Successfully defending your dissertation

I gave my defense slides to a couple people I felt completely comfortable with — close friends, close colleagues.

Successfully defending your dissertation

Pass with edits. Were there some rough areas of the talk? It also includes laying out the rationale behind your choices and decisions, for example, regarding theory selection and research methods. First, half-forgotten references and lab work will be fresh in your mind, instead of buried somewhere in a few hundred pages of print. Your committee wants you to pass. The requested revisions may be small or major, but do not require you to re-defend your dissertation proposal. Remember that they are simply trying to test your knowledge and humble you. Simplify it the best that you can and put it in the larger context of your research field. It should flow in a logical manner and be smooth. Given that most defenses have a time limitation, practicing is essential, especially if you tend to go off on tangents. You need to know why you chose your analysis plan, how to explain it and how to make inferences from it. Remember, your goal for your dissertation defense is to prove to your committee that you have contributed new knowledge to your field. The members of your committee have already read it, so there is no need to go over every detail.

It is very important to adhere to graduate school rules and deadlines covering the scheduling of a defense. So, how did I overcome this hurdle? Two questions to anticipate include identifying the weaknesses of your study and post-dissertation research plans.

The requested revisions may be small or major, but do not require you to re-defend your dissertation proposal. Those last two weeks until defense day can be stressful. I have no doubts you have done a very good job and I am looking forward to reading it.

dissertation defense etiquette

It should flow in a logical manner and be smooth. Institutional norms and policies likely require that the finished proposal be provided to the committee a specific number of days or weeks in advance of the defense.

Edits do not necessarily mean that the original dissertation design was weak; rather, you should think of the defense and feedback from the committee as a collaborative process resulting in an even stronger study Lei, You might be surprised when you play it back to yourself.

Failed dissertation defense

Invite some friendly faces. Have your manuscript reviewed before the defense to be sure it is consistent with formatting requirements. Perhaps you have already given the essence of the defense in group or department seminars. A few brief comments about all three follow and a very helpful resource provided a thorough discussion of all three components. In most cases, you should not make edits or changes to the proposal after sending it to the committee, even if you notice typographical errors or other small issues. They can ask you what you meant by a word in a random sentence in any given paragraph. The committee takes care and time to read and prepare questions based on the document they receive; making changes after the document is sent defeats this purpose. I had to make many model slides from scratch. I actually went and got a few talks on DVD the good ones that I remembered.
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Defending Your Dissertation