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Where Can I Get Help Writing My Thesis Online?
You’ve spent years preparing for your master’s degree or PhD. You’ve read, studied and spent hours of time and energy writing papers. Now you’ve arrived at the culmination of all this effort: writing your thesis. There are plenty of compelling stories about the time and energy that students have spent drafting their dissertations and theses.
The good news is that you’re not alone. While you certainly don’t want to hire someone to write your thesis for you, which goes against most institution policies and puts your academic integrity at risk, you can get plenty of help with certain aspects of your thesis online. Whether you’re looking for a little guidance or extensive assistance, various services can make writing or editing your thesis go smoothly.
One of the greatest challenges of writing your thesis can be juggling your family or job responsibilities with your studies. The time that writing takes can add another layer of obligation to your already-packed schedule. Dissertation Editor is a company whose founder is a PhD-educated writer and professor, and it promises to help you complete your thesis or dissertation on time and in compliance with your university’s rules and regulations.
Dissertation Editor’s primary function is to guide you along in the writing process and provide a helping hand in understanding everything you need to take care of. It places you with a writer who specializes in your area of study, and this individual can help you organize and analyze your research while making sure that your thesis fits your writing style and personality. This company also specializes in helping with any statistical analysis that you use in your thesis.
If you’re concerned about using a service to help you write your thesis because you think it’ll be obvious that you hired help, don’t worry. Thesis Helpers puts its team of experienced writers to work for you to help you craft a thesis that finishes your degree on a high note. No matter what level of help you need, from narrowing down a topic to advanced editing and proofreading, they’re available to help.
The writers have advanced degrees in their areas of expertise, and one of the best things about Thesis Helpers is that it gives you ultimate say in the final product of your thesis. This company can help you with revisions and additional research, and you can rest assured that your thesis will meet anti-plagiarism standards.
Sometimes when you’re writing a thesis or dissertation, you can get stuck on one section or chapter. You may not need assistance writing the whole thing, but getting some help with the exact portion you’re struggling with can come in handy. That’s one of the strengths of using Best Dissertation . You don’t have to rely on it for help with your entire thesis if it’s not what you need.
Like most of the top thesis-assistance services, Best Dissertation employs writers with advanced degrees who specialize in various fields of study. What truly sets this company apart is the live support that it offers any time of the day or night. It claims to take the stress and strain out of writing your dissertation or thesis.
While some companies place a premium on helping you get your thesis written, others emphasize the editing and proofreading process. If you don’t need help with writing but need a hand with proofreading and editing, Scribbr is a good option for you. Its editors can help you get a grasp on the grammar and tone that are appropriate for academic writing.
Scribbr doesn’t just provide boilerplate feedback that you can find anywhere. It offers personalized feedback aimed at helping you become a better writer in the long run. You can even see examples of how its editors work by looking at the company’s website.
My Assignment Help
Writing a thesis has its own challenges that other academic writing simply doesn’t, which is why the team at My Assignment Help offers its particular brand of expertise. If you need assistance with a dissertation or thesis at the PhD or master’s level, its writers have the level of education and experience to help you write an expertly crafted and edited thesis.
My Assignment Help prides itself on hiring subject matter experts, meaning you can pair up with a helper who already has an advanced degree in your field. They understand the nuances of academic writing that are specific to your area of study, and they can provide advice on everything from making your abstract more unique to crafting a thought-provoking conclusion.
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What is a Thesis Defense?
If you're researching a master's degree, you'll likely come across the phrase "thesis defense" among the list of requirements for earning an advanced degree. This formal-sounding requirement usually comes at the end of a graduate program. As a student seeking a master's degree, your thesis defines your educational experience at the university. Once you've completed all the necessary coursework and finished any internship or practicum experiences, you will be required to meet with a committee to defend your work. Details of a defense vary by college, but there are some general things to keep in mind as you embark on the graduate process.
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What is a Thesis?
In most schools, the thesis represents a student's collective understanding of his or her program and major. Students who major in English, for example, typically explore language, literary themes, a specific author's work or a similar topic when writing a thesis paper. Universities often require theses to consist of a prospectus, which outlines the intent of the paper, and a full-length paper treatment of a particular topic. In the natural sciences, theses might cover experiments or hypothetical situations in which a student researches certain elements of his or her field.
Theses projects demand full attention, and many schools require that students devote an entire semester to completing the research and resulting paper. Students work with a faculty committee or adviser on a close basis to make sure that the research stays on schedule. Depending on the level of degree, a thesis paper can be extremely complex.
Defending the Work
Once students submit their theses papers to the thesis committee, they will be assigned a date to defend their work. In this case, "defend" does not imply that a student will have to argue aggressively about his or her work. Rather, the thesis defense is designed so that faculty members can ask questions and make sure that students actually understand their field and focus area. 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. A defense might take only 20 minutes, or it might take an hour or more depending on the goal of the committee and the requirements of the program.
