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Preparing to defend your thesis from home

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Due to COVID-19, defending your graduate thesis or dissertation in person is likely off the table. That doesn’t mean you have to wait to defend. Many schools and programs are allowing remote defenses — meaning you could find yourself defending from your living room! In this presentation, a recent psychology doctoral student that completed a remote defense, a current dean of psychology, and APA’s Office of Graduate and Postgraduate Education and Training, share how to prepare for and complete your thesis or dissertation defense remotely.

About the speakers

Alvin Akibar, PhD, is a recent doctoral recipient from the University of North Texas. Hideko Sera, PsyD, is the associate dean of the School of Education of the University of Redlands. Garth A. Fowler, PhD, is associate executive director of the APA Office of Graduate and Postgraduate Education and Training (Education Directorate) and will serve as moderator.


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13 Tips to Prepare for Your PhD Dissertation Defense

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How well do you know your project? Years of experiments, analysis of results, and tons of literature study, leads you to how well you know your research study. And, PhD dissertation defense is a finale to your PhD years. Often, researchers question how to excel at their thesis defense and spend countless hours on it. Days, weeks, months, and probably years of practice to complete your doctorate, needs to surpass the dissertation defense hurdle.

In this article, we will discuss details of how to excel at PhD dissertation defense and list down some interesting tips to prepare for your thesis defense.

Table of Contents

What Is Dissertation Defense?

Dissertation defense or Thesis defense is an opportunity to defend your research study amidst the academic professionals who will evaluate of your academic work. While a thesis defense can sometimes be like a cross-examination session, but in reality you need not fear the thesis defense process and be well prepared.


What are the expectations of committee members.

Choosing the dissertation committee is one of the most important decision for a research student. However, putting your dissertation committee becomes easier once you understand the expectations of committee members.

The basic function of your dissertation committee is to guide you through the process of proposing, writing, and revising your dissertation. Moreover, the committee members serve as mentors, giving constructive feedback on your writing and research, also guiding your revision efforts.

The dissertation committee is usually formed once the academic coursework is completed. Furthermore, by the time you begin your dissertation research, you get acquainted to the faculty members who will serve on your dissertation committee. Ultimately, who serves on your dissertation committee depends upon you.

Some universities allow an outside expert (a former professor or academic mentor) to serve on your committee. It is advisable to choose a faculty member who knows you and your research work.

How to Choose a Dissertation Committee Member?

How to Prepare for Dissertation Defense?

dissertation defense

1. Start Your Preparations Early

Thesis defense is not a 3 or 6 months’ exercise. Don’t wait until you have completed all your research objectives. Start your preparation well in advance, and make sure you know all the intricacies of your thesis and reasons to all the research experiments you conducted.

2. Attend Presentations by Other Candidates

Look out for open dissertation presentations at your university. In fact, you can attend open dissertation presentations at other universities too. Firstly, this will help you realize how thesis defense is not a scary process. Secondly, you will get the tricks and hacks on how other researchers are defending their thesis. Finally, you will understand why dissertation defense is necessary for the university, as well as the scientific community.

3. Take Enough Time to Prepare the Slides

Dissertation defense process harder than submitting your thesis well before the deadline. Ideally, you could start preparing the slides after finalizing your thesis. Spend more time in preparing the slides. Make sure you got the right data on the slides and rephrase your inferences, to create a logical flow to your presentation.

4. Structure the Presentation

Do not be haphazard in designing your presentation. Take time to create a good structured presentation. Furthermore, create high-quality slides which impresses the committee members. Make slides that hold your audience’s attention. Keep the presentation thorough and accurate, and use smart art to create better slides.

5. Practice Breathing Techniques

Watch a few TED talk videos and you will notice that speakers and orators are very fluent at their speech. In fact, you will not notice them taking a breath or falling short of breath. The only reason behind such effortless oratory skill is practice — practice in breathing technique.

Moreover, every speaker knows how to control their breath. Long and steady breaths are crucial. Pay attention to your breathing and slow it down. All you need I some practice prior to this moment.

6. Create an Impactful Introduction

The audience expects a lot from you. So your opening statement should enthrall the audience. Furthermore, your thesis should create an impact on the members; they should be thrilled by your thesis and the way you expose it.

