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How to prepare an excellent thesis defense

Thesis defence

What is a thesis defense?

How long is a thesis defense, what happens at a thesis defense, your presentation, questions from the committee, 6 tips to help you prepare for your thesis defense, 1. anticipate questions and prepare for them, 2. dress for success, 3. ask for help, as needed, 4. have a backup plan, 5. prepare for the possibility that you might not know an answer, 6. de-stress before, during, and after, frequently asked questions about preparing an excellent thesis defense, related articles.

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 .

A thesis is a large paper, or multi-chapter work, 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 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. By 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.

  • Check with your department about requirements and timing.
  • Re-read your thesis.
  • Anticipate questions and prepare for them.
  • Create a back-up plan to deal with technology hiccups.
  • Plan de-stressing activities both before, and after, your 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 about this. In general, a thesis defense may take only 20 minutes, but it may also take two hours or more. The length also depends on how much time is allocated to the presentation and questioning part.

Tip: Check with your department or institution as soon as possible to determine the approved length for 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. Some are closed, others are public defenses. Some take place with two committee members, some with more examiners.

The same goes for the length of your thesis defense, as mentioned above. 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, your thesis defense will include:

  • your presentation of around 20-30 minutes
  • questions from the committee
  • questions from the audience (if the defense is public and the department allows it)

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 that 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.

Tip: Practice delivering your thesis presentation in front of family, friends, or colleagues.

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 in terms of the integrity of the information and the appearance. 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.

The committee will ask questions about your work after you finish your presentation. The questions will most likely be about the core content of your thesis, such as what you learned from the study you conducted. They may also ask you to summarize certain findings and to discuss how your work will contribute to the existing body of knowledge.

Tip: Read your entire thesis in preparation of the questions, so you have a refreshed perspective on your work.

While you are preparing, 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.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your thesis defense:

You can absolutely 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, since 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 feel 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.

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 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
  • preparing and distributing handouts

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 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, and an additional clean shirt can save the day if you have a spill.

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.

You will be nervous. But your examiners will expect you 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. Dora Farkas at finishyourthesis.com notes that it’s a myth that thesis committees are out to get you.

Two common symptoms of being nervous are talking really fast and nervous laughs. Try to slow yourself down and take a deep breath. Remember what feels like hours to you are just a few seconds in real life.

  • Try meditational breathing right before your defense.
  • Get plenty of exercise and sleep in the weeks prior to your defense.
  • Have your clothes or other items you need ready to go the night before.
  • During your defense, allow yourself to process each question before answering.
  • Go to dinner with friends and family, or to a fun activity like mini-golf, after your defense.

Allow yourself to process each 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 not be perfect. However, careful preparation, mindfulness, and confidence can help you feel less stressful both before, and during, your defense.

Finally, consider planning something fun that you can look forward to after your defense.

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.

  • Dress for success.
  • Ask for help setting up.
  • Have a backup plan (in case technology fails you).
  • Deal with your nerves.

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25 Thesis/Dissertation Defense Questions

December 17, 2023

When you’re considering going to graduate school , or you’re about to defend your master’s thesis or PhD dissertation, chances are you’ve come across something called the thesis defense. The thesis defense is arguably one of the most fundamental steps to take in order to attain your graduate degree. Each university will have its own tailored expectations of the thesis defense. Yet, as a whole, the thesis defense is an opportunity for you to demonstrate in front of the committee the extensive research you’ve completed and the critical skills you’ve developed. Due to the critical nature of the various thesis defense questions/dissertation defense questions you’ll be asked, it’s best to be prepared and practice with other students. Try to even attend a thesis defense if you can. Overall, consider the thesis defense as a chance to showcase how you’ll best contribute to that academic field of research.

The thesis defense can range from anywhere between one to two hours, depending on your program. As a whole, you’ll present how you decided to choose this topic of research, what you discovered, and what those findings led you to realize. The committee – those overseeing and critiquing your thesis defense – will then ask you a series of thesis defense questions, as well as your written thesis because they’ll have already read it by then. In most cases, by the end of the questioning, the committee will either decide to approve your thesis or give you possible suggestions on how to reapproach your research.

How to best prepare for thesis defense questions

Much like preparing for the GRE or deciding what graduate program you wanted to apply to at the beginning of your graduate academic journey, familiarizing yourself with what to expect on the day of your thesis defense will only lighten the burden. Whether you’re a new master’s student or considering how to pursue a PhD , it’s important to know ahead of time how to best prepare for the thesis defense questions. If you’re getting ready to defend the master’s thesis or prepare for dissertation defense questions, see how you can answer the following thesis defense questions that might come your way on the day of the presentation.

1)  What does your research focus on?

Be ready to state right away the synopsis of your research. Although it may seem like a simple, straightforward question, the committee will be looking to see the terminology you use when describing the focus of your research.

2) What influenced you to research this topic?

The committee will be interested in knowing what influenced you to choose this specific topic of research. What motivated you? Shape your answer in a way that reflects the field of study your topic of interest is in and the issues that stood out to you.

3) What does your study encompass and cover?

Consider the parameters and scope of your research for your thesis defense. By defining and delineating the grounds that you covered with your research, you will inform the committee with a better understanding of how you decided to focus on your topic of interest.

Thesis Defense Questions (Continued)

4) what was the goal of your research.

This question will surface often whether you are defending your master’s thesis or preparing for the dissertation defense questions. It’s important to state what your thesis meant to achieve. Think of what the core focus of your thesis is, and state how that was the driving factor in your research.

5) What were your expectations going into this research?

Describe how your hypothesis was formed. Were there any things you had expected or any preconceived notions you had on this topic before you pursued this research? Where did these expectations come from? Did any previous research affect the way you approached your thesis defense as a whole?

Defending a Thesis (Continued)

6) what did you study that made you want to conduct this research project.

This is a great opportunity for you to show what literature you reviewed that led you to pursue the research. Be ready to discuss the literary review of what has already been contributed to this field of study. Reflect on the realizations made when confronting certain data and if it was feasible for you to conduct your research given the existing contributions. Examining this type of literary review will serve you well during the following thesis defense questions.

7)  Who is the targeted audience for this research?

It will be important to state who the targeted audience is, or what types of people will be affected by your research. Will these particular parties benefit from your research? How will they be affected? Consider not just the targeted audience, but also those in parallel groups who may be impacted by your findings.

8)  Why did you choose this title for your research? – thesis defense questions

The way you have named and titled your research will convey what you consider most important to the committee. What does your research try to explain in the given title? Is there a reason you chose the specific words in your title to convey a main point? The committee will want to see the intentionality of every word here and how it relates back to your research.

9)  How did you conduct your research questions and did your approach change?

While you were preparing and conducting your research, you might have found that your research questions were changing, depending on the sample you were studying. Oftentimes, if you are utilizing qualitative research methodology, the types of qualitative questions may change based on the answer. How did that change affect your research process? Did you have to shift your approach to the subject matter or reconsider focus groups?

10)  What impact does your research have on the existing literature?

Reflect on how your research made a contribution to the overall understanding of the field at hand. Think of why this was necessary and state that concisely. This will trickle into other thesis defense questions.

11)  Did you address any gaps in the field of your research?

Answering this thesis defense question will show how significant the findings of your research are. The goal of anyone’s research is to fill in the gaps of a field. Why did the pre-existing literature not suffice to address the focus of your research?

12)  What did you come across during your research?

It helps to have options of how you’ll convey this. Try to be prepared to summarize in detail, within a minute, what your findings were. Then see what you can paraphrase in 5 minutes. How about in 10 minutes? Doing so will assist you in identifying the most relevant piece of information based on how the committee asks you this thesis defense question.

13)  Did you find anything unexpected or surprising during your research process? – thesis defense questions

This would be a good opportunity for you to state how any surprises you came across helped you make certain decisions about your research. While you defend the master’s thesis and think of how you’ll prepare for the PhD dissertation defense questions, this is a “curveball” moment that demonstrates how you took charge of the challenge presented and continued your research despite what you had confronted.

14)  Under what parameters is your research valid?

Parameters were mentioned in question 3 above, but consider the specific conditions that would need to be in place for your findings to be valid. What are the elements that would have to be in place? Be ready to identify these during this thesis defense question.

15)  What were the challenges when conducting your research?

Were there any roadblocks you faced when gathering your data? Did you have to reconsider your research methodology at all? Identifying this will help the committee understand the direction and trajectory of your research.

16)  What were the challenges when working with your subject matter?

If you were interviewing people, did the focus groups not adhere to what you had asked them to do? Why? Walk the committee through your approach here.

17)  Why did you choose the research methodology that you chose?

While you’re defending the master’s thesis or answering dissertation defense questions, you’ll be asked specific questions about your research methodology. Was it qualitative? Quantitative? Why? What made you believe that this would be the most effective way to conduct your research?

18)  How did you form your hypothesis?

Tie back in your expectations for your research and consider what you thought the expected results would be for this thesis defense question. Were there any factors, both past or recent, that had helped shape your hypothesis?

19)  How did you gather the data to conduct your research and what sources did you use?

Recount what steps you took to decide how to access the data. Did certain libraries offer more resources? Was there any censorship that you came across that posed as a roadblock to collecting data?

20)  What are the practical implications of your research?

For both master’s and PhD students, this is always an important thesis defense question to keep in mind. In life outside of the academic institution, how will your research be of practical use to society? It’s a question that most graduate students ask about themselves before graduating, so it’s best to know how to answer this one about your research!

21)  How did you decide what samples to study in the research you found? What was your approach in using sample groups?

For example, if you used sample or focus groups, how did you go about selecting these groups? How did you get access to the data here? Don’t be hesitant to state the challenges you might have faced while doing so. As long as you frame it in a way that helps provide a more intricate portrait of the trajectory of your research, you’re on the right path.

22)  What are the independent and dependent variables in your research?

Use this thesis defense question to show how balanced your research methodology was by naming the different factors. How did the independent variables affect how the dependent variables changed?

Dissertation Defense Questions (Continued)

23)  considering your contribution to this field of research, where else would require further research what more needs to be done in this field.

As a master’s student defending your master’s thesis or as a PhD candidate preparing for your dissertation defense questions, you are already a researcher. And as a researcher, you must present what else must be done in your field of research on top of what you’ve accomplished. What does your research further suggest?

24)  What did you ultimately gather from your research? What did you learn during and after the process? – thesis defense questions 

Aside from stating your findings as a whole, this would be a good moment to express if you found anything significant outside of your thesis that you hadn’t expected. Was there something you learned while gathering your data or writing up your text that you never thought you’d come across?

25)  After you complete your degree, what do you want to pursue professionally?

It’s not uncommon for master’s or PhD students to not know exactly what they want to do once they graduate. But for this last thesis defense question, it’s good to have a solid answer that will tie back into the research you’ve done. Do you have further research plans in this field? Do you want to pursue a profession that would enable this and strengthen the practical reality of it?

Thesis Defense Questions – Additional Resources

We hope you found this list of common thesis defense questions useful as you prepare for defending your thesis. Other articles that you may find relevant include:

  • Top Feeders to PhD Programs
  • Do You Need a Master’s to get a PhD?
  • How to Write a Grad School Statement of Purpose
  • Graduate School Admissions

Joanna Hong

With a BA from Pitzer College and an MA from University College London, Joanna has worked in London, Berlin, and Los Angeles covering many cultural and political issues with organizations such as Byline Media, NK News, and Free Turkey Media. A freelancer for The New York Times, her work has also appeared in Newsweek, Dazed and Confused Magazine, and The Guardian, among others. In addition, Joanna was the recipient of the 2021 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowship in Fiction and is currently completing her first novel.

