I didn’t realise that it had been almost 6 months since I last wrote here. I have been updating some news on twitter which are displayed on a side-bar in this blog, but I guess there’s nothing like a “post” to update what is happening.

Well… I finished my final draft of my dissertation on the 27th of October, about a month later than I wanted to submit it.  The procedure then was to wait for a month so that the SAIACS doctoral committee could read my work, and then I would face them in a PreViva.

The PreViva was a new addition to the SAIACS doctoral programme. Theis was an opportunity for SAIACS to raise the standard of all doctoral research, in a multidisciplinary setting, before the work was submitted to the external examiners… where I would face my real Viva.

The consequence of me submitted about a month late was that November was (and is) a really busy time at SAIACS and very few people had the time to read my work. So my PreViva was postponed by a few days.

I was a little nervous, because the topic I had chosen was really  broad. But I knew I was happy with the research but was afraid if I had missed something, or some blind spot.

My PreViva was attended by my dissertation Supervisor, Dr. Chris B., through skype from Montreal.

The PreViva began at approximately 10am, and went on till 1:00pm… 3 hours. Then, after people had a day to submit further comments, there was a two hour long meeting going through the comments to consolidate what I would have to address.

I was finally given two documents, a long one giving detailed questions. And a shorter one, with certain points on what the committee felt I should address.

The basic gist was that I had to rewrite my conclusion, which was evidently weak. It wasn’t clear, after reading my conclusion, what I was actually trying to say. I had not covered all the basis (or implications) of my thesis. In view of this, I would have to modify my introduction as well. Plus a few minor points of correction in the middle.

In my view the changes were not drastic, but were still significant. I knew that after the PreViva, my work would be much stronger. And for that I was grateful.

I was a little frustrated at the kinds of questions that were asked… some of them were clearly asked without understanding my work. Still, the overall effect was positive.

Now, I have till January 7, to complete my final draft, for submission to my external examiners. Whoever they be. Hopefully, my external viva will be a month later, in February.

If all goes well, I have only minor corrections, and then I graduate in March. If not, then back to the editing table.

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