Preparation for Your Thesis Defense
Students have months to prepare for a defense . Schools want graduate candidates to be as prepared as possible when attending a defense, which means that neither the date nor faculty committee will be a surprise to the student. It's important to keep in mind that if you go into a defense with the right attitude and preparation, failing is nearly impossible. The committee wants to see how well you know your subject and your research. Nerves may get the better of you as you face unknown questions, but as with a job interview, practicing ahead of time will lead to a successful defense.
Facing a defense can be stressful, but think of it as an opportunity to share what you've learned. Remember that you aren't arguing points when you defend your work. Instead, a proper thesis defense gives you and your faculty advisers the chance to discuss your topic and research in greater detail.
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Thesis Defense – a guide to prepare best
How do you like this article, thesis defense | a guide to prepare best.
- 1 Definition: Thesis Defense
- 3 Before the Thesis Defense
- 4 What happens in a Thesis Defense?
- 5 What to include?
- 6 Tools for Thesis Defense
- 7 Thesis Defense Anxiety
- 8 Manage Thesis Defense Anxiety
- 9 In a Nutshell
Definition: Thesis Defense
A thesis defense is an act of presenting your work to a panel of professors so they can grade your presentation abilities. In retrospect, the argument is essential to ascertain that you understood the topic. You have to hand in your paper first so that the lecturer can grade it before you appear for the defense.
As a university student, you need to hand in a high-quality thesis paper and defend it before a panel of professors. So what is this that takes place during a thesis defense? Read along to find out.
What is a thesis defense?
A scholarly thesis defense is a forum that allows students to present their paper’s contents and defend their thesis topic before a panel of professors. The student is then required to answer all questions asked by the lecturers. At the end, the student is required to leave the room whilst the professors decide whether the thesis is ready to be published, or if it needs corrections.
How long is a thesis defense?
There is no general length for a thesis defense. The defense of a master’s thesis will take longer than the defense of a bachelor’s thesis. You will need to fit in an introduction , a literature review, your findings and even more into the time frame for your thesis defense, so it’s important that you’re well prepared. All in all, it depends on your paper and your academic field. Usually the thesis defense will last between one and two hours, but it also could be less than one hour.
What is the oral defense of a thesis?
Oral defense is simply another name for your thesis defense. If you’ve completed your thesis, you are required to defend it in front of a panel of professors. It is designed so that the committee can ensure that the students completely understand their thesis topic . The oral thesis defense is an examination of a completed body of work. Students will be assigned a date to defend their thesis.
What happens after the thesis defense?
After your thesis defense, you will be told to leave the room whilst the panel discusses your results. There are normally 2 outcomes. You may need to make changes to your thesis’ formatting or content. If this is the case, don’t stress! You’re able to try the thesis defense again once you’ve incorporated any required changes. The preferred outcome is that the panel is happy with your thesis and it’s then ready to be signed and published.
What defines a good thesis defense?
The thesis defense is the final step for your academic work. It’s important that you’re prepared and you’ve outlined what you’re going to say in each section of the defense. You need to know your thesis statement better than the back of your hand, otherwise you risk being sidetracked. Just like your thesis itself, your thesis defense has a specific structure. You can read more about this further on in the article. Try and prepare yourself for the potential types of questions that the professors will ask you so that you don’t have to think about your answers on the spot.
Before the Thesis Defense
Before the day of the thesis defense, the qualifying students receive a timetable that shows the chronology of how the day will be. You are required to keep time, or else you will have to wait until the next allocated defense to present your paper. To qualify as a defending student, you have to hand in your paper at least one month before the thesis defense date.
What happens in a Thesis Defense?
Once you get to the hall, you need to introduce yourself and your topic, then present your paper to the lecturers. The professors will allocate you ¾ of the allotted time for the thesis defense. The remaining time is used up in the question and answer forum. Prepare yourself to answer several questions, such as:
- Your plans after completing the research
- The limitations you faced
- Things that you would change if given a chance
- How you chose your target audience
- How you intend to further your study on the subject
- The reasons for choosing your topic
- The most significant deductions you learned from the survey
- Reasons for choosing your research methodology, etc.
In some cases, the board may ask you to summarize your deductions from the study. The questions asked are not standard, which means you have to be thoroughly prepared to answer whatever the panel throws your way during the thesis defense. Other things that take place during the thesis defense include:
- Deliberations – At this point, the board of lecturers will ask you to leave the room as they deliberate on your thesis defense performance. They will then decide whether you move to the next level or you will defend again.
- Verdict – Finally, the team will invite you back in and tell you how you performed in the thesis defense. These panel members may ask you to make a few corrections before you can go ahead and publish your paper. You have to present your corrections to your facilitator, who will then give you the go-ahead to publish.
- Signing – The members will then sign your document to ascertain that you were part of the thesis defense team on the selected date.
How much time does a Thesis Defense take and how many people should be in the room?
During a thesis defense, each student appears before the panel individually. The facilitators will ask you questions concerning your topic to see if you fully grasped the concept. Each thesis defense will vary from the other depending on the technicality of your paper and the kind of degree you are pursuing.
