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Preparing For The Undergraduate Dissertation Defense: 5 Quick Tips


The student’s work on a dissertation is clearly divided into two equally important stages: writing the dissertation and defending it. An undergraduate dissertation should demonstrate the student’s ability to do scientific work, their deep knowledge of the field of science, and their critical judgment. The dissertation should be based on original investigation and demonstrate the student’s awareness of tools and methods of research.

After the dissertation has been written and approved by the dissertation committee, it is time to prepare for public oral defense. Some students consider this procedure as one of the most trying of their life, but the situation will be quite manageable, if you follow some useful tips.

  1. Think over the content of the dissertation defense presentation thoroughly.
  2. In your presentation you will need to state clearly your research problem and show its importance for science. You will have to defend the methods you applied to solve the problem: explain why you have chosen them and prove that they are adequate. Be sure to include all significant points of your research, but try not to overload your speech with unnecessary details and facts. Your presentation should be creative, interesting and original.

  3. Be ready to respond to counter-arguments.
  4. You will present the dissertation in front of a committee, who will have the opportunity to question the thesis statement and interpretation of the research. Certainly, you will not be given the list of questions beforehand, but deep knowledge of the subject matter of your dissertation will help anticipate the probable questions. Moreover, find your weak points and enlarge your knowledge so as not to be taken aback. If it is possible, organize a “mock defense” with someone who has already defended a dissertation.

  5. Get to the background of the subject-matter.
  6. You must take into consideration that the committee will consist of scientists who may have different opinions on the problem. You should also account for possibility of their different scientific approaches and methodology. Get acquainted with the theories each of the committee members may have.

  7. Control your psychological state.
  8. You should be ready to endure the great psychological pressure. Try to stay as calm as possible while presenting your dissertation and answering questions. Make the committee your partner. Be confident, but not arrogant, in case of misunderstanding. Your confidence will show that you really are an expert.

  9. Mind your behavior.
  10. To create a positive attitude, choose appropriate clothes. Mind your voice and body language. Take time to think before answering a question. You language should be clear and to the point.

 
 

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