A dissertation defense is one of the critical milestones one needs to cross to obtain a doctoral degree. It is a process that helps a candidate proffer their research knowledge to an audience of accomplished academics. Thus, preparing to defend a dissertation can feel distressing and burdensome, for one needs to tick several checkboxes at once. But, with the right set of steps and adequate practice, candidates can successfully overcome this unease.
A dissertation defense is a pivotal step that signals the completion of a doctoral candidate's journey. In a fundamental sense, it is an evaluation of the candidate's research, as enclosed within their dissertation, that typically precedes the process of dissertation submission.
Candidates should prepare a concise presentation outlining the various aspects of their dissertation research and demonstrate it in front of a committee. They also need to answer the questions posed by the committee concerning the dissertation and participate in any complementary discussions post the conclusion of the presentation. The defense itself is primarily oral, thus, also called viva voce, and usually 1-2 hours long.
Defending a dissertation is, objectively stated, one of the most arduous endeavors in a doctoral candidate’s life. The premise of the process - constricting research worth years into a 25-45 minute presentation and answering the barrage of questions thrown by the committee members - seems pretty straightforward. However, there are several apprehensions associated with defending dissertations that can upset the composure of even the most confident candidates. Typically, these include:
the unpredictable nature of the committee members
the barrage of questions thrown by the committee to "grill" a candidate
the fear of unintentionally skipping critical research details
the lack of enough practical experience
Thus, candidates need a comprehensive strategy that will help them cover all the aspects of their defense preparations.
The six preparatory steps mentioned below propose one such strategy that rightfully acknowledges the different facets of defending a dissertation.
An ideal way of excelling at defending a dissertation is to review the presentations of others.
Doing so helps candidates acquaint themselves better with the defense process and audience and address some common misconceptions firsthand.
Candidates should look for upcoming defense sessions in their university/college or other nearby institutions and attend them perforce.
Also, watching some outstanding defenses on sites such as YouTube is a great way to learn a few great tips and best practices.
Scholars are used to overcrowding their brains with the curriculum the night before an exam. However, harboring the same attitude when preparing for a dissertation defense can prove detrimental.
Candidates should commence the preparations before the university/college schedules the defense.
This is also the phase when candidates should frequently consult their advisors and practice speaking eloquently speech.
Doing so will help them acquire familiarity with speaking coherently and ensure consistency of their thoughts when defending the research.
The presentation slides are the foundation of an excellent defense and not just an accouterment.
Thus, candidates should ensure that all of their slides and subsequent contents are in order. In addition, they should review, edit and proofread the slides at least a few times for a seamless defense session.
The formatting of the slides is also a critical factor for the presentation.
Candidates should examine the layout, font colors, styles, backgrounds, clarity of images, etc., of the slides for enhanced readability for the committee and the audience.
To prepare for the questionnaire, candidates should try deriving their own questions from the dissertation. The questions can survey topics such as the purpose, scope & limitations of the research, anomalous findings/results, etc.
Candidates should also seek the help of their supervisors to develop more targeted questions.
Once the questions are ready, candidates should practice answering them while imagining themselves in a defense session. Doing so will help develop a suitable poise when answering the actual questions.
An intriguing introduction prominently serves four purposes:
attracts the complete attention of the audience and the committee members
emphasizes the intellect of the presenter
stresses the importance of the research
creates a positive first impression
Thus, when writing the speech content for the defense, candidates should draft a hook for the introduction. It can include an impressive fact related to the research data, an unusual finding, an anecdote, etc.
Regardless of how well-prepared a candidate is, technical difficulties can pose more problems than merely hindering the presentation’s flow.
Technical issues like data loss, data corruption, missing files, slow internet connection, faulty computer components, etc., can severely disconcert a candidate, causing them to make rudimentary mistakes during their defense.
Thus, candidates should always back up their presentations, check their devices for any faults, and ensure a stable internet connection in case of virtual defense sessions.
A dissertation defense is one of the critical milestones one needs to cross to obtain a doctoral degree. It is a process that helps a candidate proffer their research knowledge to an audience of accomplished academics. Thus, preparing to defend a dissertation can feel distressing and burdensome, for one needs to tick several checkboxes at once. But, with the right set of steps and adequate practice, candidates can successfully overcome this unease. Hence, readers looking forward to their dissertation defenses should consider the above six points and develop a practice routine to make the most of their preparatory efforts.