- Undergraduate degree – Your panel may include at least three lecturers from your faculty. Additionally, the defense may last up to one hour.
- Masters degree – You get to interact with four professors at this level, and each student is allotted 1½ hours to present and answer questions.
- Ph.D. degree – Considering that this is the highest education level, five professors avail themselves to vet you. More so, you may have to engage them for two hours.
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What to include?
A thesis defense follows a particular format, which cuts across all types of degrees, which is:
- Introduction – Explain the need for this study
- Literature review – Explain what other scholars have found on the subject
- Research methodology – What research method did you use, and why did you use it?
- Findings and discussions – In your research, what were the key deductions that you came upon?
- Implications, limitations, suggestions, and conclusion – Here, you have to exhaust the setbacks you encountered during the study, the consequences that your target audience will face if they do not follow the deductions, and then finally sum up the discussions.
Tools for Thesis Defense
Considering that a thesis defense may take you at least 45 minutes to present, it is essential to make the presentation lively. So, you can incorporate a slide show and use images to make it less wordy. Bullet points also make the text easier to digest as opposed to a block of text. So, a laptop and a projector will help you ace your presentation.
Thesis Defense Anxiety
Standing before a panel of people waiting to hear how you conducted your research can be intimidating. This is especially so considering that you will be standing before a group of professors, who you believe to be superior to you in regards to the topic knowledge. More so, if you are not familiar with public speaking, it is easy to develop stage fright while defending.
Manage Thesis Defense Anxiety
In case you find yourself fidgeting before you begin presenting, use the following tips to help you get your composure back.
- If you have a problem with eye-balling the lecturers, look at the tips of their foreheads instead.
- Take a few seconds to breathe in and out so you can stabilize your speech if you begin to stammer.
- Go into the room with a positive mind, knowing that you will do your best.
- Most importantly, rehearse your thesis defense severally before the D-day.
In a Nutshell
So, there you have it. These tips should help you present your thesis defense and ace it. Remember that:
- You should present facts that are in the paper. Do not add any new information
- Make the thesis defense as enjoyable as possible
- Arrive early enough
- Do not exceed your allocated time
- Confidence goes a long way
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What Does it Mean to Defend a Thesis?
If you are in the process of researching or writing a thesis, you are probably aware that defending a thesis will be an integral component of completing the process. While you may be familiar with the phrase “defend your thesis,” this does not mean that you fully understand what this process will entail. Below you will find a brief summation of what a thesis is as well as what it means to successfully defend a thesis.
The Thesis-A Brief Overview
Although broadly defined, a thesis is basically a brief summary of a theory or idea that is submitted in the form of a textual document, such as an academic paper. While research papers and argumentative essays will typically contain a thesis statement, the term “thesis” generally refers to a longer document that is prepared by a graduate-level student. In these cases, the thesis can be a precursor to graduation. Yet another factor you can consider to gain clarity regarding what constitutes a thesis is the difference between a thesis and a dissertation. The thesis is typically the final aspect of attaining a master’s degree while individuals who complete a dissertation do so to obtain a doctoral degree.
Defending a Thesis-The Basics
Individuals who write a graduate-level thesis will almost always be required to defend a thesis. While the requirements for this process will typically vary from institution to institution, defending the thesis generally incorporates presenting your main argument to an academic faculty and supporting your primary points with clear, convincing logic that lends credence to the fundamental concepts being advanced within the body of the work. For example, if an individual completes a thesis arguing that meat consumption is unethical, she or he might present arguments pertaining to the cruel abuse animals are subjected to in farms or factories to legitimate the claim.
Getting It Right-Components To Success
In order to make the process of defending your thesis as successful as possible, the following components of the endeavor are often emphasized:
In order to successfully defend a thesis, you need to be able to present your arguments effectively. To accomplish this objective, you should practice and attain feedback regarding your presentation strengths and weaknesses. In many cases, a learning institution will offer free workshops designed to help students enhance their presentation skills. These workshops can provide you with feedback on things such as the overuse of filler words like “um.”
The Dry Run
To ensure that your presentation skills can be objectively analyzed and critiqued by others, it’s a good idea to do a dry run. By delivering your thesis to colleagues or trusted friends, you can obtain feedback that helps you improve upon your presentation abilities. To accomplish this objective, the dry run audience needs to be proficient in:
• offering feedback regarding the effectiveness and coherence of your presentation • asking questions you haven’t considered yet • asking you questions which you think an examining committee might ask • providing you with feedback regarding your presentation skills in terms of any ineffective physical or verbal behaviors you may be participating in • offering feedback regarding which aspects of the presentation were strong, coherent, convincing, or otherwise effective
When you defend your thesis, examiners will ask questions based on the information you present. To ensure that you perform well during this portion of the presentation, it is important that you try to anticipate the types of questions that will be asked . For example, if you are defending a thesis regarding why meat consumption is unethical, an examiner might ask you whether the presence of humane factory farms delegitimate your primary arguments. By anticipating the questions that examiners are likely to ask, you gain the opportunity to formulate clear, articulate responses that will strengthen your presentation.