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defend your thesis synonym

Preparing For Your Dissertation Defense

13 Key Questions To Expect In The Viva Voce

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) & David Phair (PhD) . Reviewed By: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | June 2021

Preparing for your dissertation or thesis defense (also called a “viva voce”) is a formidable task . All your hard work over the years leads you to this one point, and you’ll need to defend yourself against some of the most experienced researchers you’ve encountered so far.

It’s natural to feel a little nervous.

In this post, we’ll cover some of the most important questions you should be able to answer in your viva voce, whether it’s for a Masters or PhD degree. Naturally, they might not arise in exactly the same form (some may not come up at all), but if you can answer these questions well, it means you’re in a good position to tackle your oral defense.

Dissertation and thesis defense 101

Viva Voce Prep: 13 Essential Questions

  • What is your study about and why did you choose to research this in particular?
  • How did your research questions evolve during the research process?
  • How did you decide on which sources to include in your literature review?
  • How did you design your study and why did you take this approach?
  • How generalisable and valid are the findings?
  • What were the main shortcomings and limitations created by your research design?
  • How did your findings relate to the existing literature?
  • What were your key findings in relation to the research questions?
  • Were there any findings that surprised you?
  • What biases may exist in your research?
  • How can your findings be put into practice?
  • How has your research contributed to current thinking in the field?
  • If you could redo your research, how would you alter your approach?

#1: What is your study about and why did you choose to research this in particular?

This question, a classic party starter, is pretty straightforward.

What the dissertation or thesis committee is assessing here is your ability to clearly articulate your research aims, objectives and research questions in a concise manner. Concise is the keyword here – you need to clearly explain your research topic without rambling on for a half-hour. Don’t feel the need to go into the weeds here – you’ll have many opportunities to unpack the details later on.

In the second half of the question, they’re looking for a brief explanation of the justification of your research. In other words, why was this particular set of research aims, objectives and questions worth addressing? To address this question well in your oral defense, you need to make it clear what gap existed within the research and why that gap was worth filling.

#2: How did your research questions evolve during the research process?

Good research generally follows a long and winding path . It’s seldom a straight line (unless you got really lucky). What they’re assessing here is your ability to follow that path and let the research process unfold.

Specifically, they’ll want to hear about the impact that the literature review process had on you in terms of shaping the research aims, objectives and research questions . For example, you may have started with a certain set of aims, but then as you immersed yourself in the literature, you may have changed direction. Similarly, your initial fieldwork findings may have turned out some unexpected data that drove you to adjust or expand on your initial research questions.

Long story short – a good defense involves clearly describing your research journey , including all the twists and turns. Adjusting your direction based on findings in the literature or the fieldwork shows that you’re responsive , which is essential for high-quality research.

You will need to explain the impact of your literature review in the defense

#3: How did you decide on which sources to include in your literature review?

A comprehensive literature review is the foundation of any high-quality piece of research. With this question, your dissertation or thesis committee are trying to assess which quality criteria and approach you used to select the sources for your literature review.

Typically, good research draws on both the seminal work in the respective field and more recent sources . In other words, a combination of the older landmark studies and pivotal work, along with up-to-date sources that build on to those older studies. This combination ensures that the study has a rock-solid foundation but is not out of date.

So, make sure that your study draws on a mix of both the “classics” and new kids on the block, and take note of any major evolutions in the literature that you can use as an example when asked this question in your viva voce.

#4: How did you design your study and why did you take this approach?

This is a classic methodological question that you can almost certainly expect in some or other shape.

What they’re looking for here is a clear articulation of the research design and methodology, as well as a strong justification of each choice . So, you need to be able to walk through each methodological choice and clearly explain both what you did and why you did it. The why is particularly important – you need to be able to justify each choice you made by clearly linking your design back to your research aims, objectives and research questions, while also taking into account practical constraints.

To ensure you cover every base, check out our research methodology vlog post , as well as our post covering the Research Onion .

You have to justify every choice in your dissertation defence

#5: How generalizable and valid are the findings?

This question is aimed at specifically digging into your understanding of the sample and how that relates to the population, as well as potential validity issues in your methodology.

To answer question this well, you’ll need to critically assess your sample and findings and consider if they truly apply to the entire population, as well as whether they assessed what they set out to. Note that there are two components here – generalizability and validity . Generalizability is about how well the sample represents the population. Validity is about how accurately you’ve measured what you intended to measure .

To ace this part of your dissertation defense, make sure that you’re very familiar with the concepts of generalizability , validity and reliability , and how these apply to your research. Remember, you don’t need to achieve perfection – you just need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your research (and how the weaknesses could be improved upon).

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defend your thesis synonym

#6: What were the main shortcomings and limitations created by your research design?

This question picks up where the last one left off.

As I mentioned, it’s perfectly natural that your research will have shortcomings and limitations as a result of your chosen design and methodology. No piece of research is flawless. Therefore, a good dissertation defense is not about arguing that your work is perfect, but rather it’s about clearly articulating the strengths and weaknesses of your approach.

To address this question well, you need to think critically about all of the potential weaknesses your design may have, as well as potential responses to these (which could be adopted in future research) to ensure you’re well prepared for this question. For a list of common methodological limitations, check out our video about research limitations here .

#7: How did your findings relate to the existing literature?

This common dissertation defense question links directly to your discussion chapter , where you would have presented and discussed the findings in relation to your literature review.

What your dissertation or thesis committee is assessing here is your ability to compare your study’s findings to the findings of existing research . Specifically, you need to discuss which findings aligned with existing research and which findings did not. For those findings that contrasted against existing research, you should also explain what you believe to be the reasons for this.

As with many questions in a viva voce, it’s both the what and the why that matter here. So, you need to think deeply about what the underlying reasons may be for both the similarities and differences between your findings and those of similar studies.

Your dissertation defense needs to compare findings

#8: What were your key findings in relation to the research questions?

This question is similar to the last one in that it too focuses on your research findings. However, here the focus is specifically on the findings that directly relate to your research questions (as opposed to findings in general).

So, a good way to prepare for this question is to step back and revisit your research questions . Ask yourself the following:

  • What exactly were you asking in those questions, and what did your research uncover concerning them?
  • Which questions were well answered by your study and which ones were lacking?
  • Why were they lacking and what more could be done to address this in future research?

Conquering this part dissertation defense requires that you focus squarely on the research questions. Your study will have provided many findings (hopefully!), and not all of these will link directly to the research questions. Therefore, you need to clear your mind of all of the fascinating side paths your study may have lead you down and regain a clear focus on the research questions .

#9: Were there any findings that surprised you?

This question is two-pronged.

First, you should discuss the surprising findings that were directly related to the original research questions . Going into your research, you likely had some expectations in terms of what you would find, so this is your opportunity to discuss the outcomes that emerged as contrary to what you initially expected. You’ll also want to think about what the reasons for these contrasts may be.

Second, you should discuss the findings that weren’t directly related to the research questions, but that emerged from the data set . You may have a few or you may have none – although generally there are a handful of interesting musings that you can glean from the data set. Again, make sure you can articulate why you find these interesting and what it means for future research in the area.

What the committee is looking for in this type of question is your ability to interpret the findings holistically and comprehensively , and to respond to unexpected data. So, take the time to zoom out and reflect on your findings thoroughly.

Discuss the findings in your defense

#10: What biases may exist in your research?

Biases… we all have them.

For this question, you’ll need to think about potential biases in your research , in the data itself but also in your interpretation of the data. With this question, your committee is assessing whether you have considered your own potential biases and the biases inherent in your analysis approach (i.e. your methodology). So, think carefully about these research biases and be ready to explain how these may exist in your study.

In an oral defense, this question is often followed up with a question on how the biases were mitigated or could be mitigated in future research. So, give some thought not just to what biases may exist, but also the mitigation measures (in your own study and for future research).

#11: How can your findings be put into practice?

Another classic question in the typical viva voce.

With this question, your committee is assessing your ability to bring your findings back down to earth and demonstrate their practical value and application. Importantly, this question is not about the contribution to academia or the overall field of research (we’ll get to that next) – it is specifically asking about how this newly created knowledge can be used in the real world.

Naturally, the actionability of your findings will vary depending on the nature of your research topic. Some studies will produce many action points and some won’t. If you’re researching marketing strategies within an industry, for example, you should be able to make some very specific recommendations for marketing practitioners in that industry.

To help you flesh out points for this question, look back at your original justification for the research (i.e. in your introduction and literature review chapters). What were the driving forces that led you to research your specific topic? That justification should help you identify ways in which your findings can be put into practice.

#12: How has your research contributed to current thinking in the field?

While the previous question was aimed at practical contribution, this question is aimed at theoretical contribution . In other words, what is the significance of your study within the current body of research? How does it fit into the existing research and what does it add to it?

This question is often asked by a field specialist and is used to assess whether you’re able to place your findings into the research field to critically convey what your research contributed. This argument needs to be well justified – in other words, you can’t just discuss what your research contributed, you need to also back each proposition up with a strong why .

To answer this question well, you need to humbly consider the quality and impact of your work and to be realistic in your response. You don’t want to come across as arrogant (“my work is groundbreaking”), nor do you want to undersell the impact of your work. So, it’s important to strike the right balance between realistic and pessimistic .

This question also opens the door to questions about potential future research . So, think about what future research opportunities your study has created and which of these you feel are of the highest priority.

Discuss your contribution in your thesis defence

#13: If you could redo your research, how would you alter your approach?

This question is often used to wrap up a viva voce as it brings the discussion full circle.

Here, your committee is again assessing your ability to clearly identify and articulate the limitations and shortcomings of your research, both in terms of research design and topic focus . Perhaps, in hindsight, it would have been better to use a different analysis method or data set. Perhaps the research questions should have leaned in a slightly different direction. And so on.

This question intends to assess whether you’re able to look at your work critically , assess where the weaknesses are and make recommendations for the future . This question often sets apart those who did the research purely because it was required, from those that genuinely engaged with their research. So, don’t hold back here – reflect on your entire research journey ask yourself how you’d do things differently if you were starting with a  blank canvas today.

Recap: The 13 Key Dissertation Defense Questions

To recap, here are the 13 questions you need to be ready for to ace your dissertation or thesis oral defense:

As I mentioned, this list of dissertation defense questions is certainly not exhaustive – don’t assume that we’ve covered every possible question here. However, these questions are quite likely to come up in some shape or form in a typical dissertation or thesis defense, whether it’s for a Master’s degree, PhD or any other research degree. So, you should take the time to make sure you can answer them well.

If you need assistance preparing for your dissertation defense or viva voce, get in touch with us to discuss 1-on-1 coaching. We can critically review your research and identify potential issues and responses, as well as undertake a mock oral defense to prepare you for the pressures and stresses on the day.

defend your thesis synonym

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This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...

14 Comments

Jalla Dullacha

Very interesting

Fumtchum JEFFREY

Interesting. I appreciate!

Dargo Haftu

Really appreciating

My field is International Trade

Abera Gezahegn

Interesting

Peter Gumisiriza

This is a full course on defence. I was fabulously enlightened and I gained enough confidence for my upcoming Masters Defence.

There are many lessons to learn and the simplicity in presentationmakes thee reader say “YesI can”

Milly Nalugoti

This is so helping… it has Enlightened me on how to answer specific questions. I pray to make it through for my upcoming defense

Derek Jansen

Lovely to hear that 🙂

bautister

Really educative and beneficial

Tweheyo Charles

Interesting. On-point and elaborate. And comforting too! Thanks.

