Guide to Successful Dissertation Defense
Writing the dissertation is the hard part of doctoral studies. It requires most of the effort and your time. But after writing that hectic part, your next wish is to get a successful defense. Getting a pass on your defense is the main issue. Any single mistake and you are screwed. Most of the people are afraid to answers questions of the committee and feel underconfident if they do any mistake. This isn’t the time to worry. All it takes effort and confidence to face those challenges.
Once a PhD scholar said, “You don’t get an open chance to discuss your research with scholars who are so much interested in your research”. Think of defense as an opportunity to tell people about the study, your hard work and finally discuss what are learnings and what your plan. Changing your perspective will give you a broader view of defense and you will succeed at it without any doubt. Here are tips preparing for dissertation defense:
- Aware of rules of your school
The rules in defense may change after some time. Defense candidates should know every rule of their department. Prepare it for advance, for instance, know the lunch break timing, total time limit of your defense, are friends allowed in the defense, and also consider submitting a copy of your dissertation to the committee members. The date and time are fixed, so try to adjust everything in time
- Take advice from your seniors
To give a successful defense, you can take advice from your seniors. They will tell you about their experiences. The pressure of defense, the question answers session, and even the discussion with a committee member. Knowing everything in advance will help your mind and body to prepare for it early. It will be much easier for you to face it.
- Show a positive attitude
Keeping the right attitude is the key to success. Keep yourself open to criticism of your committee member. Doing doctoral studies doesn’t mean that you are always right. Accept and learn from the mistake and face the criticism of members. Most of them are for your improvement. Don’t feel discouraged about it instead show them your tolerance level.
- Keep your confidence level high
Having low confidence always make opportunity slip from your hands. On the other hand, overconfidence will let your audience think you are too proud. Keep your confidence level at the mid-line but high so that you answer them correctly.
- Effective communication
Committee members are not your enemies. Instead, they are at the board panels because they have already gone through this phase and experts at their knowledge. Make your communicational skill stronger so that you can discuss them more appropriately.
- Prepare anticipated questions
The key point of having a successful defense is to predict their questions while preparing for your defense. The more you think from their perspective, the more questions you will get and you have the chance to prepare them well. It’s not possible to predict 100%, though at least to some extent.
- Practice, practice, practice
Defense is important in your PhD journey. If you do any single mistake, there might be chances that they won’t pass you. You don’t want to waste those 3-4 years you spent working hard day and night, don’t you? Practice your presentation as much as you can. Take a deep breath while answering any questions. Don’t rush to wind up things. Instead, explain it in a time limit but in an accurate way.
Following all those tips will help you to successfully pass the defense. No doubt, you will do it. Keep working on it. Good luck!