Goals for 2015

On Monday I shared some of my highlights for 2014, but of course a New Year is not all about looking back, it’s about thinking and planning ahead too. I’ve written about setting objectives and goals before, so I’ll try and follow my own advice when it comes to thinking about my year ahead! Some of these are objectives, some are announcements, some are hopes and dreams for 2015.


I’m currently writing and typesetting Frequently Asked Questions about the PhD Viva, and all being well we can expect to see that in the Amazon Kindle Store before Easter. I have a more defined date in mind, but I also know what other workshops and projects I have ongoing, so want a little wiggle room. As more writing is completed over the coming weeks I might feel more comfortable about setting a release date, which would certainly be exciting.

Fail Your Viva, my first ebook about viva preparation is still available exclusively through the Amazon Kindle Store (the UK price increased on January 1st due to the VAT changes throughout the EU). I am hoping that by the end of the month I will have a more clear idea of a potential physical paperback, which is something a lot of people have asked me about over the last few years. Please let me know if this is something you would like to see, as it will help me to think through the various issues!

I have the itch to write now – a happy side effect of regularly blogging – and I have ideas for another short ebook that I might work on this year, but finish Frequently Asked Questions about the PhD Viva first before I start another big project.


In order to support getting my second book finished, I’ll be dropping to a Monday/Wednesday/Friday publishing schedule on this blog, at least until the book is out there. I’ll continue to produce book reviews, posts on creative thinking, link round-ups and other things that I hope are helpful to postgraduate researchers. If you have ideas for things that you would like to see me cover then get in touch, or tweet at me.

The Viva Survivors Podcast

I am very happy that I’ve been able to pick this project back up again in the last few months. It’s been great to regularly talk to people about their PhD and what happened in their viva. I have a rough publishing schedule for the Viva Survivors Podcast for 2015 – aiming for a minimum of two episodes per month, with some hopefully exciting plans for specials later in the year. If you or someone you know might like to come on the podcast then do let me know and get in touch!

Research on the PhD Viva

In 2014 I ran a short survey of seven questions, and got 302 responses from PhD graduates who shared some details about their viva. Some of the results were very surprising! Of course, more questions got thrown up by the answers that I got – which is why I want to do more research this year. A second survey, with a narrower time focus and with some extra questions to try to examine some of the results that I got from the first survey – and look at other interesting aspects of the viva experience.

I’m currently thinking that I might run the survey from Easter to the end of May (a two month window), but I will need active help this time from people who can channel respondents to the survey – which will still be quite short – so that we can try to hit a better level of statistical significance, and find some meaningful results to help people prepare for their viva. As with many of the other entries in this post, if you have ideas or would like to help then please, get in touch!


Delivering workshops to postgraduate researchers and research staff – last but by no means least – is my bread and butter. I’ll continue to deliver some of the established workshops that I’ve run for the last five years, as well as look at opportunities for trying new things. I’m excited about the opportunity to deliver my Viva Survivor session using Google Hangout, and will be looking to see what other new things I might try. I like helping postgraduate researchers – so let me know if I can help!

What are you looking forward to this year? What goals or plans do you have? Looking back at this post, I feel like I’m only looking six months or so ahead, but time moves fast… I wonder what else this year will bring?

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)