Ismailu Kulme Emmanuel

Thank you very much for the enlightening me, be blessed

Gladys Oyat

Thankyou so much. I am planning to defend my thesis soon and I found this very useful

Augustine Mtega

Very interesting and useful to all masters and PhD students

Gonzaga

Wow! this is enlightening. Thanks for the great work.

grace pahali

Thank you very much ,it will help me My Master Degree. and am comfortable to my defense.

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The top 10 thesis defense questions (+ how to prepare strong answers)

Crafting a thesis is significant, but defending it often feels like the ultimate test. While nerve-wracking, proper preparation can make it manageable. Prepare for your thesis defense with insights on the top questions you can expect, including strategies for answering convincingly.

Mastering the thesis defense: cultivate a success mindset

Confidence enables you to present your research with conviction, while composure allows you to navigate any challenges with grace and clarity.

Remember, you know your thesis best, so trust in your expertise.

Stay composed and focused, relying on your thorough preparation. If you encounter a question you can’t answer, gracefully guide the conversation back to familiar topics.

By embracing these principles and staying confident and adaptable, you’ll navigate your thesis defense with ease.

Question 1: Why did you choose this particular topic for your research?

Moreover, discuss the gaps you identified in the existing literature that motivated you to contribute to your field. What deficiencies or unanswered questions did you observe? How did these gaps inspire you to embark on your research journey with the aim of filling these voids? By articulating the specific shortcomings in the current body of knowledge, you demonstrate a nuanced understanding of your research area and underscore the significance of your work.

Question 2: How does your research contribute to the existing body of knowledge?

This question delves into the vital role your research plays within the existing body of knowledge, urging you to articulate its significance and impact. It’s not merely about the subject matter you’ve studied, but also about the unique contributions and advancements your research brings to your field. To effectively respond, delve into the intricacies of your work and its implications for the broader academic landscape.

Illuminate how your findings could influence future research trajectories. Explore potential avenues for further inquiry that emerge from your research findings. Consider how your work opens up new questions or areas of exploration for future researchers. By identifying these potential research directions, you demonstrate the forward-looking nature of your work and its potential to shape the future trajectory of your field.

Question 3: What are the key findings of your research?

Furthermore, relate these findings to the broader implications they hold for your field. Articulate how your research contributes to advancing knowledge or addressing pressing issues within your academic discipline. Consider the potential impact of your findings on theory, practice, or policy, highlighting their relevance and significance within the larger scholarly community.

Question 4: Can you defend your research methodology?

Defending your research methodology entails a comprehensive understanding of its rationale, alignment with research objectives, and acknowledgment of potential limitations. It’s not merely about explaining the methods employed but also justifying why they were chosen over alternative approaches. To effectively respond, delve into the intricacies of your methodology and its implications for the study.

Be prepared to discuss the limitations inherent in your chosen methodology and how you mitigated them. Acknowledge any constraints or shortcomings associated with the selected approach, such as potential biases, sample size limitations, or data collection challenges. Demonstrate your awareness of these limitations and discuss the strategies implemented to address or minimize their impact on the validity and reliability of your findings.

Question 5: How did you analyze the data and what challenges did you encounter?

Begin by outlining the techniques used for data analysis. Describe the specific methods, tools, and software employed to process and interpret the data collected. Whether it involved quantitative statistical analysis, qualitative coding techniques, or a combination of both, provide insights into the analytical framework guiding your study. Additionally, discuss the rationale behind the chosen analytical approach and how it aligns with the research objectives and questions.

In summary, when addressing inquiries about data analysis, consider the following key points:

Question 6: What theoretical frameworks or references underpin your research?

Elucidate on how these frameworks shaped your hypothesis and analysis. Describe how the theoretical perspectives and insights gleaned from seminal works informed the development of your research questions, hypotheses, and analytical framework. Discuss the ways in which these theoretical frameworks guided your data collection and interpretation, influencing the selection of variables, measures, and analytical techniques employed in your study.

Question 7: How did you address ethical considerations in your research?

When addressing ethical considerations in your research, it’s essential to demonstrate a commitment to upholding ethical standards and protecting the rights and well-being of participants. Responding to inquiries about ethical protocols involves explaining the steps taken to ensure ethical conduct throughout the research process, describing the consent process and data protection measures implemented, and mentioning any institutional review board (IRB) approvals obtained.

Mention any institutional ethics review board approvals you obtained. Highlight any formal ethical review processes or approvals obtained from relevant regulatory bodies, such as IRBs or ethics committees. Discuss how the research protocol was reviewed for compliance with ethical guidelines and standards, including considerations of participant welfare, informed consent procedures, and data protection measures. By acknowledging the oversight and approval of institutional review bodies, you demonstrate your commitment to ethical integrity and accountability in conducting research involving human subjects.

Question 8: In what ways does your research contribute to the field?

Begin by detailing the novel insights your thesis provides. Articulate the key findings, discoveries, or perspectives that distinguish your research from existing literature and contribute to advancing knowledge within your field. Discuss how your study fills gaps in current understanding, challenges established assumptions, or offers innovative approaches to addressing pressing issues, highlighting its potential to generate new avenues of inquiry and broaden the scope of scholarly discourse.

In summary, when addressing inquiries about the contributions of your research to the field, consider the following key points:

Question 9: How did you ensure your research was free from bias?

Describe any blind or double-blind procedures employed in the study. Explain how blinding techniques were used to prevent bias in data collection, analysis, or interpretation. This may involve withholding certain information from researchers or participants to minimize the potential for conscious or unconscious bias to influence the results. Discuss how these procedures were implemented and their impact on enhancing the credibility and impartiality of the research outcomes.

Question 10: Where can future research go from here?

When considering the potential trajectory of your research topic, it’s essential to identify areas where further investigation could yield valuable insights, discuss unexplored questions that emerged from your research, and reflect on the limitations of your study as starting points for future research endeavors. Responding to inquiries about the future direction of research involves suggesting fruitful areas for further investigation, highlighting unresolved questions, and leveraging the limitations of your study as opportunities for future exploration.

Reflect on the limitations of your study as starting points for future research. Acknowledge any constraints, biases, or methodological shortcomings that may have influenced the outcomes or interpretations of your study. Discuss how these limitations provide opportunities for future research to refine methodologies, address confounding variables, or explore alternative theoretical frameworks. Consider how addressing these limitations could enhance the validity, reliability, and generalizability of future research findings within your field.

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defend your thesis synonym

Dissertation Defense | Strategies & Tips

defend your thesis synonym

Introduction

The doctoral program, the dissertation stage, what is a dissertation defense, what is the structure of a dissertation defense, preparation for your dissertation defense, what happens after you defend your dissertation.

The dissertation is the centerpiece of a graduate student's career at the doctoral level. It is a demonstration of a doctoral student's ability to conduct and present research with the skills necessary to contribute to scientific knowledge. As a result, the dissertation defense (sometimes called a thesis defense in non-American contexts) is the main opportunity for doctoral students to demonstrate they can contribute to scholarly discussion.

Many graduate students think of the dissertation defense as a final examination or a job interview. It is often a key final step to complete the doctoral degree.

defend your thesis synonym

Graduate studies are the venue in which students build expertise in a particular field and focus area. There are different kinds of graduate degrees, but what separates the doctoral journey from all others at this level is one's ability to generate or discover new knowledge through research. Mastery of trivia or encyclopedic knowledge is far less important to doctoral studies than a systematic organization of that knowledge through established research methodologies .

Requirements for a doctoral degree will vary depending on the institution and the program and may include coursework, comprehensive examinations, research experience, and an established record of research publication . In most cases, however, graduate students complete a doctoral degree when they successfully defend their dissertation.

The culmination of a doctoral program is the graduate student's demonstration of their abilities to conduct and present research in academic work. Not only must students show their understanding of theories, methods, and argumentation necessary for contributing to scientific knowledge, they must also navigate the intricacies inherent to academic institutions in a way that shows that they can cohesively work with and engage scholars.

The dissertation represents this understanding and mastery of skills necessary to work in established academic contexts. The research in a dissertation is deemed credible and worthy of being considered scientific knowledge when a university approves it and adds it to its repository, which is made available to all of its members so they can, in turn, conduct research and generate knowledge. However, this approval comes after a lengthy process that involves assembling members of the academic community together to review and develop research.

To be sure, the main objective of dissertation research is to present new knowledge, but the manner in which students conduct that research should also illustrate their understanding of how to generate insights rigorously, ethically, and in collaboration with others. As a result, doctoral programs, while varying with each other on some level, share a number of core characteristics outlining a long-established process of facilitating dissertation research.

Dissertation committee

A dissertation requires an audience of knowledgeable academic scholars who can comment on and critique the research. A committee made up of faculty members internal or external to the student's university fulfills this role by guiding the research, providing feedback, and asking questions about the resulting dissertation. Is the research that the student has produced "state of the art"? Does it meet reasonable standards of research rigor and transparency? Will the research make a valuable contribution to future academic discussions or practical developments outside of the academy?

It's the job of dissertation committee members to help develop and critique the research. Through this process, graduate students can refine their research design and attain guidance on key theories and methodologies . In turn, committee members gain insight from fresh perspectives on the graduate student's research.

The main committee member is your dissertation chair, which might be your supervisor or a committee member who is most knowledgeable about the research you want to conduct for your dissertation. Beyond that, a good committee member is an established scholar who can provide useful insight about the research context, the issues or theories currently being discussed within the research context, and the methods used to further develop those theories.

Oftentimes, students rely on a faculty member whose classes they have taken to serve as committee members. Students might also identify potential external committee members in academic conferences or by asking for recommendations from their professors.

defend your thesis synonym

Dissertation proposal

Designing a robust and rigorous study often requires discussion among colleagues within academia so that research methods can be refined before all the data is collected and analyzed.

The proposal stage gives doctoral students a chance to gather preliminary feedback on their prospective research as well as an opportunity to practice their ability to defend their expertise in their chosen field and focus area. At the dissertation level, this aspect of an academic career is represented by the proposal.

The dissertation committee approves the study design as an indication that the dissertation research has potential. Think of the writing and presentation of the dissertation proposal as a practice run for the eventual defense, while the substance of the proposal, in many cases, becomes part of the final dissertation as it details the underlying theories and methodology for the study.

Dissertation research

While the proposal lays out the research design , the study itself is where you will collect and analyze all the data necessary for the findings and discussion sections of your dissertation. Needless to say, the theoretical developments and actionable insights will come from this part of the dissertation process.

defend your thesis synonym

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The oral defense of your dissertation synthesizes every step of the research process you have undertaken for your research project. It's best to look at it like an opportunity to show off your expertise about the research in your field and, more importantly, your methodological process for developing your original research.

What is the role of a defense?

The defense is the main forum in which you share your research with the larger academic community. Some think of it like a job interview or a test where the committee members assess the worthiness of the research and the student who conducted it. Others consider a defense to be more of a coming out party, a critical event where the student is elevated from a novice scholar to an established expert in their chosen research field.

However it is interpreted, the dissertation defense is a critical event in a graduate student's career. In a successful defense, the doctoral candidate is no longer a newcomer but a scholar who understands the intricacies of academic research and can contribute to it in a substantive manner.

Is a dissertation defense just a formality?