Best Edit & Proof expert editors and proofreaders focus on offering manuscripts with proper tone, content, and style of academic writing, and also provide an upscale editing and proofreading service for you. If you consider our pieces of advice, you will witness a notable increase in the chance for your research manuscript to be accepted by the publishers. We work together as an academic writing style guide by bestowing subject-area editing and proofreading around several categorized writing styles. With the group of our expert editors, you will always find us all set to help you identify the tone and style that your manuscript needs to get a nod from the publishers.
You can also avail of our assistance if you are looking for editors who can format your manuscript, or just check on the particular styles for the formatting task as per the guidelines provided to you, e.g., APA, MLA, or Chicago/Turabian styles. Best Edit & Proof editors and proofreaders provide all sorts of academic writing help, including editing and proofreading services, using our user-friendly website, and a streamlined ordering process.
Visit our order page if you want our subject-area editors or language experts to work on your manuscript to improve its tone and style and give it a perfect academic tone and style through proper editing and proofreading. The process of submitting a paper is very easy and quick. Click here to find out how it works.
Our pricing is based on the type of service you avail of here, be it editing or proofreading. We charge on the basis of the word count of your manuscript that you submit for editing and proofreading and the turnaround time it takes to get it done. If you want to get an instant price quote for your project, copy and paste your document or enter your word count into our pricing calculator.
Contact us to get support with academic editing and proofreading. We have a 24/7 active live chat mode to offer you direct support along with qualified editors to refine and furbish your manuscript.
For more posts, click here.
This article gives you some important tips for your dissertation defense. To give you an opportunity to practice proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.
The Beginner’s Guide to Statistical Analysis
How to Write a Perfect Ph.D. Thesis
How to Write a Thesis Statement | 6 Tips
How to Structure a Thesis: A Complete Guide
Thesis vs. Research Paper: Know the Differences
Dissertation Submission Checklist: 5 Important Tips
The Beginner’s Guide to Statistical Analysis
How to Layout and Format a Dissertation: 10 Tips
Dissertation Submission Checklist: 5 Important Tips
How to Prepare for Your Dissertation Defense: 6 Steps
How to Choose a Dissertation Editor in 3 Steps
Whether it is an academic essay or any other thesis paper, all the papers are directly or indirectly associated with one’s future. Therefore, making mistakes here means compromising with the future. However, students are fond of making some habitual errors while composing an academic paper. Let’s learn those mistakes and make sure not to repeat them in your turn.Continue Reading
Starting an academic study can be an overwhelming task. After all, it is a very systematic way of studying and involves many procedures and methods that you cannot skip or go around. One of the most prominent parts of research is the research methods that you adopt to get your results.Continue Reading
Being proficient in grammar takes years of practice and needs deep knowledge. Yet, you will still end up making grammatical mistakes, and that is understandable. However, when we are talking about academic writing, you need to be exceptionally careful that you do not end up making such mistakes. This article gives you 10 common grammatical mistakes in academic writing. If you are someone who tends to make such mistakes frequently, this article will be able to help you pinpoint those mistakes and fix them.Continue Reading
Writing for academic purposes entails writing literature that is formal in tone, objective, structure-wise complex and contains a fair amount of academic jargon. As such, there are certain words and phrases, collectively called taboo words, that academic writers omit when writing manuscripts. Academic writing encourages their elimination to maintain the “formality” of academic documents. This article discusses the definition of taboo words to avoid and examine their use cases.Continue Reading
After writing your manuscript, you may likely decide on an editor to perform the final checks on your document. Mostly, authors make the mistake of sending their manuscripts to their editors, without providing adequate information about specifications on the service they seek. With such limited information, your editor may produce an unsatisfactory job with limited information at his/her disposal. Thus, to ensure that your editors provide the best possible service, which will prevent journals from rejecting your manuscripts on the grounds of noncompliance to journal requirements, the following information should be provided beforehand.Continue Reading
Maintaining parallel structure prevents writers from making grammatically incorrect sentences and helps them to improve their writing styles. Although lack of parallelism is not always strictly incorrect, sentences with the parallel structure are easier to read and add a sense of balance to your academic writing. In this article, we will focus on what is parallel structure and how to use parallel structure in academic writing.Continue Reading
Choosing a topic for your dissertation or thesis at the end of your master's or doctoral study can become a daunting task. You must select a topic that you find interesting to work on. A dissertation/thesis is a crucial piece of work as it carries enormous credit points at the end of the master's study or postgraduate year. Therefore, you must choose the right and the most suitable topic. Here are some helpful tips for choosing a dissertation and thesis topic that suits you the most.Continue Reading