The introduction answers most important questions, and most important of all “Is this presentation worth the time?” Therefore, it is important to make a good first impression , because the first few minutes sets the tone for your entire presentation.

7. Maintain Your Own List of Questions

While preparing for the presentation, make a note of all the questions that you ask yourself. Try to approach all the questions from a reader’s point of view. You could pretend like you do not know the topic and think of questions that could help you know the topic much better.

The list of questions will prepare you for the questions the members may pose while trying to understand your research. Attending other candidates’ open discussion will also help you assume the dissertation defense questions.

8. Practice Speech and Body Language

After successfully preparing your slides and practicing, you could start focusing on how you look while presenting your thesis. This exercise is not for your appearance but to know your body language and relax if need be.

Pay attention to your body language. Stand with your back straight, but relax your shoulders. The correct posture will give you the feel of self-confidence. So, observe yourself in the mirror and pay attention to movements you make.

9. Give Mock Presentation

Giving a trial defense in advance is a good practice. The most important factor for the mock defense is its similarity to your real defense, so that you get the experience that prepares for the actual defense.

10. Learn How to Handle Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. However, it is important to carry on. Do not let the mistakes affect your thesis defense. Take a deep breath and move on to the next point.

11. Do Not Run Through the Presentation

If you are nervous, you would want to end the presentation as soon as possible. However, this situation will give rise to anxiety and you will speak too fast, skipping the essential details. Eventually, creating a fiasco of your dissertation defense .

12. Get Plenty of Rest

Out of the dissertation defense preparation points, this one is extremely important. Obviously, sleeping a day before your big event is hard, but you have to focus and go to bed early, with the clear intentions of getting the rest you deserve.

13. Visualize Yourself Defending Your Thesis

This simple exercise creates an immense impact on your self-confidence. All you have to do is visualize yourself giving a successful presentation each evening before going to sleep. Everyday till the day of your thesis defense, see yourself standing in front of the audience and going from one point to another.

This exercise takes a lot of commitment and persistence, but the results in the end are worth it. Visualization makes you see yourself doing the scary thing of defending your thesis.

If you have taken all these points into consideration, you are ready for your big day. You have worked relentlessly for your PhD degree , and you will definitely give your best in this final step.

Have you completed your thesis defense? How did you prepare for it and how was your experience throughout your dissertation defense ? Do write to us or comment below.

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How To Successfully Defend Your PhD Thesis

November 18, 2022

October 14, 2022

Donna Kjellander

It is no secret that the process of defending a PhD thesis can be daunting. For many of us, it is the first time we have had to stand up in front of a group of people and defend our work. And, to make things worse, the process is often shrouded in mystery, with little guidance provided on what to expect or how to prepare. So, how can you defend your PhD thesis successfully? In this article, we will provide some tips and advice on how to make the most of your thesis defense . First, it is important to understand the purpose of the thesis defense. The defense is not an opportunity for your examiner to catch you out or trip you up. Rather, it is an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you have done your research and that you understand your topic. Second, you should remember that the defense is not a test of your intelligence or your ability to memorize facts. There is no need to try to impress your examiner with your knowledge. Instead, focus on being clear and concise in your presentation. Third, be prepared to answer questions. Your examiner will likely ask you questions about your research and your findings. Be prepared to explain your work in detail and to provide evidence to support your claims. Fourth, do not be afraid to ask for help. If you are struggling to understand a question or you are not sure how to answer, ask for clarification from your supervisor or another member of your research team. Finally, relax and enjoy the process. Defending your PhD thesis can be a stressful experience, but it is also an opportunity to showcase your hard work and to receive feedback from your peers.

A scholarly thesis defense is a forum where a student presents his or her paper, as well as defends his or her thesis topic before an audience of professors. Students must then answer all of the lecturers’ questions. Students are required to leave the room after the professors have reviewed the thesis and decide whether or not it is ready to be published, or if changes must be made. Your thesis is your final piece of work in the academic world. It is critical that you are well-prepared and that you have outlined your plans. In the same way that your thesis defense is structured, your thesis defense is structured in the same way. Your thesis will be signed and published if the panel is satisfied with it.

All of the disciplines covered in a thesis defense are included in a specific format. Each thesis defense will be different depending on the technicality of your paper and the type of degree you pursue. Take these steps to help you overcome thesis defense anxiety by following these tips.