While there are several aspects of graduate-level learning that can facilitate personal growth and intellectual development, defending a thesis can be particularly effective in generating these outcomes. Now that you have a basic understanding of what defending a thesis involves and how to do it well, you can move forward with confidence in the completion of this academic project.
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How to: Defend Your Dissertation (like a Superstar) in 10 Easy Steps
Of all the academic things I turned out to be good at, defending my dissertation is perhaps the most surprising. I was not awesome (to put it mildly) at the oral defence portion of my comprehensive exams, and I’ve had at least one job interview where I bumbled questions like a nervous wreck. But I KILLED my dissertation defence. Best people ever saw-level killed it. And now that it’s been six months and I’ve got some perspective on it, it’s time to share my pearls of wisdom so that you too can have the snake fight of your life.
(Caveat: I’m in the humanities, so this advice might not exactly apply to people in other fields. You know what the deal is in your discipline, so adapt as necessary.)
1. Put it in Context
We hear about this mysterious, terrifying thing called the dissertation defence all the way through our PhDs, but without real context. It’s not the same as a qualifying exam, or even as a proposal defence. Is it like a chalk talk or a job talk? Is it really like McSweeney’s snake fight? And what do people mean by defend–is that just a euphemism for poking holes and grilling me until I cry?
As a humanities PhD, the best advice I got was to think of the defence as a meeting with a book publisher who you might want to publish your academic monograph, and who wants to know more about the project. And that editor (a.k.a. your committee) is going to ask you to explain and expand on your choices (that is, defend them) so that they can understand this project and its contribution to knowledge in your field. Why did you make the methodological and theoretical choices you did? Why did you choose the parameters you did for this study? What made you want to pursue this research in the first place? How is this work different from the work other people in your field are doing, and why? What’s the most important contribution to knowledge this research makes?
2. Know the Boundaries
The defence is, first and foremost, about the work your committee has on the table in front of them. It is about defending and justifying the choices you made in doing that research, and just that research. Don’t worry too much about questions that take you outside of your project. Those might come up, mostly in the context of how this research fits into and contributes to your field more broadly, but 90% of your discussion is going to be about the work you did and how and why you did it the way you did. Focus your preparation on your dissertation–on knowing it well, on being able to explain and justify your choices, on being able to identify its limits–and not on trying to know everything about your field that an examiner could possibly ask you.
3. Set the Terms
In many fields, an opening presentation at the defence is mandatory. In some, like mine, it’s optional. Do one. The opening presentation is your opportunity to set the terms of discussion in your defence, to frame the conversation in a way that works for you. Your examiners, especially your external, will have questions prepared but the presentation is a golden opportunity to set the terms of engagement. Preparing the opening talk is also one of the best ways to prepare for the defence, because it forces you to see and talk about the big picture of your project before you delve into the nitty-gritty of preparing answers to specific questions.
If you’re working in a lab, ask your recently graduated labmates or the new postdoc if they would share their presentation. In the humanities, you might find a colleague who is willing to share their script (or slides, if they had them). I found this one a good starting point.
Another way you can set the terms of engagement for your defence is to have a say in where it happens. Because I worked in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at my university, I knew what rooms were typically used for defences, and I knew about ones that were available but rarely used and SO COOL. So, I decided to defend at Hogwarts, a.k.a. the York Room.
4. Know your Audience The questions your examiners are going to ask you don’t need to be a mystery. They are people with specific interests and biases. Happily, there’s lots of evidence out there–in the form of their scholarship and public writing–that can give you insight into what those are. Read a bunch of stuff written by your external examiner, and refresh yourself on the work of your committee members. Identify the places where their ideas conflict with yours, what is of significant interest to them that intersects with (or didn’t get much time in) your work, where your work significantly overlaps. And learn what you can about your external as a person–is s/he prickly or friendly? is s/he defensive or open to being challenged? what does she care about as a researcher? Given the size of our academic networks, there’s a good likelihood that you or your supervisor knows someone who knows your external well–talk to them!
5. Fill the Bank
This one is both the easiest and the hardest: find a useful list of common defence questions for your discipline, and prepare answers to them. Use what you’ve learned about your defence committee, and the framework you prepared in developing your opening presentation, to guide your answers. Don’t be afraid to research your answers a bit. And then review those answers a bunch before the defence. Make your labmate/partner/cat listen to you deliver those answers out loud. (I drove my husband a bit crazy with this, as I spent the weeks before my defence constantly monologuing about my research. But it worked!) You should also ask your supervisor and other committee members to share with you, to the extent that they can, the areas of your work on which you should focus your preparation.