If you are well-prepared and your research is robust and rigorous, you should have no problems passing your oral defense. That said, it is by no means "just" a formality. A graduate student who wants to demonstrate expertise should be prepared enough to anticipate and answer questions from the committee that might otherwise stump or confuse a layperson.

defend your thesis synonym

While defenses will differ depending by program and institution, there are a couple of common elements.

First, the doctoral candidate presents their research in a short presentation or lecture. While your committee is already familiar with your research, many defenses are open to the entire academic community who may be interested in your field but may not have the necessary context to understand your research. As a result, this presentation is vital to providing the fundamental knowledge necessary for later discussion.

That discussion, mainly moderated by your dissertation chair and involving all committee members, serves as the central portion of the defense. Committee members will direct questions to you to interrogate your research, but they will also discuss the research amongst themselves to build their own understanding of the key theories and insights.

In some programs, the audience will also have an opportunity to pose questions to the candidate toward the end of the defense. The dissertation committee wants to know if you can engage with outsiders who are less familiar with your research field. This part of the defense is a test of your ability to share scientific knowledge with the greater academic community.

defend your thesis synonym

When you get to this stage of the process, most of the preparation for your defense is already complete. That said, the defense is its own event as it is the sole opportunity for the dissertation committee to determine if your research is state of the art and advances scientific knowledge.

In many cases, a dissertation defense can last about two hours and typically follows a set order. It's important to know how to prepare for each part of a defense.

Preparing your dissertation

At this point, the dissertation should be as close to polished as you can make it, but keep in mind you may still receive substantive feedback from your committee members. With the exception of your dissertation chair, members of your committee likely will not deeply engage your research until the oral defense itself. Even so, you still need to present as complete a study as possible during your defense. The key to preparation is to be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of every step of the research process, from research design to how you contribute novel and interesting insights to your field. Successfully defending a dissertation means having a thorough understanding of every major aspect of your study and the surrounding scholarship.

defend your thesis synonym

Presenting your dissertation

The dissertation defense typically begins with the student presenting themselves and their research. In many cases, this presentation is similar to those found at conferences or workshops, where the presenter needs to demonstrate that they can showcase their research in a succinct and accessible manner. After all, the audience at a defense will often include members of the academic community who may have a general interest in the research but not a deep familiarity with the specifics of the research.

The presentation itself should be detailed enough to lay out the most important points of the research but within a reasonable amount of time. This presentation lays the groundwork for the ensuing discussion with the rest of the academic community. The dissertation committee or program will often prescribe a set time limit for this presentation; it would be a mistake not to consider this time limit when making your presentation. An overly lengthy presentation or a presenter who meanders with no clear direction will be less persuasive and will not garner the interest of the audience. More importantly, successful time management during the presentation leaves more time for your committee to more thoroughly engage with the research through questions and answers.

defend your thesis synonym

Fielding questions asked

Dissertation defense questions make up the primary part of the discussion. This is the main opportunity for members of your committee to point out the novel aspects of your research as well as critique any weak points that should be addressed in revisions to your dissertation.

Ultimately, a successful defense will result in lively discussion among dissertation committee members. A dissertation committee will often look highly on research that engages their thinking and expertise, meaning that novel insights will prove incredibly valuable to a defense.

You may get a question from a committee member to which you may not readily have an answer. After all, it's impossible to anticipate every possible question posed within two hours of scholarly discussion. In the case where a question is truly outside of your knowledge, it's important to acknowledge this and at least explain your thinking about how you would address the question to get a meaningful answer. In other words, it's not always about giving the "correct" answer to all questions asked but demonstrating your ability to reflect and engage in scholarly discussion around your research.

defend your thesis synonym

Keep in mind that the defense itself is not the end of the doctoral journey. More often than not, the dissertation committee will accept the dissertation on the condition that revisions will be made based on the committee members' feedback. Even the most successful defense will likely require the doctoral student to make revisions to their dissertation.

In many cases, revisions to the dissertation can be more challenging than the dissertation defense itself. Up until this point, your advisor or dissertation chair was likely the main source of feedback on your dissertation research. After your defense, you will have gained a great deal of rich feedback that you can constructively build on to further hone your dissertation as you move forward in publishing and sharing your research.

defend your thesis synonym

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defend your thesis synonym

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Defending Your Dissertation: A Guide

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Written by Luke Wink-Moran | Photo by insta_photos

Dissertation defenses are daunting, and no wonder; it’s not a “dissertation discussion,” or a “dissertation dialogue.” The name alone implies that the dissertation you’ve spent the last x number of years working on is subject to attack. And if you don’t feel trepidation for semantic reasons, you might be nervous because you don’t know what to expect. Our imaginations are great at making The Unknown scarier than reality. The good news is that you’ll find in this newsletter article experts who can shed light on what dissertations defenses are really like, and what you can do to prepare for them.

The first thing you should know is that your defense has already begun. It started the minute you began working on your dissertation— maybe even in some of the classes you took beforehand that helped you formulate your ideas. This, according to Dr. Celeste Atkins, is why it’s so important to identify a good mentor early in graduate school.

“To me,” noted Dr. Atkins, who wrote her dissertation on how sociology faculty from traditionally marginalized backgrounds teach about privilege and inequality, “the most important part of the doctoral journey was finding an advisor who understood and supported what I wanted from my education and who was willing to challenge me and push me, while not delaying me.  I would encourage future PhDs to really take the time to get to know the faculty before choosing an advisor and to make sure that the members of their committee work well together.”

Your advisor will be the one who helps you refine arguments and strengthen your work so that by the time it reaches your dissertation committee, it’s ready. Next comes the writing process, which many students have said was the hardest part of their PhD. I’ve included this section on the writing process because this is where you’ll create all the material you’ll present during your defense, so it’s important to navigate it successfully. The writing process is intellectually grueling, it eats time and energy, and it’s where many students find themselves paddling frantically to avoid languishing in the “All-But-Dissertation” doldrums. The writing process is also likely to encroach on other parts of your life. For instance, Dr. Cynthia Trejo wrote her dissertation on college preparation for Latin American students while caring for a twelve-year-old, two adult children, and her aging parents—in the middle of a pandemic. When I asked Dr. Trejo how she did this, she replied:

“I don’t take the privilege of education for granted. My son knew I got up at 4:00 a.m. every morning, even on weekends, even on holidays; and it’s a blessing that he’s seen that work ethic and that dedication and the end result.”

Importantly, Dr. Trejo also exercised regularly and joined several online writing groups at UArizona. She mobilized her support network— her partner, parents, and even friends from high school to help care for her son.

The challenges you face during the writing process can vary by discipline. Jessika Iwanski is an MD/PhD student who in 2022 defended her dissertation on genetic mutations in sarcomeric proteins that lead to severe, neonatal dilated cardiomyopathy. She described her writing experience as “an intricate process of balancing many things at once with a deadline (defense day) that seems to be creeping up faster and faster— finishing up experiments, drafting the dissertation, preparing your presentation, filling out all the necessary documents for your defense and also, for MD/PhD students, beginning to reintegrate into the clinical world (reviewing your clinical knowledge and skill sets)!”

But no matter what your unique challenges are, writing a dissertation can take a toll on your mental health. Almost every student I spoke with said they saw a therapist and found their sessions enormously helpful. They also looked to the people in their lives for support. Dr. Betsy Labiner, who wrote her dissertation on Interiority, Truth, and Violence in Early Modern Drama, recommended, “Keep your loved ones close! This is so hard – the dissertation lends itself to isolation, especially in the final stages. Plus, a huge number of your family and friends simply won’t understand what you’re going through. But they love you and want to help and are great for getting you out of your head and into a space where you can enjoy life even when you feel like your dissertation is a flaming heap of trash.”

While you might sometimes feel like your dissertation is a flaming heap of trash, remember: a) no it’s not, you brilliant scholar, and b) the best dissertations aren’t necessarily perfect dissertations. According to Dr. Trejo, “The best dissertation is a done dissertation.” So don’t get hung up on perfecting every detail of your work. Think of your dissertation as a long-form assignment that you need to finish in order to move onto the next stage of your career. Many students continue revising after graduation and submit their work for publication or other professional objectives.

When you do finish writing your dissertation, it’s time to schedule your defense and invite friends and family to the part of the exam that’s open to the public. When that moment comes, how do you prepare to present your work and field questions about it?

“I reread my dissertation in full in one sitting,” said Dr. Labiner. “During all my time writing it, I’d never read more than one complete chapter at a time! It was a huge confidence boost to read my work in full and realize that I had produced a compelling, engaging, original argument.”

There are many other ways to prepare: create presentation slides and practice presenting them to friends or alone; think of questions you might be asked and answer them; think about what you want to wear or where you might want to sit (if you’re presenting on Zoom) that might give you a confidence boost. Iwanksi practiced presenting with her mentor and reviewed current papers to anticipate what questions her committee might ask.  If you want to really get in the zone, you can emulate Dr. Labiner and do a full dress rehearsal on Zoom the day before your defense.

But no matter what you do, you’ll still be nervous:

“I had a sense of the logistics, the timing, and so on, but I didn’t really have clear expectations outside of the structure. It was a sort of nebulous three hours in which I expected to be nauseatingly terrified,” recalled Dr. Labiner.

“I expected it to be terrifying, with lots of difficult questions and constructive criticism/comments given,” agreed Iwanski.

“I expected it to be very scary,” said Dr. Trejo.

“I expected it to be like I was on trial, and I’d have to defend myself and prove I deserved a PhD,” said Dr Atkins.

And, eventually, inexorably, it will be time to present.  

“It was actually very enjoyable” said Iwanski. “It was more of a celebration of years of work put into this project—not only by me but by my mentor, colleagues, lab members and collaborators! I felt very supported by all my committee members and, rather than it being a rapid fire of questions, it was more of a scientific discussion amongst colleagues who are passionate about heart disease and muscle biology.”

“I was anxious right when I logged on to the Zoom call for it,” said Dr. Labiner, “but I was blown away by the number of family and friends that showed up to support me. I had invited a lot of people who I didn’t at all think would come, but every single person I invited was there! Having about 40 guests – many of them joining from different states and several from different countries! – made me feel so loved and celebrated that my nerves were steadied very quickly. It also helped me go into ‘teaching mode’ about my work, so it felt like getting to lead a seminar on my most favorite literature.”

“In reality, my dissertation defense was similar to presenting at an academic conference,” said Dr. Atkins. “I went over my research in a practiced and organized way, and I fielded questions from the audience.

“It was a celebration and an important benchmark for me,” said Dr. Trejo. “It was a pretty happy day. Like the punctuation at the end of your sentence: this sentence is done; this journey is done. You can start the next sentence.”

If you want to learn more about dissertations in your own discipline, don’t hesitate to reach out to graduates from your program and ask them about their experiences. If you’d like to avail yourself of some of the resources that helped students in this article while they wrote and defended their dissertations, check out these links:

The Graduate Writing Lab

https://thinktank.arizona.edu/writing-center/graduate-writing-lab

The Writing Skills Improvement Program

https://wsip.arizona.edu

Campus Health Counseling and Psych Services

https://caps.arizona.edu

https://www.scribbr.com/

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noun as in belief, assumption to be tested

Strongest matches

  • proposition
  • supposition

Strong matches

  • contestation
  • postulation
  • presumption
  • presupposition

noun as in written dissertation

  • argumentation
  • composition
  • disquisition

Weak matches

Example Sentences

In “Back Home,” Gil also revisits the nostalgia for the South explored in his Johns Hopkins thesis, “Circle of Stone.”

At least father and son were in alignment on this central thesis: acting “gay”—bad; being thought of as gay—bad.

