSA
Your sample size isn't as large as I would like. Can you explain why your results are still valid? And to what extent they are valid.Physical SciencesYesUSA
Do you think that your work is enough to constitute getting a PhD? Why?Physical SciencesYesUSA
What was the toughest part of your PhD work and how did you overcome it?Physical SciencesYesUSA
Have you had any feedback on your work from other researchers in your field? What were their thoughts about your findings and work?Physical SciencesYesUSA
How can physicians use your results to help patients?PsychologyYesUSA
Reading your thesis, I got the feeling that there was something really constraining you from ending up from where you wanted to end up. You expressed the personal challenge of this topic and at the end of the thesis your conclusion arrives right back at your original hypothesis but contradicts it, can you explain?Social SciencesAfrican StudiesYesUKThe conclusion I come to felt incomplete because it didn’t feel easy with my past experience with this subject, so I concluded that the research was good but incomplete and more work had to be done to flesh out what I’ve also experienced.Couldn't Tell
You used author X’s work, tell me a little about what brought you to this particular work, and what kind of lens it gave you when viewing your own work.Social SciencesAfrican StudiesYesUKI used his work because before I read it, I had a particular view, but that work made me see it from a very different angle and it greatly improved my own analysis.Yes
How does your PhD work fit in with the wider literature?Physical SciencesAtmospheric/climate scienceYesUK
Why did you choose to do a feasibility study?Clinical and HealthClinical EpidemiologyNoCanada
Tell me about your thesis.Clinical and HealthYes
Tell me what the qualitative analysis contributed to your workBusiness and EconomicsYesUSA
Can you justify your use of terminology?Clinical and HealthPublic HealthYesUK
Why did you decide to test your hypothesis in this specific domain where it was obvious you were looking for such a tiny effect?Engineering and TechnologyData ScienceYes
How are the computational methods proposed in your thesis applicable to psychiatric datasets? Can you propose a particular application?Life Sciencesfunctional Magnetic Resonance ImagingYesNetherlands
Can you explain what you have done in your thesis and what is the most exciting part?Physical SciencesChemistryYesUK
Can you please draw how X interacts with X (Chemical Drawings)Physical SciencesChemistryNoUK
Which authors influenced your thinking particularly at design stage?EducationYesIreland
How will the findings of your research impact upon your practice moving forward?EducationYesIreland
What is a PhD?Life SciencesDomestication in Atlantic salmon aquacultureYesUK1) the ability to assess other's work to the level of PhD 2) gaining skills to further your knowledge in a subject area 3) to push forward the boundaries of knowledgeYesWilliam Perry, PhD
Why did you decide to use only response time and not accuracy in your analysis?Clinical and HealthNeurocognition / autism / social skills / languageNoUKResponse times allowed for a wider diversity in the sample, more relevant for individual differences.
The analysis strategy you used is quite unconventional, why did you choose it over more common strategies?Clinical and HealthNeurocognition / autism, social processes, languageYesUKIn short: My research was highly exploratory, and traditional analysis plans would not have allowed me to address exactly the question I was asking.
How does your work add to the field in particular how does it add to Xs work about yArts and HumanitiesReligion and PaganismYesUKI listed specific people but they then suggested a selection of other authors & theories that were not in my reference listCouldn't Tell
What are the targets of this protein or microRNA that you looked at? What can you conclude from this graph?Life SciencesYesUSA
The last Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine has been awarded for which discovery?Life SciencesMolecular MedicineYesGermany
What is the next stage for this research?PsychologyPsychologyYesUK
How did you assess methodological design in your risk of bias for the systematic review?PsychologyPsychologyYesUK
What is your work about?Yes
How did you come up with the indicators and cross-cutting factors in my analytical and conceptual framework.Yes
Why did you choose design based research? Why was it a sensible choice?EducationYesUK
Did you know the direction your dissertation was going to take?Clinical and HealthYesNew Zealand
Whose expertise would have been helpful in supporting you?Clinical and HealthYesNew Zealand
What are other functions of the protein you study aside from what you discussed during your talk? How is it regulated?Life SciencesNoUSA
What do you think the main implications of your findings are for workers, policymakers and trade unions?LawWork and EmploymentNoUK
What are the implications of your work for employers?LawWork and EmploymentNoUK
How far is AI from an actual integration at the bedside in the hospital?Engineering and TechnologyBiomedical Engineering: Promotion, Integration, Management and Processing of Critical Inpatients’ Open Big Data RepositoriesNoUSA
How do you know you have done enough literature review?Social SciencesDesign for Sustainable BehaviourYesUKI described the steps I undertook in doing the literature review, starting from looking at the problem more broadly to narrowing it down and identying key authors. I also described how I managed the sources and how conducting a lit review on NVivo helped me identify some exclusion and Inclusion criteria.YesFlo
Why did you choose that specific general structure?Social SciencesPolitical TheoryYesUK
How did you literature review frame your research?Social SciencesArab/British NegotiationsYesUK
What were the key ethical challenges you experienced and how did you overcome them?Clinical and HealthHealth PromotionYesIreland