Doing this works. There were almost no questions that I hadn’t anticipated in advance, and I pulled answers to some of the trickier ones almost verbatim from my mental bank of prepared responses. Those were the answers that most impressed my committee. The one I personally liked the best answered a challenging question from my supervisor about an unusual and often-denigrated approach I take in my research by pointing out, with specific examples, that her widely acclaimed work also sometimes takes the same approach, just without directly acknowledging it. My preparation and knowledge of my committee paid off–I was sure she was going to ask me some version of that question, and I prepared a strong answer that directly referenced her own scholarship.
6. Know to Stop
It’s two days before your defence. You’ve prepared your statement. You’ve anticipated the questions your committee will ask and you’ve practiced your answers. You feel confident in your ability to defend the choices you made in conducting this research.
Time to stop.
There’s nothing more you can do. It’s time to give your brain a rest and be confident in not only your preparation but in the years of work you did to get to this point.
7. Choose your Gear
You can, however, choose your clothes and the other things you’re going to bring. The defence outfit is crucial, and it must meet three key standards:
- It must make you look like a colleague: like a fellow academic, not like a graduate student.
- It must be utterly and totally comfortable. If any part of your outfit pinches or rubs or needs adjusting, chuck it–your clothes cannot be a distraction.
- It must make you feel AWESOME.
- a bottle of water
- paper and a pen for writing down notes (you can also buy yourself a little time in answering questions by writing them down)
- a copy of your dissertation with the key sections you might want to refer to — methods, results, a key experiment or analysis — flagged
- anything else your department or supervisor tells you that you must bring — it can vary
- a person or people (if you can and want to) — STEM defences are almost always public, but humanities ones are often in principle but not in practice. My partner attended my defence, and it was great. He’s been there for all the rest of the process, and I wanted him there for the last part. (One of my committee members also used to be his babysitter, so it was a bit of a reunion.)
8. Get your Mind Right
Mindset plays a major part in determining how you’re going to do during your defence. I knew that my external examiner had a reputation for being prickly. I knew that my supervisor was a superstar who can theorize me under the table any day. But I decided to frame the defence in my mind as a rare and valuable opportunity to spend a few hours discussing my research with six brilliant people who were going to help me make it better. I was going to be happy and excited to be there and delighted to answer questions that were going to help me think about my project more deeply.
I also — as you should — figured out where the room was, got there early, got everything set up, and was calm, cool, and collected by the time the rest of the committee arrived. The scientific validity of power poses is hotly contested , but they work for me, so I did a bunch. You do you.
9. Have Fun
All my preparation, practical and mental, totally worked. I had a TOTAL BLAST at my defence. As my committee came into the room and we started talking, the atmosphere became more and more celebratory–a tone I set. Between my determination to have a good time and my preparation, I got my brain to interpret all questions as helpful and supportive, even when they were hard and prickly, and answering them was no.big.deal. when I came at them from that place. You too can have a good time at your defence, if you’re prepared and you come at it as a discussion that’s intended to make you and your research better, not as a moment that’s intended to trip you up, or make you look stupid, or poke holes in your work. 10. Drink the Champagne
You deserve it! Congratulations!
8 thoughts on “ how to: defend your dissertation (like a superstar) in 10 easy steps ”.
Fantastic advice in here! I did a lot of these things too (especially the rehearsal – I even practiced my opening talk in front of photographs of my committee), and it really helped.
What a fantastic idea to practice your opener in front of a mock committee of photographs! (I'm going to add that idea to the post and credit you, if you don't mind!)
This advice is terrific! I think most of it applies to a master's defense. Your Fill the Bank section is spot on — it worked for me too. Talked at home about my defense so much my spouse could have answered most of the questions that were asked. But it paid off.
This is fabulous advice. I especially agree with bringing in a marked up copy of your diss. Often questions are about specific sentences and having an annotated diss with you can help you quickly contextualize that sentence. The one thing I don't agree with is #4. yes, know your audience but I don't really think you can necessarily predict questions based on publications. I have seen candidates shoot themselves in the foot by assuming that a question comes from a specific position and not actually listening to the question itself. Answer the question being asked, if possible. One thing you don't mention is what to do if you draw a blank. This happens in most defences at one point or another (and really often in job interviews). It is ok to say “I am drawing a blank, can you please expand on your question.” During that time, a spark will go off. You can also speak back to the question later in the defence if it finally comes through then. Great post!
Thanks, Laura! I totally agree with you that you need to be careful about answering the question as posed and not making assumptions, but if only for one's peace of mind, I still think it's useful to familiarize oneself with your committee's typical approaches and preoccupations.
Great advice re: what to do if you draw a blank! I'll update and credit you for the suggestion.
Thank you for the great advice, Melissa! I referred to this post while preparing for my PhD defence and it went swimmingly. I’ve passed on your tips in a blog post for the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research ( http://www.ccghr.ca/5-resources-students-young-professionals-global-health/ ) as I think many graduate students in our network will benefit from them as well!
Thanks, Stephanie! So glad to hear it.
- Pingback: 5 “How To” Resources for Students and Young Professionals in Global Health - Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research - CCGHR|CCRSM
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How to prepare an excellent thesis defense
- What is a thesis defense?