Her doctoral thesis, says Ramin Takloo at the University of Illinois, was simply outstanding.

Marshall McLuhan long ago argued the now accepted thesis that different mediums have different influences on thinking.

He wrote his Master's thesis on the underrepresentation of young people in Congress.

And indeed for most young men a college thesis is but an exercise for sharpening the wits, rarely dangerous in its later effects.

It will be for the reader to determine whether the main thesis of the book has gained or lost by the new evidence.

But the word thesis, when applied to Systems, does not mean the 'position' of single notes, but of groups of notes.

This conclusion, it need hardly be said, is in entire agreement with the main thesis of the preceding pages.

Sundry outlying Indians, with ammunition to waste, took belly and knee rests and strengthened the thesis to the contrary.

Related Words

Words related to thesis are not direct synonyms, but are associated with the word thesis . Browse related words to learn more about word associations.

noun as in putting regard in as true

  • expectation
  • understanding

noun as in main part of written work

  • dissertation

noun as in written or musical creation

  • arrangement
  • literary work
  • short story

noun as in argument for idea

  • advancement
  • affirmation
  • asseveration
  • declaration
  • explanation
  • maintaining
  • predication

Viewing 5 / 44 related words

On this page you'll find 90 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to thesis, such as: contention, hypothesis, opinion, premise, proposition, and supposition.

From Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

defend your thesis synonym

Dissertation Defense

defend your thesis synonym

What is a dissertation defense?

The final oral examination for a doctoral candidate, commonly known as the dissertation defense, represents the conclusive formal stage prior to the submission of the dissertation manuscript and the conferral of the doctoral degree. This examination centers on the dissertation itself and its relevance within the candidate's area of academic specialization.

A successful defense is the peak of your academic career, so don’t treat it lightly. Make sure that you take enough time to learn everything there is to know about the topic and prepare well. If you look at your paper and it seems raw or unfinished, and especially if your academic advisor says so, it might be best to take another semester for prep. We don’t mean to scare you, but it truly is a responsible moment, and if you fail your defense, all the years of hard work will be wasted.

Defending doctoral dissertation is not going to be easy. If you don’t get to choose the members of your board and you will be met with unfamiliar faces, you might start to panic and feel lost. This is exactly why you need to be over-prepared. In fact, there’s no such thing as being overly prepared when it comes to your defense. Think of all the possible questions your dissertation committee members may have, even the most far-fetched ones, and then find the answers.

Doctoral dissertation defense process

During the dissertation defense, the candidate delivers an oral presentation of their dissertation to the Supervisory Committee (refer to the Supervisory Committee Policy) and to a public audience. The length of both the oral presentation and the subsequent question-and-answer session is determined through consultation between the Committee and the candidate, ensuring it meets the specific requirements and standards of the process.

The dissertation defense process, often the culmination of a doctoral program, is a critical step in the journey towards earning a PhD or similar advanced degree. This process involves several key stages designed to assess the quality, originality, and contribution of the candidate's research. Here's a general overview:

  • Completion of the Dissertation : Before the defense can be scheduled, the dissertation must be completed. This involves conducting original research, writing up the findings, and often, revising the document based on the advisor's feedback.
  • Submission of the Dissertation : Once the dissertation is completed and approved by the advisor, it must be submitted to the department or dissertation committee for review. This submission typically includes a written document detailing the candidate's research findings and conclusions.
  • Scheduling the Defense : After the dissertation is submitted, a defense date is scheduled. The timing of this can vary widely depending on the institution and the specific requirements of the department.
  • Preparation for the Defense : The candidate prepares a formal presentation of their research findings. This presentation is typically structured to highlight the research question, methodology, key findings, and the significance of the work.
  • The Defense Event : The defense itself is a public forum in which the candidate presents their research to the dissertation committee and often, an audience of peers, faculty, and sometimes the general public. Following the presentation, committee members and sometimes audience members ask questions related to the research and the findings.
  • Question and Answer Session : This session allows the committee to probe the candidate's understanding of the research area, methodology, and conclusions. The candidate must defend their research choices and conclusions, demonstrating deep knowledge of the subject.
  • Committee Deliberation : Following the Q&A, the committee deliberates in private to decide whether the candidate has successfully defended the dissertation. Criteria for success can include the originality of the research, the soundness of the methodology, and the significance of the contributions to the field.
  • Outcome Announcement : The committee then informs the candidate of the outcome. Possible outcomes can include pass, pass with minor revisions, pass with major revisions, or fail, although specifics can vary by institution.
  • Completion of Revisions (if required) : If the committee requires revisions, the candidate must complete these before the degree can be officially awarded. The scope of revisions can vary significantly.
  • Final Submission : After any required revisions are made and approved by the committee, the final version of the dissertation is submitted to the university. This often includes submitting bound copies of the dissertation and making it available through the university's library or institutional repository.
  • Graduation and Degree Conferral : Following successful defense and submission of the final dissertation, the candidate is eligible to graduate and receive their doctoral degree.

This process is a significant milestone in an academic career, representing the transition from student to scholar and contributing new knowledge to the field.

Even though it may seem horrible and nerve-racking, the process of defending your dissertation is pretty straightforward. And if you take your time to prepare for it well, you will not have any problems with the defense itself.

The scariest part is presenting your work to a group of professionals. You have to show your proficiency in the field, ability to think critically and withstand criticism. Most colleges and universities will allow you to choose your own committee. So, try to take your pick as early as possible so you’re not left with people the rest of your group didn’t want. 

How to defend dissertation?

Navigating your dissertation defense involves thorough prep, including understanding your institution's format, mastering your material, anticipating committee questions, and perfecting your presentation. During the defense, remain poised, address inquiries with depth, and interact professionally. Post-defense, be ready for revisions. Ensure professional attire, early arrival, and confidence in your expertise. Embrace feedback as growth. Celebrate this significant academic milestone, as it's not only an examination but a showcase of your scholarly journey.

Defending your dissertation is a pivotal moment in your academic career. Here's a step-by-step guide to prepare for and successfully defend your dissertation:

Step Description
Understand the Format Learn the specific format of your institution's defense, which typically includes a presentation and Q&A session.
Prepare Your Presentation Develop a clear and concise presentation that covers the main points of your research. Practice it multiple times.
Anticipate Questions Prepare for potential questions from the committee by discussing possible inquiries with colleagues who have recently defended.
Know Your Dissertation Be ready to discuss and justify every aspect of your dissertation, from theory to methodology and data analysis.
Prepare for Challenges Be prepared to defend your findings with evidence and well-reasoned responses to any critical scrutiny.
Summarize Key Points Be able to succinctly summarize the main points and discuss the implications of your findings.
Mock Defense Conduct a mock defense with peers or mentors to practice and reduce anxiety.
Review Relevant Literature Stay updated with the latest literature to demonstrate the relevance and contribution of your research.
Rest and Relax Ensure you are well-rested before the defense to maintain focus and calmness.
Dress Professionally Wear formal attire to boost confidence and respect the formality of the event.
Arrive Early Arrive with plenty of time to prepare and resolve any unforeseen issues.
Stay Composed Maintain composure during the defense, even when faced with difficult questions.
Engage with Your Committee Interact with the committee members and demonstrate your enthusiasm for your research.
Post-Defense Revisions Be ready to make any necessary revisions to your dissertation post-defense.
Celebrate Take the time to celebrate the completion of your dissertation, regardless of the defense outcome.

Let’s assume that your dissertation paper is done and approved. The next step after choosing your committee would be preparation. In one of the committee meetings, you will discuss how much time you have for your defense and the Q&A session afterward. Normally, the whole defense lasts about an hour, but it can vary depending on the number of doctoral students defending on the same day. 

Preparing for your defense means getting thoroughly acquainted with your paper. It might seem like a ridiculous piece of advice if you’ve written it yourself, yet, with a paper of that size, it’s easy to get lost. If you’ve used a dissertation writing service , you need to take special care in learning the contents of your paper. 

Prepare a presentation that you will be showing to the committee. Make sure the slides are clear and easy to understand, with most information placed in the speaker notes. You don’t want to overload the slides with text. 

Analyze your dissertation and think of all the possible questions the defense board members may have afterward. It’s hard to anticipate what a professional may ask about your ‘rookie’ paper, so it might help to speak to your academic advisor before the PhD defense . They might shed some light on the inconsistencies and possible lack of analysis in some areas. 

How to prepare for defense day?

When the day of defending dissertation finally comes, no matter how prepared you are, it will still be stressful. So, it makes sense to come over-prepared. Learn your dissertation text by hard.

Find every grammatical mistake and fix it. Get acquainted with every letter and word and really make sure it’s perfect. If you are convinced your paper is perfect, it will be hard for the defense board to convince you otherwise. 

How do I know I’m ready for my PhD dissertation defense?

Your academic advisor is your best friend in this situation. They have lots of experience in the matter, and they will be the first person to tell you if your paper is defense-proof. If you see them doubting or if they are asking lots of questions, use those questions as learning points. 

Most likely, they criticize you not because they hate you. But because they want to show you your gaps in knowledge. This is a powerful tool to help you find blank spots and fill them

What should I bring to my PhD thesis defense?

  • Presentation Materials : This includes any slides or visual aids you'll use to support your talk. Ensure they are ready and compatible with the equipment available.
  • Laser Pointer : Useful for highlighting specific areas or data on your slides during the presentation.
  • Copy of Your Dissertation : Have at least one printed copy for your own reference. It's helpful for addressing specific questions or sections during the Q&A.
  • Pen or Pencil : For making quick notes or annotations based on feedback or questions you may receive.
  • Notepad : To jot down notes, questions, or reminders during the defense.
  • Bottle of Water : Keeping hydrated is important, especially since you'll be speaking for an extended period.
  • Backup of Your Presentation : Have a backup on a USB drive or accessible online in case of technical difficulties.
  • Any Necessary Forms : Sometimes, there are forms that committee members need to sign post-defense. Check with your department for any such requirements.
  • Questions for Your Committee : Have a list of questions or clarifications you might want to ask your committee after your defense.
  • A Watch or Timer : To keep track of your presentation time and ensure you cover all points within the allotted duration.

Depending on how long is a PhD defense, you will need a different supply. If you are planning to sit through your whole class’ defense, you will need lots of water, some snacks to eat during the breaks, and your presentation materials.

However, if you are allowed to only show up to your defense and not listen to the entire class defend their dissertations, the most important thing you need to have is your dissertation and presentation. And don’t forget to bring some water, it can help you calm down if you get stressed.

Why does the dissertation length vary?

Various elements, such as institutional standards, the research's complexity, the extent of analysis, and the presence of supplementary materials, can determine a dissertation's length.

The length of your defense may also depend on how long is a dissertation . If your dissertation is 70 pages, your defense will definitely run shorter than if it is 300 pages long. The length of your paper will also influence the length of your PowerPoint presentation and the number of questions you get.

But how do you defend a dissertation? Defense is just an academic word for presenting your findings. You do your research, you present it to the board, and they ask you questions. By answering these questions, you defend the legitimacy and academic value of your doctoral defense research.

The key here is preparedness. Being well-acquainted with the contents of your paper and being able to defend it is your key to success. If you’re not sure about some parts of your dissertation, consult your academic advisor. They will be willing to help and advise you on whether you should take another semester to prepare.

Of course, it’s a great thing that ‘ write my dissertation ’ services exist. You can address a service like Studyfy and rely on it completely in the dissertation writing process. If you do, you can order your dissertation chapter by chapter and bring each draft to the professor for their notes and critiques.

What else do I need to know?