Chapter four of your work has a short list of specific conclusions. Can you explain in different words what you did for that chapter, and how it justifies making each of the conclusions?Life SciencesHuman evolutionYesUKI briefly summarised the work I had done, which involved using GIS to explore patterns in the environment and seeing if they match with patterns in the distribution of primate species, and flagged up the key bits that led me to each conclusion.Yes
Which parts of your thesis (other than the chapter that you have already published) do you think will be published and in which journals? How do you know?Life SciencesHuman evolutionYesUKI highlighted two chapters that I intended to publish and one that contained analyses I didn’t think had worked well enough, talked about how I’d choose a journal in my field, and summarised what I thought was the definition of “publishable work”.Yes
Why did you choose to structure your thesis by site rather than by type of evidence, time, or some other method?Arts and HumanitiesCeltic Studies
How did you use NVivo and generate concept maps?Clinical and HealthNursingYesUK
Explain how you identified patients (study participants)Clinical and HealthNursingNoUK
Why did you not progress to use the 3rd site ?Clinical and HealthNursingNoUK
Which one of your experimental chapters are you most proud of?Physical SciencesPhysics and quantum informationYesUKChapter 3 and then I explainedYesYasir Noori
What are the likely effects of climate change on microplastics.Physical SciencesAtmospheric microplasticsNoUKExtreme weather events will resuspend microplastics, and expose plastics to greater sunlight with fewer plants. PLUS another ten minutes of talking aound it untill they got bored 🙂YesDR
What would your elevator pitch be to summarise your thesis? A summary in your own words, say you met someone Social SciencesSociology of work disciplineYesUKNatasha Choudary
What is your motivation to research this topic? Social SciencesSociology of work disciplineYesUKNatasha Choudary
What spoke to you about a foucualdian approach , why did you choose it?Social SciencesSociology of work disciplineNoUKNatasha Choudary
What have you learnt doing a doctorate?Social SciencesSociology of work disciplineYesUKNatasha Choudary
What is the value of a Foucauldian approach? Social SciencesSociology of work disciplineNoUKNatasha Choudary
How do you understand resistance, conceptually?Social SciencesSociology of work disciplineNoUKNatasha Choudary
How does your analytical framework (WPR) complement the theoretical framework (neoliberal governmentality?)Social SciencesSociology of work disciplineYesUKNatasha Choudary
Is it harder to include observational data as it is interview data? As there was more interview data than observational data?Social SciencesSociology of work disciplineNoUKNatasha Choudary
Why did you exclude some aspects of your data, are you implicitly complicit in the problem? Social SciencesSociology of work disciplineYesUKNatasha Choudary
Why didn’t you feedback your findings to the organisation? Social SciencesSociology of work disciplineYesUKNatasha Choudary
Why did you choose to structure your case study write up in the way you did?Social SciencesSociology of work disciplineYesUKNatasha Choudary
What are the implications of your research for practice? Social SciencesSociology of work disciplineYesUKNatasha Choudary
What would you do differently?Social SciencesSociology of work disciplineYesUKNatasha Choudary
How do you view yourself as a scientist?Physical SciencesGeology, Precambrian MudYesUK
What was the purpose of the creative work you did with the School-age mothers and was it efficient?Social SciencesEducationNoUK
If you could go back to the start of your PhD, what would be one thing (if any) that you would change?PsychologyCognitive mechanisms and smokingYesUK
If you were to expand on your research as you described in future directions, what would you budget for and what would be the most important thing you budget for?Social SciencesOccupational EpidemiologyYesUSI talked about the need to pay a community outreach advocate to better gain access to my population of interest. But I think our you can justify what you need that you didn't have due to money, you could respond with almost anything.Yes
Why did you write your thesis the way you have (all chapters were written as papers but I wasn't submitting my thesis by publication)Business and EconomicsEnergy PolicyYesUK
If you had the opportunity to start this thesis from scratch, what approach would you take/do differently?Arts and HumanitiesTranslationYesUK
Would you recommend to put money and effort more on : a) super computers available for ecologists to analyse data, b) pay statisticians to quantify ecological systems and build models according to the needs of the field methods or c) build repositories for sharing data and to ensure open data available at large scalesLife SciencesApplied quantitative ecologyYesNorwayMahdieh
How does your work apply at the community level?Social SciencesTechnoscience and Care EthicsYesSweden
If I give you a post-doc for 2 years, how will you apply your PhD framework in it? Social SciencesTechnoscience and Care EthicsYesSweden
Can you paint a future with your PhD approach in the development of the field?Social SciencesTechnoscience and Care EthicsYesSweden
What is the most important finding from your PhD and can you explain why?Life SciencesNeuroscienceYesUKOsman
How would you describe what you just explained to middle schoolers and high schoolers?Physical SciencesMacromolecular ChemistryYesUS
How would you define a microbial function?Life SciencesMicrobial ecology / Bioscience EngineeringNoBelgiumI am for operational definitions of functionality, as "microbial functions" are dependent of the hypothesis, the machine used to measure characteristics of microbes and a certain threshold that has to be set.Yes
Can you tell us a bit more about what you learnt as a researcher?EducationYesUK
At the end of each results chapter "what would you do next"?Life SciencesMicrobial Ecology and EvolutionYesUKMy supervisor gave me great advice to have a list of 3 things per chapter with a bit of detail eg methods of how you would do them.