If you're about to complete, or have ever completed a graduate degree, you have most likely come across the term "thesis defense". In many countries, to finish a graduate degree, you have to write a thesis. In general, a thesis is a large paper based on a topic relating to your field of study. Once you hand in your thesis, you will be assigned a date to defend your work.
Your thesis defense meeting usually consists of you and a committee, consisting of two or more professors working in your program. It may also include other people, like professionals from other colleges or those who are working in your field. During your thesis defense, you will be asked questions about your work. The main purpose of your thesis defense is for the committee to make sure that you actually understand your field and focus area.
The questions are usually open-ended and require the student to think critically about their work. Note that at the time of your thesis defense, your paper has already been evaluated. The questions asked are not designed so that you actually have to aggressively "defend" your work, often your thesis defense is more of a formality required so that you can get your degree.
- How long is a thesis defense?
How long your oral thesis defense is depends largely on the institution and requirements of your degree. It is best to consult your department or institution on this. In general, a thesis defense may take only 20 minutes, but it may also take two hours or more. This also depends on how much time is allocated to the presentation and questioning part. We will talk more about the different parts of a thesis defense below.
- What happens at a thesis defense?
First of all, be aware that a thesis defense varies from country to country. This is just a general overview, but a thesis defense can take many different formats in different countries. Some are closed, other are public defenses. Some take place with two, some with more examiners. The same goes for the length of your thesis defense, as mentioned above. So the most important first step for you is to clarify with your department what the structure of your thesis defense will look like. In general, this is what happens at a thesis defense:
You might have to give a presentation, often with Powerpoint, Google slides or Keynote slides. Make sure to prepare an appropriate amount of slides. A general rule is to use about 10 slides for a 20-minute presentation. But that also depends on your specific topic and the way you present. The good news is, there will be plenty of time ahead of your thesis defense to prepare your slides and practice your presentation alone and in front of friends or family.
You can prepare your slides by using information from your thesis' first chapter (the overview of your thesis) as a framework or outline. Substantive information in your thesis should correspond with your slides. Make sure your slides are of good quality - both as regards the integrity of the information, and the appearance of your slides. If you need more help with how to prepare your presentation slides, both the ASQ Higher Education Brief and James Hayton have good guidelines on the topic.
Questions from the committee
As mentioned earlier, the committee will ask questions about your work after you finished your presentation. The questions will most likely be about the core content of your thesis, like what you learned from the study you conducted, but also why you chose your topic or how it will contribute to the existing body of knowledge. You might also be asked to summarize certain findings. Read your full thesis in preparation of the questions, so you know what you have written about.
While you are reading in preparation, you can create a list of possible questions and try to answer them. You can foresee many of the questions you will get by simply spending some time rereading your thesis. In addition, this blog post from researchClue .com lists 25 common thesis/project defense questions and how you may approach to answer them.
- 6 tips to help you prepare for your thesis defense
When you start your graduate degree, the end of it seems so far away. But then it ends up coming faster than you thought. You hand in your thesis, which was a lot of work, and as a last step before you officially receive your degree, you have to master your thesis defense. Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your thesis defense.
1. Anticipate questions and prepare for them
We've mentioned it before but you can really prepare for most of the questions you will be asked. Read through your thesis and while you're reading it, create a list of possible questions. In addition, as you will know who will be on the committee, look at the academic expertise of the committee members. In what areas would they most likely be focused? If possible, sit at other thesis defenses with these committee members to get a feeling for how they ask and what they ask. As a graduate student, you should generally be adept at anticipating test questions, so use this advantage to gather as much information as possible before your thesis defense meeting.
2. Dress for success
Your thesis defense is a formal event, often the entire department or university is invited to participate. It signals a critical rite of passage for graduate students and faculty who have supported them throughout a long and challenging process. While most universities don't have specific rules on how to dress for that event, do regard it with dignity and respect. This one might be a no-brainer, but know that you should dress as if you were on a job interview or delivering a paper at a conference.
It might help you deal with your stress before your thesis defense to entrust someone with the smaller but important responsibilities of your thesis defense well ahead of schedule. This trusted person could be responsible for preparing the room of the day of defense, setting up equipment for the presentation or preparing and distributing handouts.
4. Have a backup plan
Technology is unpredictable. Life is too. There are no guarantees that your Powerpoint presentation will work at all or look the way it is supposed to do on the big screen. We've all been there. Make sure to have a plan B for these situations. Handouts can help when technology fails, or an additional fresh shirt for spilled coffee can save the day.
5. What to do when you don't know the answer
One of the scariest aspects of the defense is the possibility of being asked a question you can't answer. While you can prepare for some questions, you can never know exactly what the committee will ask. There will always be gaps in your knowledge. But your thesis defense is not about being perfect and knowing everything, it's about how you deal with challenging situations. You are not expected to know everything.
James Hayton writes on his blog that examiners will sometimes even ask questions they don't know the answer to, out of curiosity, or because they want to see how you think. While it is ok sometimes to just say "I don't know", he advises to try something like "I don't know, but I would think [...] because of x and y, but you would need to do [...] in order to find out". This shows that you have the ability to think as an academic.
