Effective Dissertation Defense Tips

dissertation defense tips and help

Dissertation Defense Tips That Work

Most people who have been through a dissertation defense have one or two “can’t fail” tips for those who preparing for their own dissertation defense. Some of the tips that you are given will work and some won’t. The tips that worked for you may not work for some other PhD candidate making their defense. Everybody is different and every dissertation defense provides a unique set of circumstances that the presenter will face. Some good advice is to adopt those tips that work for you, and discard the rest. Here are ten dissertation defense tips that have proven to be effective for some people:

  1. You are probably the world’s premier expert on your research topic. Nobody knows more about this particular part of your field of study than you. That should boost your confidence a bit
  2. The research committee believes in you: You have been interacting with at least some of the research committee over the course of several years. In most cases the committee won’t allow you to defend your dissertation if they don’t think you are ready.
  3. “It is better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” This applies when answering dissertation defense questions. If you don’t know the answer to a question it is better to be quiet than it is to ramble on hoping to stumble over the right answer
  4. The research committee is on stage. They are performing for the audience and some may not like it any more than you
  5. Be well rested when you present your dissertation defense. Rest is a more effective last minute preparation that an all-night cram session
  6. Keep it simple and to the point. When writing an abstract or summary, clear and concise is best. The same thing applies when presenting your PhD thesis defense
  7. Don’t try and dance your way around a question you aren’t sure how to answer. The committee will recognize all the tricks and techniques that people use to avoid addressing a question directly
  8. If you are uncertain of an answer don’t be afraid to say so. When asked a question that you have some doubts about, stating that you are not sure how to respond can often result in further clarification from a committee member that can help
  9. Speak up if questioning goes beyond the boundaries of your topic. Nobody knows everything except for maybe Uncle Joe after a few drinks. Don’t hesitate to say if a question asks something that wasn’t included in your research
  10. Enjoy yourself. This is a once in a lifetime moment. You will pass. The research committee believes you will. In a few years you will be tell stories about it.

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