In hindsight what would you differently if you started this phd again?Life SciencesMicrobial Ecology and EvolutionYesUK
The examiner would refer to a page with a figure on it and ask me to explain the figure.Life SciencesMicrobial Ecology and EvolutionYesUKImportant thing is to describe what the axes mean and be as clear as possible.
Why did you choose to do this study?EducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
What contribution does your study make?EducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
Take us through chapter 2 and explain how this connects with each of your research questionsEducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
Which researchers / research influenced your study, and how?
General Subject: Education
EducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
Summarise the policymaking process under study.EducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
In what way, if any, does your study of Scottish HE governance connect to Scottish FE governance?EducationHigher Education GovernanceNoUK
Summarise what chapter X gets out to doEducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
Explain the decision-making behind your choice to use Kingdon's multiple streams approachEducationHigher Education GovernanceNoUK
Do you think your study has been limited by the use of Raffe’s framework because it’s a territorial framework designed for use in devolved nations of the UK?EducationHigher Education GovernanceNoUK
Summarise the approach that you adopted.EducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
How did you manage the process of negotiating access to participants?EducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
Take us through the process of analysis.EducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
What surprised you about the data, what was unexpected?EducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
What will readers take way from the concluding chapter?EducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
What are the weaknesses of the thesis?EducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
What might you do differently?EducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
Any questions for us?EducationHigher Education GovernanceYesUK
In your view, would the SNP be pleased about the policy outcomes?EducationHigher Education GovernanceNoUK
Might Prof. XX be described as another policy entrepreneur?EducationHigher Education GovernanceNoUK
How long does it take between laser pulses?Physical SciencesChemistryNoUS
why for an excimer laser do you need less laser shots than a solid state laser.Physical SciencesChemistryNoUS
I also had investigated different MS/MS (Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry) techniques and was asked to compare them all and if I could only pick one which would I choose and why.Physical SciencesChemistryNoUS
How could your solution be used in helping the COVID pandemicComputer ScienceCollaboration in business process engineeringYesSenegalMy solution being technical could not directly impact but could be used in the solutions people are creating to fight covid as long as there is a collaboration.YesMamadou
If you had endless funds for your research, what would you do next?Life SciencesVeterinary geneticsYesFinland
Why did you use this algorithm to calculate your phylogenetic trees and why not any other algorithm?
That might be important to candidates that have a picture of a phylogenetic tree in their presentation
Physical SciencesGenomicsNoGermany
How do you think might your work be applicable on the real world, and what are the ups and downs with it?Physical SciencesGenomicsYesGermany
Where can this bacterium also be found and is it a natural habitat or did it come there unnaturally? (might be applicable to any work about a bacterium)Physical SciencesGenomicsNoGermany
If I was your study plant and you were trying to convince me to disperse out of my current environment, what would you say to me?Life SciencesBotanyNoUK
Why this thesis? What made you interested in this topic?EducationYesUK
Describe your PhD brieflyClinical and HealthSmoking in pregnancyYesUK
why did you choose this specific analysis?Clinical and HealthSmoking in pregnancyYesUK
what would you have done differently?Clinical and HealthSmoking in pregnancyYesUK
What is the next extension to project X that you would make to improve your work?Clinical and HealthCardiac ElectrophysiologyYesUSWilson
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the method of autoethnography you used and how do these relate to your work?Social SciencesAnthropologyNo
Why did you choose that particular framework and not another? We feel that your chosen framework is weak!Social SciencesMedical AnthropologyYesUKI thought it is the most appropriate to represent my empirical dataNo
Describe your research in a couple of sentences to:
a.your Grandma
b.a very young sibling/relative
In one sentence, what is your thesis?
What were the motivation for your research? Why was the problem you have tackled worth tackling?
Has your view of your research topic changed during the course of the research?
How did you develop an interest in this subject?
What were the ethical implications of your research, and how did you deal with them?
Who was responsible for the key conceptual turns, innovations or significant thinking in your field?
What would you say were the central methodological difficulties you experienced during your research?
Was your research deductive or inductive or abductive – and why?
How did you decide upon the variables to include in your conceptual framework?
Why did you choose that particular method? Why not use other methods instead?
Do you think your sample was large enough?
Summarise your key findings.
How do your findings relate to the literature on the subject?
In what way is your research original and significant?
To what extent would you generalise to settings other than the one you’ve worked on?
How will your research inform professional practice?
What is the implication of your work in your area? What does it change?
If you were doing this study over again, in what ways would you change it?
What are the strongest/weakest parts of your work?
Where did the idea of the project come from?Life SciencesMolecular biology, epigeneticsYesGermanyI briefly summarised the state of knowledge and gave examples of similar approaches already publishedYes

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