Five Tips For Developing A Great Dissertation Defense

Preparing for a dissertation defense might be one of the most important and nerve-racking undertakings you will experience on your way towards earning a graduate degree. The defense presentation is the final step and requires a lot of time and energy in preparation. We understand that most students don’t really know where to begin because it is more often than not the first time they’ve had to do something like this. By consulting with top academic experts across a number of disciplines we’ve developed this helpful list of dissertation defense tips for you to try out:

Tip #1) Create a Detailed Defense Plan and Schedule

You have worked for several months on your dissertation and likely finished the project because you practiced great time management skills. Even though you might feel comfortable with the content of your dissertation, you should not refrain from creating a detailed plan and schedule to get ready your defense presentation. You will probably need a couple of weeks to prepare, but you might want to extend this time to three weeks to account for any unexpected obstacles.

Tip #2) Use the Dissertation to Build the Frame

You should take your completed document and use it to build the doctoral dissertation defense framework. Think of this as creating a new outline by extracting the essential components and main discussion points. Your presentation should last anywhere between 30 – 40 minutes, so distribute your time evenly across what you have done in your dissertation. The framework should be fluid so that you can make adjustments as you proceed through your preparation.

Tip #3) Practice Responses by Guessing Questions

A portion of your defense will be dedicated to direct responses to committee questions. There is no exact way of knowing how long this will take and what dissertation defense questions you will be asked. So it’s a great idea to over-prepare by considering what you know about each committee member’s area of expertise as well as what you know about open issues you might have left unanswered in your research. This is a lot of guesswork; but by making these guesses you are sure to avoid surprises.

Tip #4) Be Sure to Design an Interesting Presentation

How many times have you had to sit through a boring presentation in your academic career? You can see why it is essential you design a dissertation defense PowerPoint that is interesting and doesn’t put the committee or you to sleep. Don’t create too many slides and make sure each one you do create brings up a point that validates what you are stating.

Tip #5) Practice in Front of Your Academic Colleagues

Finally, spend the last few days practicing your presentation in front of your colleagues. Choose ones that are familiar with your topic – they’re the ones who are in the best position to give you valuable feedback. Once you get comfortable making your defense before them, you should have no trouble doing it in front of the review committee.

There are a ton of other useful resources to help with your PhD dissertation defense. It might be in your best interest to consult with a professional agency for additional assistance. The reward of earning your degree is just around the corner and you should use all the help you can get to ensure your dissertation defense presentation is delivered without a hitch.