Participating in an academic viva can be a daunting experience, especially when English is not your first language. However, with proper preparation and understanding of the rules, you can effectively communicate your ideas and impress the examiners. In this blog article, we will explore essential rules to follow when speaking English in an academic viva, along with examples to illustrate each rule.

Some Rules of Speak English in Academic Viva

Rule 1: Be Prepared Before entering the viva, thoroughly study and review your research. Familiarize yourself with your research findings, methodology, and any potential limitations. Being well-prepared will boost your confidence and enable you to respond confidently to questions.


Examiner: Can you explain the main findings of your study?

Student: Yes, certainly. The main findings of my study indicate a significant positive correlation between exercise frequency and mental well-being.

Rule 2: Use Formal Language Utilize formal and academic language to convey your ideas clearly. Avoid colloquial expressions and slang. Use appropriate terminology and technical vocabulary related to your research field.


Examiner: What were the limitations of your study?

Student: One of the limitations was the relatively small sample size, which may have affected the generalizability of the results.

Rule 3: Speak Clearly and Confidently Articulate your words clearly and maintain a confident tone throughout the viva. Enunciate your words, maintain a moderate pace, and pay attention to your pronunciation.


Examiner: Can you elaborate on the theoretical framework used in your research?

Student: Certainly. The theoretical framework I employed was based on Bandura’s social learning theory, which suggests that individuals learn through observation and modeling.

Rule 4: Provide Structured Responses Organize your responses by introducing your main point, providing supporting evidence or examples, and concluding with a summary or implication. This structure helps convey your ideas in a coherent manner.


Examiner: How did you analyze the data in your study?

Student: In my study, I conducted thematic analysis, which involved identifying recurring themes in the interview transcripts. After coding the data, I categorized the themes into overarching patterns, providing a comprehensive understanding of the participants’ experiences.

Rule 5: Seek Clarification if Necessary If you are unsure about a question, politely ask the examiner to clarify or rephrase it. It is better to seek clarification than to provide an inaccurate or irrelevant response.


Examiner: Can you explain the implications of your research findings?

Student: Could you please clarify whether you are referring to the practical or theoretical implications?

Rule 6: Demonstrate Critical Thinking Engage in critical thinking by analyzing and evaluating the questions and issues raised during the viva. Support your arguments with evidence, research, or references, demonstrating your ability to think critically and academically.


Examiner: How does your research contribute to existing literature?

Student: My research adds to the existing literature by providing insights into the long-term effects of climate change on biodiversity, which has been underrepresented in previous studies.

10 Common Academic Viva Questions with Answers

Can you summarize the main objective of your research?

The main objective of my research was to investigate the impact of social media on consumer behavior and its implications for marketing strategies. I aimed to examine how social media usage influences consumer decision-making processes and explore the effectiveness of social media marketing campaigns.

What are the key findings of your study?

The key findings of my study reveal a positive correlation between regular exercise and mental well-being. Participants who engaged in physical activity at least three times a week reported lower levels of stress and improved mood compared to those with a sedentary lifestyle.

What were the limitations of your research?

One limitation of my research was the sample size, which consisted of a relatively small number of participants. This may impact the generalizability of the findings to a larger population. Additionally, the study was conducted within a specific geographical area, which limits the applicability to other regions.

Can you explain the methodology you used in your research?

In my research, I employed a quantitative approach using a survey questionnaire. The questionnaire included Likert-scale questions to measure participants’ attitudes and perceptions regarding the topic. Statistical analysis was conducted to examine the relationships between variables.

What are the implications of your research findings?

The implications of my research findings suggest that incorporating regular exercise into one’s routine can contribute to better mental well-being. This has implications for healthcare professionals, policymakers, and individuals looking to improve their overall quality of life.

How does your research contribute to the existing body of knowledge in your field?

My research contributes to the existing body of knowledge by providing empirical evidence on the relationship between sleep quality and academic performance. It adds to the understanding of the factors that influence academic success and highlights the importance of sleep hygiene for students.

Were there any unexpected challenges or difficulties encountered during your research?

During my research, one unexpected challenge was the difficulty in recruiting participants due to time constraints and limited access to the target population. However, I overcame this by utilizing various recruitment strategies and extending the data collection period.

Can you discuss any potential future research directions based on your study?

Based on my study, potential future research directions could include exploring the long-term effects of the intervention on participants’ behavior, investigating the influence of additional factors on mental well-being, such as diet and social support, or conducting a qualitative study to gain a deeper understanding of participants’ experiences.

What were the strengths and weaknesses of your research design?

One strength of my research design was the use of a randomized controlled trial, which allowed for comparison between the intervention and control groups. However, a weakness was the reliance on self-report measures, which may introduce response bias.

How did you ensure the reliability and validity of your research findings?

To ensure reliability, I used established measurement scales with proven internal consistency. Additionally, I conducted a pilot study to assess the clarity and comprehensibility of the questionnaire. To ensure validity, I reviewed relevant literature, sought expert opinions, and employed appropriate statistical analyses.


Speaking English in an academic viva may seem challenging, but by following these rules and practicing with examples, you can excel in communicating your research effectively. Remember to be prepared, use formal language, speak clearly and confidently, provide structured responses, seek clarification if needed, and demonstrate critical thinking. With these guidelines in mind, you will confidently navigate your academic viva and impress the examiners with your English language proficiency and research expertise.

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