Seven secrets [to] defending your dissertation successfully

When your committee members start interrogating your dissertation ideas, it’s helpful to arm yourself with the appropriate defences that will ensure a proper understanding of what you are trying to achieve. These are some tips from the experts:

  1. Get advice on what to expect
  2. Consult your professor or someone who has dealt with a dissertation defence before and ask them as many questions as you can think of. It’s all in the name of being prepared so that you pass this part of your dissertation process.

  3. Make sure your dissertation fits in with its field
  4. Relevance is very important. If your dissertation is in a category that doesn’t relate to its field, then it cannot be defended well. If you cover your bases here, you can answer any questions that may pop up with clarity so that they will be understood by your committee members.

  5. Ask yourself if your dissertation is clear
  6. If it’s clear to you, you will relay that clarity to those on your committee without any trouble. Anyone with pertinent questions will be satisfied with your answer if you speak with authority on every aspect. You can’t do that if you can’t make it clear on paper.

  7. Questions are good
  8. Welcome the questions that are posed to you at your defence. If you look at your committee like a bunch of interrogators, you won’t win their approval, but only make them sceptical. Try not to be too ‘defensive’ at your defence. You’re defending your topic, not yourself.

    Questions are asked so that the topic can be better understood. You want your committee members to understand the topic better, so welcome their questions without hesitation.

  9. Self-assurance and the right to write
  10. The golden rule is: BE PREPARED! Make sure you know your topic like the back of your hand. Don’t be caught off guard by any important questions. If you have an attitude of authority about your topic, you will remain calm and assertive during the whole process.

  11. Contribute something
  12. Show your committee how your dissertation contributes to your field of study. You want them to approve the topic based on how they and their colleagues will benefit from it.

  13. Working your committee
  14. Make sure your committee members have your dissertation way ahead of time. If they arrive at your defence without enough information, you’ll be wasting time answering irrelevant questions and blocking off the more important aspects of the meeting.

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