It is usually quite difficult, even if the argument does not require formalization. Many students make the mistake of thinking about the type of thesis they’re going to write when selecting one. Only process X can be defended if your true thesis is of the previous form, i.e., if your real thesis is based on a previous form.

What Does It Mean To Defend A Phd Thesis?

defend thesis phd

Because the paper has already been evaluated, defending a thesis is almost always a formality. During a defense, the thesis committee will conduct a series of questions about the thesis. The questions are typically open-ended and require the student to consider the implications of their answers.

An academic paper’s thesis is a brief summary of a theoretical or creative concept submitted as a textual document. A thesis is a longer document prepared by a graduate student that is typically referred to as a research paper. You must be able to present your arguments persuasively if you are to successfully defend your thesis. It’s a good idea to do a few mock presentations to ensure that your presentation skills are objectively evaluated and critiqued. By delivering your thesis to colleagues or trusted friends, you can receive feedback that will help you improve your presentation skills. You must be able to anticipate the types of questions that will be asked if you want to succeed in this section of the presentation.

What Does Mean Defense Thesis?

What is thesis defense? Scholars’ thesis defenses , as the name implies, allow students to present their papers to a panel of professors before answering questions about the paper. Following that, the student will be required to give answers to all of the lecturers’ questions.

Phd Students: Theses Vs. Doctoral Capstones

doctoral dissertations are a comprehensive, original piece of work that demonstrates your understanding of the material you have studied. Depending on the program, it may be a book, a web-based presentation, or a combination of these. Students with doctoral degrees in business, engineering, or law may require a capstone project. Your doctoral project will serve as a culmination of what you have learned throughout your studies. A thesis, in addition to being required for professional doctorates , is commonplace in doctoral programs in the humanities and social sciences. A thesis is an important part of your academic record because it demonstrates that you put in the effort to write a well-researched paper. So, if you want to earn a PhD in humanities or social science, it’s always a good idea to decide on a project that’s going to show you know what you’ve studied. In addition, thank your committee members and graduate advisor for assisting you in your studies.

How Do You Structure A Phd Defense?

defend thesis phd

Candidates in a campaign defense must answer four questions: the first, they introduce themselves, then they present a summary of their work, interrupted by committee questions, and finally they answer. At the conclusion of the meeting, the committee meets privately to discuss the presentation and dissertation.

When your research study is evaluated by academic professionals , you may be required to defend it in a thesis defense or thesis submission. The committee that will serve as your research thesis’s adviser is one of the most important decisions a student will have to make. An outside expert (a former professor or academic mentor) may be allowed to serve on your committee at some universities. It is not as difficult as submitting your thesis shortly before the deadline to defend your thesis. Create a structured presentation and make high-quality slides on your own. Maintain a thorough and accurate presentation and use appropriate art to create better slides. Re-examine your slides to see if the data is correct and if any errors have occurred.

It is critical to practice the mock defense in the same way that you would practice your actual defense in order to develop the skills that will allow you to face it in the real world. You have to be able to focus and fall asleep as early as possible if you are going to a big event the next day. By practicing your presentation each evening before going to bed, you can be sure it will be successful. Have you completed your thesis defense? If so, what should you do next? How should I prepare for GATE? Please contact us by writing to us or leaving a comment below.

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  1. Preparing to defend your thesis from home

    In this presentation, a recent psychology doctoral student that completed a remote defense, a current dean of psychology, and APA’s Office of Graduate and Postgraduate Education and Training, share how to prepare for and complete your thesis or dissertation defense remotely.

  2. 13 Tips to Prepare for Your PhD Dissertation Defense

    Defending a thesis largely serves as a formality because the paper will already have been evaluated. During a defense, a student will be asked questions by members of the thesis committee. Questions are usually open-ended and require that the student think critically about his or her work.

  3. How To Successfully Defend Your PhD Thesis

    Defending your PhD thesis can be a stressful experience, but it is also an opportunity to showcase your hard work and to receive feedback from your peers. A scholarly thesis defense is a forum where a student presents his or her paper, as well as defends his or her thesis topic before an audience of professors.

  4. Thesis Services

    Thesis-writing can be a time-consuming process. Sometimes, you just need that extra bit of support to deal with the pressure of school and performing well. You can sign up for the services of thesis writing companies to give you the helping hand you need. There are some excellent thesis writing companies out there. Jonh Max