The most important part is you need to be prepared to defend dissertation meaning, and you need to know your dissertation by heart and be ready to justify every word in it. Sure, it may sound terrifying but thinking that millions of people have done that before you might give you some ease. 

How long is a dissertation defense?

Normally, defending my dissertation shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half. It usually lasts anywhere between 30 minutes and 1,5 hours.

It depends on your academic level, the number of people defending, and your preparedness. If the committee members sense you’re ill-prepared, they will ask you more questions.

It’s not because they want to thank you, but actually because they want to give you more chances. Asking more questions is usually an attempt to find an area that you’re very good at to give you a chance to redeem yourself.Your doctoral defense ia an important part of your doctoral journey, and it's bound to be more intense than a bachelor’s one. That’s only natural. Since your doctoral dissertation will be more in-depth, show a deeper understanding of the subject and better proficiency. 

The length of your defense will depend on many factors. But the most important one is your preparedness and confidence. If you are not prepared well, the dissertation committee will ask you lots of questions. They do that to find an area of study that you are good at, but at that moment, it might make you even more stressed. So, coming prepared is the best thing you can do for your defense to be successful. 

Using services like Studyfy is also an option. Yet, you must understand that if you show up with a perfectly written paper, yet you have no idea what it’s about, it will raise even more questions. That’s why you must prepare very well, regardless if you write your paper yourself or outsource it. If you still have some questions about how to write a dissertation , make sure to read our guide.

What is the key to dissertation defense?

Comprehensive Preparation: Familiarize yourself with your institution's defense protocols and engage in extensive practice. Segment your thesis for easier presentation, manage timing, highlight essential arguments, and anticipate likely inquiries. Organize a practice defense session to gain comfort with the procedure.

The most important thing you need to do to defend my dissertation is to start your prep early enough. What does it mean to defend your dissertation? Your defense is the pinnacle of all the hard work you've put in your studies throughout the years. Every time you write a paper, you must understand that you may use that research for your dissertation. So, your prep for dissertation defense starts as soon as you enter college.

What is defending a dissertation? Are there dissertation committee members?

Defending dissertation meaning is the process of presenting your research and findings to the board. Regardless if you buy dissertation or write it yourself, you will need to defend it. This is why you need to prepare carefully for your defense - study your paper through and through, think about all the possible questions you may be asked and think of the answers.

The dissertation committee or the dissertation chair are faculty members that will simply ask dissertation defense questions - some about research methodology, and some about the primary role of your work. Before the actual oral defense, try setting up a mock defense with your friend and go over the important topics.

How long is a thesis defense?

It depends on the length of your paper. Since your master’s thesis will probably be a bit shorter than a doctorate dissertation, you can count on your oral defense lasting up to an hour. Again, the length of the doctorate defense depends on how well you are prepared and how you handle the professors’ questions. 

Academia Insider

Defend A Thesis: Prepare For Your Thesis Defense For PhD

When you’re nearing the end of your graduate program, a critical milestone looms: the thesis defense. This isn’t just a formality; it’s your chance to showcase the depth of your research and knowledge. 

In this post, we explore what is a thesis defense, the process, and how you can do well in it. 

What Is A Thesis Defense?

A thesis defense is a crucial component of completing a graduate degree, where a student presents their research findings to a panel of experts, typically comprising faculty members from their university.

thesis defense

This event marks the culmination of a student’s research efforts and is a formal requirement for obtaining a master’s or PhD degree.

A thesis defense is also quite similar to a dissertation defense. Both involves a student presenting their research to a panel of experts and answering in-depth questions.

The main difference typically lies in the level of study—thesis defenses are common in master’s programs, while dissertation defenses are associated with doctoral studies. Both assess the student’s research rigor and depth of knowledge.

A thesis defense is usually a nerve wrecking experience for many PhD students, but with the right knowledge and preparation, it is usually managable.

Why Must a PhD Student Defend Their Thesis / Dissertation?

There may be doctorate programs that does not require thesis defense, but PhDs generally need to do this. There are several reasons why PhD students must defend their thesis:

Demonstration of Expertise

A thesis defense compels you to consolidate your research into a coherent presentation, showcasing your depth of knowledge and critical thinking skills.

During this oral examination, you answer open-ended questions posed by a committee of faculty members. This is your chance to demonstrate that you are an expert in your field, having moved from a student to a scholar.

Mastery of Subject Matter

The defense process requires that you not only know your study’s details but also how your work fits into the broader field.

Committee members, including your advisor and other professors, will probe your understanding, asking you to justify your methodologies and conclusions.

This is akin to a rigorous job interview where your task is to convince them of your thesis’s merit.

Feedback Opportunity

This is a rare moment to receive direct, critical feedback from multiple seasoned academics. Their insights can profoundly shape the final version of your dissertation, refining your arguments and possibly influencing future research directions.

Engaging with their questions helps you think more deeply and respond to critiques that you might face when publishing your work.

Validation of Research Efforts

Defending your thesis validates your years of hard work. Successfully articulating your research process and findings in front of the defense committee is a significant accomplishment in itself.

It’s a formal acknowledgment by the academic community that your research contributes valuable knowledge and meets the rigorous standards required for a graduate degree.

thesis defense

Professional Preparation

The skills you hone while preparing for your defense are invaluable in any professional context, including:

  • articulating complex ideas,
  • responding to unexpected questions, and
  • handling critique.

Whether in academic conferences, teaching scenarios, or even non-academic jobs, the ability to present and defend your ideas clearly and professionally sets you apart.

In the grand scheme, your thesis defense is more than just a formality. It’s a crucible that transforms years of research into a defended, deliberate statement of your academic capability.

It’s not just about answering questions; it’s about proving that your research stands up to scrutiny and contributes to your field.

What Happens In A Thesis Defense?

Thesis defense is a very long process. You start with months, sometimes years, of preparation, writing and completing your thesis.

You will defend your work before a committee usually made up of faculty members from your department, and possibly an external examiner. These are the experts in your field who will rigorously evaluate your research.

The defense itself is a formal yet dynamic process. It begins with you presenting your thesis, often through a detailed PowerPoint presentation. This presentation highlights:

  • the main points of your research,
  • your methodology, and
  • your findings.

Think of it as a summary of your long journey—a chance to argue the significance and validity of your work.

After your presentation, the committee will ask questions. These aren’t just any questions; they are often complex, open-ended queries designed to test how well you understand your research and your ability to think critically under pressure.

You need to demonstrate not just knowledge, but a deep grasp of your topic and related theories.

An interesting twist is that you may be asked to leave the room after your presentation. During this time, the committee deliberates on your performance. They discuss whether you’ve met the high standards required for a PhD and whether your thesis contributes significantly to the field.

defend your thesis synonym

This can be a nail-biting time for many students, as the discussion behind closed doors determines the outcome of years of hard work.

If all goes well, they will call you in, and inform you that you have passed your thesis defense. At this point, you may hear yourself being addressed as a ‘Doctor’ for the first time. 

If theres hiccups, you pay still pass, but with corrections. This means you need to perform additional work on your thesis for it to be accepted. In worse cases, you thesis may require major corrections. Some examination panels may also require you to redo your thesis defense.

This is fortunately, not very common. This is because your supervisor would have ensured your work is up to par before submitting your application for thesis defense.

How To Prepare For A Thesis Defense?

Preparing for your thesis defense can be daunting. You’re about to present years of work to a committee that will scrutinize your research and knowledge. Here are ten tips to help you prepare for your thesis defense.

1. Understand the Format: Every university has its own rules for thesis defenses. Check with your advisor or the graduate office to understand exactly what’s expected of you. Whether it involves a public lecture or a closed session with your committee, knowing the format helps you prepare effectively.

2. Focus on the Core Ideas : Resist the temptation to include everything from your dissertation in your presentation. Highlight the most significant findings and methodologies. This approach helps you stay within time limits and keeps your audience engaged.

3. Anticipate Questions : Think about potential gaps in your research that faculty members might target. Prepare slides or notes that can help you answer these tough questions. This foresight can turn a difficult question into a demonstration of your thorough preparation.

4. Rehearse Extensively : Practicing your presentation multiple times is crucial. Try to simulate the defense environment as closely as possible, ideally in the actual room where you’ll present. This rehearsal will make you more comfortable and fluent during the actual defense.

5. Prepare Visually Clear Slides : Your slides should aid your presentation, not confuse the audience. Ensure they are clear, visually appealing, and free of clutter. Use diagrams, charts, and bullet points to effectively convey complex information.

6. Dress Professionally : First impressions matter. Dressing professionally respects the formality of the occasion and can also boost your confidence. A business suit is often the go to for most candidates, although some universities may be more relaxed on the dress code.

7. Create Backup Slides : Have additional slides prepared for deeper dives into specific topics. These are particularly useful if a committee member asks a detailed question about a particular point or method.

8. Know Your Committee : Research the interests and work of your committee members. This knowledge can help you anticipate the kinds of questions they might ask and prepare more targeted responses.

9. Stay Calm and Collected : Remember that defense is not just an examination but also an opportunity to showcase your work. If you don’t know an answer, it’s okay to admit this and suggest how you might find it out. This shows honesty and a willingness to learn.

10. View It as a Professional Dialogue : Approach your defense as a professional discussion rather than an interrogation. This mindset can change how you perceive the event, reducing stress and helping you engage more openly with your committee.

These strategies are about more than just surviving your defense; they’re about making the most of an opportunity to excel and impress

Prepare For Your Thesis Defense

Your thesis defense is not just a formality; it’s a bridge to your future career and a chance to shine. Prepare diligently, understanding that this is as much about demonstrating your grasp of the field as it is about honouring your own hard work.

With the right preparation, you’ll be able to defend your thesis with confidence and leave a lasting impression on your committee.

defend your thesis synonym

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.

Thank you for visiting Academia Insider.

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  • What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples

What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples

Published on September 14, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on April 16, 2024.

A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master’s program or a capstone to a bachelor’s degree.

Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation , it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete. It relies on your ability to conduct research from start to finish: choosing a relevant topic , crafting a proposal , designing your research , collecting data , developing a robust analysis, drawing strong conclusions , and writing concisely .

Thesis template

You can also download our full thesis template in the format of your choice below. Our template includes a ready-made table of contents , as well as guidance for what each chapter should include. It’s easy to make it your own, and can help you get started.

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Table of contents

Thesis vs. thesis statement, how to structure a thesis, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your thesis, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about theses.

You may have heard the word thesis as a standalone term or as a component of academic writing called a thesis statement . Keep in mind that these are two very different things.

  • A thesis statement is a very common component of an essay, particularly in the humanities. It usually comprises 1 or 2 sentences in the introduction of your essay , and should clearly and concisely summarize the central points of your academic essay .
  • A thesis is a long-form piece of academic writing, often taking more than a full semester to complete. It is generally a degree requirement for Master’s programs, and is also sometimes required to complete a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts colleges.
  • In the US, a dissertation is generally written as a final step toward obtaining a PhD.
  • In other countries (particularly the UK), a dissertation is generally written at the bachelor’s or master’s level.

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The final structure of your thesis depends on a variety of components, such as:

  • Your discipline
  • Your theoretical approach

Humanities theses are often structured more like a longer-form essay . Just like in an essay, you build an argument to support a central thesis.

In both hard and social sciences, theses typically include an introduction , literature review , methodology section ,  results section , discussion section , and conclusion section . These are each presented in their own dedicated section or chapter. In some cases, you might want to add an appendix .

Thesis examples

We’ve compiled a short list of thesis examples to help you get started.

