The Dissertation Defense Day: 8 Points To Keep In Mind 


The dissertation defense is your last step on the way to receiving a longed-for doctorate degree. You should represent and defend your work in front of your advisor and dissertation committee members. The dissertation defense procedures may vary slightly in different universities, which is why it is important that you be aware of all the requirements of your institution in particular. However, in the majority of cases, there are lots of basic and common features you should consider. Keep in mind the following points, and your dissertation defense day will be predictably successful:

  1. Use visual aids to represent your dissertation.
  2. Well-arranged slides will help you include everything relevant and important in your talk. Be sure to organize them in the most suitable order, and keep to this order in the process of defense.

  3. Speak in a formal manner.
  4. You’d better say “our results prove that…,” rather than “as you can see here…”

  5. Don’t focus on the information that has already been proposed.
  6. Committee members have already listened to your proposal details that are available in the introduction, methodology, and literature review sections. Therefore, skip the first three chapters of your paper and concentrate on new information from the results and discussion sections.

  7. Don’t represent your results in too much of details.
  8. You won’t have time to introduce all your achievements during the time allotted for dissertation defense. What you should do is to demonstrate general outcome in the same patterns as the previous researchers did and compare your findings with their results.

  9. Mention both limitations and strengths of your project in the discussion section.
  10. This trick will assure your audience that you have done thorough research on the issue.

  11. Be sure to explain everything step-by-step.
  12. You shouldn’t forget that you have, perhaps, the deepest knowledge on this narrow topic at the moment. Therefore, be coherent, and don’t skip any intermediary stages that can help with understanding the dissertation question.

  13. Answer properly.
  14. Try to answer confidently, and let your responses be clear and concise. Avoid using complex constructions. If you don’t know the answer, admit it. Your honesty will be appreciated more than an attempt to fake the answer.

  15. Think before you say.
  16. Don’t try to tell everything you know on the issue during the allotted period of time. The quality of what you say is more important than the quantity of information provided. Committee members expect to hear solid thoughts rather than meaningless verbiage.