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After months of working on your capstone research project and completing the dissertation writing portion of the work, you need to start preparing for the oral defense. This is usually the final step you will need to take before earning a master’s or a Ph.D. degree in your field. Since this will likely be the first time conducting such a defense, you probably have a number of questions leading up to this.
Our academic professionals have put together this handy guide for you to use in preparation for your thesis or dissertation defense. Each step is pretty simple to understand but you need to give yourself ample time to put each one into practice.
You may be ecstatic about having completed your dissertation, but this doesn’t mean you should wait too long before starting your preparation of the defense. You will usually be able to take a few days to unwind, but the defense usually needs to occur within a month. So, start organizing your notes early.
To get a sense of the defense processes, it is a good idea to attend a few of your classmates’ oral defenses beforehand. Check out the official schedule at your department’s office or just ask around. Each defense can last about 25 to 30 minutes, so you won’t be taking up too much time in attending.
Your major dissertation points may feel fresh in your mind, but you need to make sure you know the sub-points and inside out. Make a list of possible questions and be sure you can recite thoughtful and critical responses to these questions without having to flip through your work or accessing notes.
In relation to steps 2 and 3, you should take what you learned in watching others conduct their defenses to start timing your own presentation. Know exactly how long you should ideally spend on each section and consider the length of time you will need to adequately respond to the panel’s questions.
When you start practicing your presentation, try to do so in front of friends or classmates so that you can practice making meaningful eye contact with each member of the panel (usually 4 – 5 people). If you can’t get friends to volunteer during your preparation, practice in front of a mirror to ensure you aren’t rushing through your presentation and are getting used to making connections with the audience.
Finally, revise your presentation materials for clarity. You might have numerous handouts or a slide presentation you want to use, but these materials can get confusing and boring if you don’t spend adequate time making them visually appealing and easy to read. Your materials can make or break your oral defense, so don’t overlook getting them in the best shape possible.
Our academic professionals can assist you in putting together presentation notes, handouts, and other material you may use for your defense. We can also provide thesis or dissertation help prior to your defense by reviewing, editing, and proofreading your work before final submission. Learn about all of our services by speaking with a customer support expert today.
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