  • Example thesis #1:   “Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807” by Suchait Kahlon.
  • Example thesis #2: “’A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man’: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947″ by Julian Saint Reiman.

The very first page of your thesis contains all necessary identifying information, including:

  • Your full title
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date.

Sometimes the title page also includes your student ID, the name of your supervisor, or the university’s logo. Check out your university’s guidelines if you’re not sure.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional. Its main point is to allow you to thank everyone who helped you in your thesis journey, such as supervisors, friends, or family. You can also choose to write a preface , but it’s typically one or the other, not both.

Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

An abstract is a short summary of your thesis. Usually a maximum of 300 words long, it’s should include brief descriptions of your research objectives , methods, results, and conclusions. Though it may seem short, it introduces your work to your audience, serving as a first impression of your thesis.

Read more about abstracts

A table of contents lists all of your sections, plus their corresponding page numbers and subheadings if you have them. This helps your reader seamlessly navigate your document.

Your table of contents should include all the major parts of your thesis. In particular, don’t forget the the appendices. If you used heading styles, it’s easy to generate an automatic table Microsoft Word.

Read more about tables of contents

While not mandatory, if you used a lot of tables and/or figures, it’s nice to include a list of them to help guide your reader. It’s also easy to generate one of these in Word: just use the “Insert Caption” feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

If you have used a lot of industry- or field-specific abbreviations in your thesis, you should include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations . This way, your readers can easily look up any meanings they aren’t familiar with.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

Relatedly, if you find yourself using a lot of very specialized or field-specific terms that may not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary . Alphabetize the terms you want to include with a brief definition.

Read more about glossaries

An introduction sets up the topic, purpose, and relevance of your thesis, as well as expectations for your reader. This should:

  • Ground your research topic , sharing any background information your reader may need
  • Define the scope of your work
  • Introduce any existing research on your topic, situating your work within a broader problem or debate
  • State your research question(s)
  • Outline (briefly) how the remainder of your work will proceed

In other words, your introduction should clearly and concisely show your reader the “what, why, and how” of your research.

Read more about introductions

A literature review helps you gain a robust understanding of any extant academic work on your topic, encompassing:

  • Selecting relevant sources
  • Determining the credibility of your sources
  • Critically evaluating each of your sources
  • Drawing connections between sources, including any themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing work. Rather, your literature review should ultimately lead to a clear justification for your own research, perhaps via:

  • Addressing a gap in the literature
  • Building on existing knowledge to draw new conclusions
  • Exploring a new theoretical or methodological approach
  • Introducing a new solution to an unresolved problem
  • Definitively advocating for one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework, but these are not the same thing. A theoretical framework defines and analyzes the concepts and theories that your research hinges on.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter shows your reader how you conducted your research. It should be written clearly and methodically, easily allowing your reader to critically assess the credibility of your argument. Furthermore, your methods section should convince your reader that your method was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • Your overall approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative )
  • Your research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment
  • Any tools or materials you used (e.g., computer software)
  • The data analysis methods you chose (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • A strong, but not defensive justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. These two sections work in tandem, but shouldn’t repeat each other. While your results section can include hypotheses or themes, don’t include any speculation or new arguments here.

Your results section should:

  • State each (relevant) result with any (relevant) descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Explain how each result relates to the research question
  • Determine whether the hypothesis was supported

Additional data (like raw numbers or interview transcripts ) can be included as an appendix . You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results.

Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is where you can interpret your results in detail. Did they meet your expectations? How well do they fit within the framework that you built? You can refer back to any relevant source material to situate your results within your field, but leave most of that analysis in your literature review.

For any unexpected results, offer explanations or alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your thesis conclusion should concisely answer your main research question. It should leave your reader with an ultra-clear understanding of your central argument, and emphasize what your research specifically has contributed to your field.

Why does your research matter? What recommendations for future research do you have? Lastly, wrap up your work with any concluding remarks.

Read more about conclusions

In order to avoid plagiarism , don’t forget to include a full reference list at the end of your thesis, citing the sources that you used. Choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your thesis, taking note of the formatting requirements of each style.

Which style you choose is often set by your department or your field, but common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA.

Create APA citations Create MLA citations

In order to stay clear and concise, your thesis should include the most essential information needed to answer your research question. However, chances are you have many contributing documents, like interview transcripts or survey questions . These can be added as appendices , to save space in the main body.

Read more about appendices

Once you’re done writing, the next part of your editing process begins. Leave plenty of time for proofreading and editing prior to submission. Nothing looks worse than grammar mistakes or sloppy spelling errors!

Consider using a professional thesis editing service or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect.

Once you’ve submitted your final product, it’s common practice to have a thesis defense, an oral component of your finished work. This is scheduled by your advisor or committee, and usually entails a presentation and Q&A session.

After your defense , your committee will meet to determine if you deserve any departmental honors or accolades. However, keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality. If there are any serious issues with your work, these should be resolved with your advisor way before a defense.

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The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.

If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation , you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .

If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimizing confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.

When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:

  • Your anticipated title
  • Your abstract
  • Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)

A thesis is typically written by students finishing up a bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Some educational institutions, particularly in the liberal arts, have mandatory theses, but they are often not mandatory to graduate from bachelor’s degrees. It is more common for a thesis to be a graduation requirement from a Master’s degree.

Even if not mandatory, you may want to consider writing a thesis if you:

  • Plan to attend graduate school soon
  • Have a particular topic you’d like to study more in-depth
  • Are considering a career in research
  • Would like a capstone experience to tie up your academic experience

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17 Thesis Defense Questions and How to Answer Them

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A thesis defense gives you the chance to show off your thesis work and demonstrate your expertise in your field of study. During this one- to two-hour discussion with the members of your thesis committee, you'll have some control over how you present your research, but your committee will ask you some prodding questions to test your knowledge and preparedness. They will all have read your thesis beforehand, so their questions will relate to your study, topic, methods, data sample, and other aspects.

A good defense requires mastery of the thesis itself, so before you consider the questions you might face,

1. What is your topic, and why did you choose it?

Give a quick summary in just a few sentences on what you've researched. You could certainly go on for hours about your work, but make sure you prepare a way to give a very brief overview of your thesis. Then, give a quick background on your process for choosing this topic.

2. How does your topic contribute to the existing literature? How is it important?

Many researchers identify a need in the field and choose a topic to bridge the gaps that previous literature has failed to cover. For example, previous studies might not have included a certain population, region, or circumstance. Talk about how your thesis enhances the general understanding of the topic to extend the reach beyond what others have found, and then give examples of why the world needs that increased understanding. For instance, a thesis on romaine lettuce crops in desert climates might bring much-needed knowledge to a region that might not have been represented in previous work.

3. What are the key findings of your study?

When reporting your main results, make sure you have a handle on how detailed your committee wants you to be. Give yourself several options by preparing 1) a very general, quick summary of your findings that takes a minute or less, 2) a more detailed rundown of what your study revealed that is 3-5 minutes long, and 3) a 10- to 15-minute synopsis that delves into your results in detail. With each of these responses prepared, you can gauge which one is most appropriate in the moment, based on what your committee asks you and what has already been requested.

4. What type of background research did you do for your study?

Here you'll describe what you did while you were deciding what to study. This usually includes a literary review to determine what previous researchers have already introduced to the field. You also likely had to look into whether your study was going to be possible and what you would need in order to collect the needed data. Did you need info from databases that require permissions or fees?

5. What was your hypothesis, and how did you form it?

Describe the expected results you had for your study and whether your hypothesis came from previous research experience, long-held expectations, or cultural myths.

6. What limitations did you face when writing your text?

It's inevitable — researchers will face roadblocks or limiting factors during their work. This could be a limited population you had access to, like if you had a great method of surveying university students, but you didn't have a way to reach out to other people who weren't attending that school.

7. Why did you choose your particular method for your study?

Different research methods are more fitting to specific studies than others (e.g., qualitative vs. quantitative ), and knowing this, you applied a method that would present your findings most effectively. What factors led you to choose your method?

8. Who formed the sample group of your study, and why did you choose this population?

Many factors go into the selection of a participant group. Perhaps you were motivated to survey women over 50 who experience burnout in the workplace. Did you take extra measures to target this population? Or perhaps you found a sample group that responded more readily to your request for participation, and after hitting dead ends for months, convenience is what shaped your study population. Make sure to present your reasoning in an honest but favorable way.

9. What obstacles or limitations did you encounter while working with your sample?

Outline the process of pursuing respondents for your study and the difficulties you faced in collecting enough quality data for your thesis. Perhaps the decisions you made took shape based on the participants you ended up interviewing.

10. Was there something specific you were expecting to find during your analysis?

Expectations are natural when you set out to explore a topic, especially one you've been dancing around throughout your academic career. This question can refer to your hypotheses , but it can also touch on your personal feelings and expectations about this topic. What did you believe you would find when you dove deeper into the subject? Was that what you actually found, or were you surprised by your results?

11. What did you learn from your study?

Your response to this question can include not only the basic findings of your work (if you haven't covered this already) but also some personal surprises you might have found that veered away from your expectations. Sometimes these details are not included in the thesis, so these details can add some spice to your defense.

12. What are the recommendations from your study?

With connection to the reasons you chose the topic, your results can address the problems your work is solving. Give specifics on how policymakers, professionals in the field, etc., can improve their service with the knowledge your thesis provides.

13. If given the chance, what would you do differently?

Your response to this one can include the limitations you encountered or dead ends you hit that wasted time and funding. Try not to dwell too long on the annoyances of your study, and consider an area of curiosity; for example, discuss an area that piqued your interest during your exploration that would have been exciting to pursue but didn't directly benefit your outlined study.

14. How did you relate your study to the existing theories in the literature?

Your paper likely ties your ideas into those of other researchers, so this could be an easy one to answer. Point out how similar your work is to some and how it contrasts other works of research; both contribute greatly to the overall body of research.

15. What is the future scope of this study?

This one is pretty easy, since most theses include recommendations for future research within the text. That means you already have this one covered, and since you read over your thesis before your defense, it's already fresh in your mind.

16. What do you plan to do professionally after you complete your study?

This is a question directed more to you and your future professional plans. This might align with the research you performed, and if so, you can direct your question back to your research, maybe mentioning the personal motivations you have for pursuing study of that subject.

17. Do you have any questions?

Although your thesis defense feels like an interrogation, and you're the one in the spotlight, it provides an ideal opportunity to gather input from your committee, if you want it. Possible questions you could ask are: What were your impressions when reading my thesis? Do you believe I missed any important steps or details when conducting my work? Where do you see this work going in the future?

Bonus tip: What if you get asked a question to which you don't know the answer? You can spend weeks preparing to defend your thesis, but you might still be caught off guard when you don't know exactly what's coming. You can be ready for this situation by preparing a general strategy. It's okay to admit that your thesis doesn't offer the answers to everything – your committee won't reasonably expect it to do so. What you can do to sound (and feel!) confident and knowledgeable is to refer to a work of literature you have encountered in your research and draw on that work to give an answer. For example, you could respond, "My thesis doesn't directly address your question, but my study of Dr. Leifsen's work provided some interesting insights on that subject…." By preparing a way to address curveball questions, you can maintain your cool and create the impression that you truly are an expert in your field.

After you're done answering the questions your committee presents to you, they will either approve your thesis or suggest changes you should make to your paper. Regardless of the outcome, your confidence in addressing the questions presented to you will communicate to your thesis committee members that you know your stuff. Preparation can ease a lot of anxiety surrounding this event, so use these possible questions to make sure you can present your thesis feeling relaxed, prepared, and confident.

