How to Defend Your Dissertation Successfully

In the beginning, writing and researching a dissertation seems like a formidable process. Beginning students can barely comprehend the amount of work that they are about to do. As students finish their papers, the next stage of the process is about to begin: the dissertation defense. For the student's essay to be accepted, they must be able to defend their doctoral paper to the academic committee.

Expect the Unexpected

After spending years on a particular topic, the student knows exactly what questions should be asked of a similar writer. Unfortunately, these questions are rarely the ones that are actually asked by the academic committee. Each question may seem unpredictable to the student. Even worse, the academic committee will pick apart the tiny details in the student's writing. Although the student may have written hundreds of pages about the topic, the committee could ask a question about a specific sentence or word. It is up to the student to be knowledgeable about their thesis and able to answer each question.

Perform Many Practice Talks

It may seem amazing, but it is actually really easy to fill up 30 to 60 minutes of presentation time. Students should never give a presentation that they have not practiced. Ideally, the student should perform the presentation several times in front of a mirror. They should use a stop watch to make sure that their presentation will fit in the time requirement. As the student practices in front of the mirror, they may want to try out different hand gestures, movements or speaking styles to convey their point. Although an academician does not have to be a great public speaker, they have to be tolerable at presenting their dissertation if they plan on graduating.

Listen to Other Students

Unlike other forms of public speaking, this presentation is not intended to be overly exciting or enjoyable. An academic presentation is rarely seen on television or listened to on the radio. To get a feel for a dissertation defense, students should listen to other students first. If the campus allows a general audience to listen to presentations, students should come in early and bring a notepad. As they listen, students can write down the things that the presenter did well. The student will also want to write down the type of questions that are asked by the professors.

Ask Classmates to Help

A doctoral student cannot get just anyone to help. Since the student wrote a highly specific, academic paper, they will need to find students who are knowledgeable about the same subject area. With some classmates, the student should give their defense and wait for feedback. They should ask their listeners to drill them with questions so that they are well-prepared for the defense.

Create a List of Questions

Using the classmates' questions, students can prepare their own list of questions that may be asked. Afterward, they can prepare answers to these questions. If any of these pre-prepared questions are asked, the student will seem especially knowledgeable about their topic. Additionally, this technique will help the student learn how to phrase their answers.

Hold Off on the Job Applications

After finishing a thesis paper, the student may want to start applying for jobs. Years of working on their paper have finally finished, and they are ready to move on. Although this is a natural instinct, students should hold off on applying for jobs yet. Until the defense is complete, the student will need to continue focusing on their thesis paper. The student is too close to the end of their degree to risk failing on their dissertation defense now.

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