6. Dealing with your nerves
You will be nervous. But the good news is - your examiners will expect you to be nervous. It is completely normal to be nervous. Being well prepared can help minimize your stress, but do know that your examiners have seen this many times before and are willing to help, by repeating questions for example if needed.
Two common symptoms of being nervous are talking really fast and nervous laughs. Try to slow yourself down, take a deep breath. Remember what feels like hours to you are just a few seconds in real life. Allow yourself to process the question, respond to it, and stop talking once you have responded. While a smile can often help dissolve a difficult situation, remember that nervous laughs can be irritating for your audience.
We all make mistakes and your thesis defense will most likely not be perfect. You are not expected to be perfect and the examiners already have plenty of experience with this and will guide you through it. Also remember that your thesis defense is often just a formality and the committee actually wants you to pass. If you are still nervous about your thesis defense, read this blog post by Dora Farkas at finishyourthesis.com . She debunks 5 common myths about thesis defenses and helps you see that your committee is not out to get you. 😉
- Frequently Asked Questions about preparing an excellent thesis defense
While most universities don't have specific rules on how to dress for that event, do regard it with dignity and respect. This one might be a no-brainer, but know that you should dress as if you were on a job interview or delivering a paper at a conference.
It is completely normal to be nervous. Being well prepared can help minimize your stress, but do know that your examiners have seen this many times before and are willing to help, by repeating questions for example if needed. Slow yourself down, and take a deep breath.
Your thesis defense is not about being perfect and knowing everything, it's about how you deal with challenging situations. James Hayton writes on his blog that it is ok sometimes to just say "I don't know", but he advises to try something like "I don't know, but I would think [...] because of x and y, you would need to do [...] in order to find out".
Your Powerpoint presentation can get stuck or not look the way it is supposed to do on the big screen. It can happen and your supervisors know it. In general, handouts can always save the day when technology fails.
Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your thesis defense:
- Anticipate questions and prepare for them
- Dress for success
- Have a backup plan (in case technology fails you)
- Deal with your nerves
- Related Articles
13 Tips to Prepare for Your PhD Dissertation Defense
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?
- Avoid popular and eminent faculty member
- Choose the one you know very well and can approach whenever you need them
- A faculty member whom you can learn from is apt.
- Members of the committee can be your future mentors, co-authors, and research collaborators. Choose them keeping your future in mind.
How to Prepare for 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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What is a Thesis Defense?
Completing a graduate degree in the United States often requires the creation of a thesis, and many schools also require that students go through a thesis defense. This gives you the chance to show that you know and fully understand your topic and all facts and ideas relating to your topic. Graduate schools often give students one year or more to write and work on their thesis paper or project. As you work on your thesis, you'll also want to give some thought to what happens when you defend it in front of others.
What is a Thesis?
The completion of a thesis is one of the last things that you will do in graduate school. Though some schools offer a non-thesis degree program, these programs often require that you spend even more time in school or in an internship or residency program. A thesis is generally a large paper that you write based on a topic relating to your field of study. Some schools let you create a thesis project in lieu of a paper. History majors might write papers on the historical ramifications of World War II, while an education major might complete a project on new teaching methods.
The Defense Process
Once you finish your thesis, you may attend a thesis defense meeting. This usually consists of you and two or more professors working in your program. It may also include professionals from other nearby colleges or those currently working in the field. They will look at your research and ask you a series of questions about your paper or project. You must fully answer those questions and demonstrate what you learned while completing your work. Most schools require that you finish defending your thesis before leaving with your degree.
Who is on the Panel?
The school can select anyone to appear on the panel, but colleges will usually not allow any professor who worked closely with you to take part in the defense. The advisor who approved your thesis topic and any professors who helped you cannot generally take part. If your topic covers multiple subjects, the university may ask professors from other departments to attend the session. For example, if you wrote a paper on how certain fashions appeared as the result of stock market crashes, professors working in the economics, history and fashion departments may work on the panel.
Types of Questions
According to James Hayton , a PhD holder, those on the defense panel will often ask you questions about the core content in your paper. If your paper focuses on alternative teaching methods, they might ask you how one method may impact scores on standardized tests. You can prepare yourself for those questions when you read through your thesis multiple times, create a list of possible questions and practice answering those questions. If you aren't sure how to respond to a specific question, think about how your research connects to the question and explain what you think is the right answer.
Your thesis is the culmination of your studies and should demonstrate some of the experience and skills you gained in that program. After writing your thesis, your college may require that you defend your work in front of a panel of experts and complete a thesis defense before graduating.
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The Dreaded Dissertation Defense, Defined
Doctoral learners are typically terrified of the proposal and dissertation defense – and rightly so! The dissertation defense is a defining moment of any doctorally prepared individual’s professional life.