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Dissertation Defense: Steps To Follow To Succeed

dissertation defense

A dissertation defense is arguably one of the most important milestones in every student’s career. While it signals that your tenure as a student is soon about to close, it validates all your efforts towards your thesis.

Being cautious about including all the necessary details is very important to successfully complete your dissertation proposal defense. This article tells you everything that you need to know about writing a defense that can add great credibility to you as a student.

What is A Dissertation Defense?

The first thing that you need to learn is what is a dissertation defense and what is its purpose. In simple terms, it is a presentation made by a student to defend all the ideas and views that are presented in a dissertation.

The presenter must include details like what is the reason for choosing specific research methods, the theory that has been selected for the paper, and other such points. This presentation is made before an audience that comprises of the university committee, professors and even fellow-students. It is met with questions and answers that gives the student an opportunity to provide more clarity on the dissertation in order to convince the committee to approve it.

Stages of a Dissertation Defense

One of the most important dissertation defense tips provided by several professors is to breakdown the process into three steps:

  • Preparation : This stage involves collection of all the necessary information that must be included in the defense dissertation and making all the arrangements for the actual meeting.
  • The defense meeting : This is where you decide how you will present the defense. The actual meeting is hugely reliant on the performance, body language and the confidence in your oral defense.
  • After the defense meeting : This stage, also known as the follow up, requires you to make the necessary revisions suggested by the university committee. You can even provide bound copies of the whole dissertation to distribute among different members of your departments. In the follow up stage, one must also think about expense that are related to publishing the Ph.D. dissertation defense as well as printing additional copies of the manuscript, if required.

How Long is a Dissertation Defense?

The first thing that a student should know is how long does a dissertation defense last? The length has to be carefully calculated to make the impact that you want. One of the most important steps in the dissertation preparation is to understand how much time each department allocates to the closing oral defense. When you plan in the early stages of your dissertation itself, you can write it in a manner that allows you to defend it in the allocated time.

Usually these meetings including the presentation, the oral defense and the question and answer session last for about two hours. In most cases, these two hours also encompass the time needed by members of the committee to deliberate.

How to Prepare for the Dissertation Defense

Now that you know how long is a dissertation defense, the next step is to prepare well enough to make your presentation impressive.

Here are some tips on how to prepare for a dissertation defense:

  • Watch other students in action to learn about different presentation styles. You can attend defenses of different colleagues in your department as well as other departments in your university.
  • Get all the details about the deadlines and the rules of your college or university about scheduling your defense.
  • Scheduling is also a very important part of your preparation. It is important to note that members of the committee and University chairs need to make time for these defences in a very packed schedule. Coordinate the date, venue and time of your defense as early as possible.
  • Prepare a manuscript adhering to the necessary formatting rules. Review your manuscript thoroughly before you hand it in. During your PH.D, your faculty will also assist you with the defense. For this, they must have a crisp and polished copy of your manuscript.
  • Most colleges have the facility for a pre-defense meeting. This is the best opportunity to sort out any concerns that you may have about the actual meeting. It is a good idea to ask the chairs what types of questions may be put forward and if there are any problems with the defense that need to be resolved. When you prepare for a pre-defense meeting, think of it as the final one and give it your all.
  • Put together all the material that you need for the defense. A detailed, yet to-the-point presentation must be prepared.
  • The final stage of preparation is practicing your presentation over and over again. It is not just the presentation but also the approach towards the questions that you must practice.

Tips To Nail Your Actual Meeting

With these tips you will be one step closer towards a successful defense that will help your dissertation pass and be approved:

  • All meetings should begin by addressing the chair. Make sure you thank all the committee members and the advisors for the efforts that they have put it. This gives you a professional start to the presentation.
  • The presentation should cover the following subjects in brief:
  • The research topic
  • Literature review
  • The methods used for analysis
  • The primary findings of the research
  • Recommendations of additional research on the subject in the focus.
  • Do not get rattled by any discussions among the chairs. They will deliberate on any disagreements or topics of interest. This is a part of the process and is not a reflection of the presentation itself.
  • There are two questions that are commonly asked that you should be prepared for. This includes the weaknesses of the dissertation and the research plans that you have made post-dissertation.
  • Use subtle gestures when you are talking. Do not overuse your hands when doing so. The whole meeting including the question and answer session should have a very formal appeal.
  • The tone of your voice must be assertive without making it seem like you are trying to hard. Be clear and enunciate when you speak.

Once the questions have been answered, the committee will leave the room. Then, after the deliberation, you will be informed if your dissertation has passed or not.

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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.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/c/JamesHaytonPhDacademy

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?

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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The tips are very useful.I will recomend it to our students.

Excellent. As a therapist trying to help a parent of a candidate, I am very impressed and thankful your concise, clear, action-oriented article. Thank you.

Thanks for your sharing. It is so good. I can learn a lot from your ideas. Hope that in my dissertation defense next time I can pass

The tips are effective. Will definitely apply them in my dissertation.

My dissertation defense is coming up in less than two weeks from now, I find this tips quite instructive, I’ll definitely apply them. Thank you so much.

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Synonyms of thesis

  • as in argument
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Thesaurus Definition of thesis

Synonyms & Similar Words

  • proposition
  • speculation
  • explanation
  • presupposition
  • supposition
  • generalization
  • presumption
  • abstraction

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  1. 17 Words and Phrases for Defend A Thesis

    Another way to say Defend A Thesis? Synonyms for Defend A Thesis (other words and phrases for Defend A Thesis). Synonyms for Defend a thesis. 17 other terms for defend a thesis- words and phrases with similar meaning. Lists. synonyms. antonyms. definitions. sentences. thesaurus. suggest new.

  2. How to prepare an excellent thesis defense

    Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your thesis defense: 1. Anticipate questions and prepare for them. You can absolutely 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.

  3. 10 Words and Phrases for Thesis Defence

    Synonyms for Thesis Defence (other words and phrases for Thesis Defence). Synonyms for Thesis defence. 10 other terms for thesis defence- words and phrases with similar meaning. Lists. synonyms. antonyms. definitions. sentences. thesaurus. Parts of speech. nouns. Tags. defence. diploma. project. suggest new.

  4. What is another word for thesis defense

    Need synonyms for thesis defense? Here's a list of similar words from our thesaurus that you can use instead. Noun. The final step in earning a doctorate: an oral examination in which the doctorand publicly defends his/her thesis to the examiners. viva voce.

  5. 25 Thesis/Dissertation Defense Questions

    When you're considering going to graduate school, or you're about to defend your master's thesis or PhD dissertation, chances are you've come across something called the thesis defense.The thesis defense is arguably one of the most fundamental steps to take in order to attain your graduate degree. Each university will have its own tailored expectations of the thesis defense.

  6. Preparing For A Viva Voce (Dissertation Defence)

    Preparing for your dissertation or thesis defense (also called a "viva voce") is a formidable task. All your hard work over the years leads you to this one point, and you'll need to defend yourself against some of the most experienced researchers you've encountered so far. It's natural to feel a little nervous.

  7. The top 10 thesis defense questions (+ how to prepare strong answers)

    Crafting a thesis is significant, but defending it often feels like the ultimate test. While nerve-wracking, proper preparation can make it manageable. Prepare for your thesis defense with insights on the top questions you can expect, including strategies for answering convincingly. Contents Mastering the thesis defense: cultivate a success mindsetQuestion 1: Why did you choose

  8. Ace Your Thesis Defense: Proven Techniques To Defend Your Thesis

    When it comes to prepping for your thesis defense, organization and mindset are crucial. Treat the defense as a "discussion" rather than a "test.". Sets the stage for a constructive dialogue. Print out a hard copy of your thesis in an easy-to-navigate format with tabs and color-coding.

  9. Dissertation Defense

    The dissertation is the centerpiece of a graduate student's career at the doctoral level. It is a demonstration of a doctoral student's ability to conduct and present research with the skills necessary to contribute to scientific knowledge. As a result, the dissertation defense (sometimes called a thesis defense in non-American contexts) is the ...

  10. Defending Your Thesis 2024+- Tips for Your Dissertation

    Defending your thesis statement can help you obtain helpful feedback and recommendations that you can incorporate into your final draft. Make sure to get across the fundamentals while defending your thesis. First, state your thesis/research question. You need to describe the importance of your topic and detail how your research was conducted ...

  11. Defending Your Dissertation: A Guide

    The first thing you should know is that your defense has already begun. It started the minute you began working on your dissertation— maybe even in some of the classes you took beforehand that helped you formulate your ideas. This, according to Dr. Celeste Atkins, is why it's so important to identify a good mentor early in graduate school.

  12. (F)acing the Thesis Defense: A Guide

    Here, we've compiled a list of the best tips, from Hare and other honors professors on campus, on how to successfully defend your thesis - no shield or shin guards required. (Blazer optional but recommended.) 1. Practice Makes Perfect. Our first tip is the simplest one: Be prepared.

  13. 48 Synonyms & Antonyms for THESIS

    Find 48 different ways to say THESIS, along with antonyms, related words, and example sentences at Thesaurus.com.

  14. Dissertation defense guide

    Defending your dissertation is a pivotal moment in your academic career. Here's a step-by-step guide to prepare for and successfully defend your dissertation: ... Segment your thesis for easier presentation, manage timing, highlight essential arguments, and anticipate likely inquiries. Organize a practice defense session to gain comfort with ...

  15. How to Effectively Prepare for Your Thesis Defense

    Have a plan for computer/internet problems if you are presenting virtually. Eat well and get a good night's rest before the defense. Arrive at the defense venue early enough to test any IT equipment or internet connection. For more tips on how to write a good thesis, where to find the best thesis editing services.

  16. Defend A Thesis: Prepare For Your Thesis Defense For PhD

    A thesis defense is a crucial component of completing a graduate degree, where a student presents their research findings to a panel of experts, typically comprising faculty members from their university. This event marks the culmination of a student's research efforts and is a formal requirement for obtaining a master's or PhD degree.

  17. What Is a Thesis?

    Revised on April 16, 2024. A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master's program or a capstone to a bachelor's degree. Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation, it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete.

  18. 17 Thesis Defense Questions and How to Answer Them

    A thesis defense gives you the chance to show off your thesis work and demonstrate your expertise in your field of study. During this one- to two-hour discussion with the members of your thesis committee, you'll have some control over how you present your research, but your committee will ask you some prodding questions to test your knowledge and preparedness. They will all have read your ...

  19. Perfect Dissertation Defense: Your Complete Guide

    One of the most important steps in the dissertation preparation is to understand how much time each department allocates to the closing oral defense. When you plan in the early stages of your dissertation itself, you can write it in a manner that allows you to defend it in the allocated time. Usually these meetings including the presentation ...

  20. 13 Tips to Prepare for Your PhD 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.

  21. What Is A Thesis 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. A defense might take only 20 minutes, or it might take ...

  22. PDF Preparing for a Masters Thesis Defense

    Registering Your Thesis "Registering" simply means that you have presented a thesis document, which you intend to defend, to the AS&E Dean of Graduate Studies. Your thesis must be approved as ready to defend by your advisor, as noted by the Advisor signature on the Master's Thesis Defense Appointment Form (note

  23. THESIS Synonyms: 44 Similar and Opposite Words

    Synonyms for THESIS: argument, contention, assertion, hypothesis, theory, guess, assumption, hunch; Antonyms of THESIS: fact, knowledge, assurance, certainty