In defence of the Viva Voce: Eighteen Candidates’ Voices

Davis, Geraldine M. and Engward, Hilary (2018) In defence of the Viva Voce: Eighteen Candidates’ Voices. Nurse Education Today, 65. pp. 30-35. ISSN 1532-2793

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Background: The doctoral viva voce is an under-researched field, particularly from the point of view of doctoral candidates. With increasing numbers of health care professionals undertaking doctoral study, we can develop practice by listening to their ‘living voices’. Objective: To explore doctoral candidates’ experiences of their viva. Design and methods: Using exploratory research and purposive sampling, eighteen participants who had undergone examination of their doctorate within the last five years were identified. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore these participants’ experiences of their viva. Results: Thematic analysis of the data demonstrated that: Candidates wanted to engage in academic argument but were not always provided the opportunity to do so; The viva voce examination was frequently an emotional experience, even for candidates who did not regard themselves as subject to such emotions, examiners were sometimes able to moderate the effect of these emotions; Practical aspects of the examination were not always considered; Issues of fairness were raised, both by successful candidates and by those who were required to resubmit. Conclusions: The viva voce examination, as experienced by candidates, is not always a fair one. We recommend engagement of the academic community to promote best practice in the ‘living voice’ examination.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: viva voce, doctoral students, doctoral assessment, equitable assessment, qualitative research
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Hilary Engward
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2018 13:42
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:56

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