At Grand Canyon University, learners in our doctoral degree programs will face two defenses: one for the proposal and one for the dissertation. The fear of facing a defense is primarily not knowing what to expect.
There are typically two main questioning themes by the dissertation committee . The first is to see if the learner has a thorough, grounded knowledge of the topic. The learner is, after all, an “expert” on the topic that has been researched, so the questions directed will test this understanding. The second line of questioning seeks to evaluate the learner’s ability to reason with and apply the knowledge acquired during the dissertation process.
Outlined below are some questions all doctoral learners can benefit from reviewing in preparation for a defense. Here is what your committee may ask you and why.
These questions are designed to test your knowledge on the research topic. These questions will determine what you know and what you do not know. This Socratic form of questioning will be direct, very systematically organized and based on concepts and principles of not just your research, but also the theories that form the framework of your research.
You will hear “why” and “how” questions and your answers must be thorough, succinct, and well-organized. Here are a few examples:
- Can you explain why…?
- Why did you present this concept this way?
- Your research presents a contradiction to X theory. Can you elaborate?
- How would you address the main limitations of your research?
Application and Reasoning
These questions are designed to help you apply and exceed the research topic. You will be expected to take the thinking in many complex directions, thereby showing a deeper understanding of the topic. You will be asked to make logical implications, address assumptions based on evidence and provide alternative points of view. Critical thinking and plausibility is being examined in this line of questioning.
- You spent years researching this topic. Why did you choose it?
- Why should the community/field care about it?
- Can you explain your contribution to the field?
The following questions are examples of what a dissertation committee may ask at a dissertation defense:
- Based on your findings, what will your next research project be?
- How would you build on this research?
- How could you improve your research skills?
- How can your research be used in practice?
- Looking back, what might you have done differently?
- What are the main weaknesses with what you did and why are they there?
- What have been the significant contributions of your research?
- Summarize your key findings.
- Comment on and justify your research methodology. Why have you done it this way? What are the alternatives to your approach?
- How has your thinking changed as a result of this research project?
- How have you evaluated your work?
- How do your contributions generalize?
- What surprises did you find in your study?
- What was the most challenging aspect of your research?
- Will your research change current thinking in the field? If so, how?
- How will you communicate your work to other scholars in your field?
- What advice would you give a learner who is starting the dissertation process and considering using the methodology you used?
- What are the broader implications of your research?
- What specific aspects of your findings can be taken to practice?
- Is there an alternative interpretation of your findings?
Remember, the role of the dissertation committee is to present a platform for you to share your research, not to make you defensive (even though you will be defending). This is your opportunity to shine as a scholar and be proud of your achievement as a doctoral learner. You will likely only defend a dissertation once – dress to impress, be prepared and present with confidence!
Grand Canyon University integrates the dissertation process throughout the doctoral program to help learners succeed in their doctoral journey. Visit our website to learn more about the College of Doctoral Studies .
More about Hazel:
Dr. Hazel Isaac-Smith is a senior research specialist for the Office of Dissertations, College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University. She has 15+ years of teaching and administrative experience in higher education. Dr. Isaac-Smith has a BSc in communicative disorders from Andrews University; BEd from the University of Toronto; MEd in special education from York University in Canada and PhD in emotional/behavioral disorders from Arizona State University.
Dr. Isaac-Smith has a passion for working with adult learners in higher education and brings substantial teaching experience, having taught students ranging from preschoolers to doctoral students. Her research interests lie in the field of linguistics, the pragmatics of language, and psycholinguistics. At Grand Canyon University, Dr. Isaac-Smith’s primary role has been to guide doctoral learners and their dissertation committee members to the successful completion of their dissertation journey.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.
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“This we’ll defend” is the official motto of the United States Army. It refers to the army’s primary purpose of defending the country as one. It dates back to before the American Revolutionary War.
A good thesis statement is a single sentence contained in the introduction of a paper that provides the reader with some idea of what the writer is trying to convey in the body of the paper. The thesis statement is a condensed summary of th...
You’ve spent years preparing for your master’s degree or PhD. You’ve read, studied and spent hours of time and energy writing papers. Now you’ve arrived at the culmination of all this effort: writing your thesis.
Rather, the thesis defense is designed so that faculty members can ask questions and make sure that students actually understand their field and focus area.
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One defense for this kind
It is not “mean” to ask “hard” questions. The intent is for the candidate and all the attendees to learn as much as possible about the study, the new knowledge
The defence is, first and foremost, about the work your committee has on the table in front of them. It is about defending and justifying the
Your thesis defense is a formal event, often the entire department or university is invited to participate. It signals a critical rite of passage for graduate
Dissertation defense or Thesis defense is an opportunity to defend your research study amidst the academic professionals who will evaluate of
During a thesis defense, you have to present your thesis and research work before the committee. The committee members will ask questions related to your work
Your thesis is the culmination of your studies and should demonstrate some of the experience and skills you gained in that program. After writing your thesis
Doctoral learners are typically terrified of the proposal and dissertation defense – and rightly so! The dissertation defense is a defining moment of any