A dissertation defence is an important step in a student’s doctoral study where he has to defend his PhD dissertation through the meeting. A candidate’s interview is conducted by the dissertation committee, which asks questions from the candidate regarding his dissertation.
It would be best if you are well prepared for your dissertation defence because it is not only a chance to move one step toward your doctoral degree but also an opportunity to showcase your work and defend it in front of the committee. The interviewers ask questions related to what you have found during research work, what your results are and whether you have learned during the whole dissertation process or not.
10 mistakes in dissertation defence
1- Not revising the dissertation
One of the most common mistakes students make before appearing for dissertation defence is not reading their dissertation. Students normally think that as they have spent their days and months writing the dissertation, they do not need to revise or recall it. It is recommended to revise your whole dissertation before appearing to defend it. Also, it would help if you make notes of your important findings and results so that you can revise them before appearing for the interview.
Reading the entire dissertation and any previous notes will remind you of every minute detail, which will help you in your dissertation defence.
2- Adding too much information in the presentation
While designing a presentation for dissertation defence, students do not notice what to include and what not to in their presentation. They think that almost all the data is important and, as a result, they add lots of data to the presentation. One important tip here is to summarise all the information in short sentences and avoid not to include unnecessary information. You can also include anticipated questions in a presentation to avoid questions from the panel. Also, it is important to always add results, tables and data which support your answers during the presentation. Also, it is important to get your presentation checked by your seniors or a dissertation expert from a reliable dissertation writing service.
3- Practice mock interviews and conduct presentations with your teachers and fellows:
It is not obvious that you can easily give answers to the interviewer as you can think them. Students get scared during an interview or giving a presentation. So it is a pro tip to practice a presentation with your fellows and teachers. Request them to ask all possible questions they can. Moreover, if you think there are some important questions, your dissertation defence committee can ask you. Write them on paper and give them to your fellows. Besides, prepare answers to these questions before appearing for a mock interview too.
The mock presentation will also help in building your flow through the slides.
4- Not organizing your presentation
While designing your presentation, organize it to maintain a smooth flow. You can organize your presentation by considering your interviewers know nothing about the research. That’s how you can organize your presentation better.
5- Learn to handle tricky questions without being aggressive
Whenever you go for an interview or presentation, the interviewer tries to ask tricky questions. Do not just be aggressive while answering those questions; instead, consider it an opportunity to impress the dissertation defence committee.
Plus, learn how to tackle a question if you do not know the answer. You can use this trick for a question you do not know the answer to. Afterwards, answer according to what you have in mind.
6- Not asking for clarification:
What if you do not understand a question? In these situations, it would be helpful if you go for clarification. Normally, in presentations and interviews, students listen to the questions and try to answer them without understanding them clearly.
Not asking for clarification is not a good way. If you do not understand the question, request the panel to repeat it. Moreover, if you do not understand a question, you can ask a question from your side to get more clarification.
7- Losing confidence:
Most students get confused while conducting an interview or presentation. It is not always obvious that the candidate is not well prepared for dissertation defence. In most cases, students get confused and think the dissertation defence is an actual war defence. Be normal during the interview or presentation as it is just a question-answer session about your dissertation.
8- Not asking for rest time
Dissertation defence sometimes take 2 to 3 hours. Sometimes it can be 1 to 2 hours depending upon the dissertation topic, interviewers’ questions and their interest in a particular dissertation. You can always go to the washroom, ask for a glass of water or request some minutes to relax. Doing so will positively impact you because you will feel more energetic after a slight break and can answer questions properly.
9- Double-check your slides:
When you finish designing your slides, it is important to double-check them. The dissertation defence is an important step in getting a doctoral degree, and you should not show any nonsense behaviour. Moreover, it would help if you ask your friend and supervisor to have a detailed look at your slides to avoid mistakes.
10- Setup environment
One pro tip for your dissertation defence is setting up your environment according to ease. First, you should practice your mock presentation in the room where you will give the actual presentation. Second, set the room where you will conduct the presentation by yourself. Mark the panel seats and set up the desk and table for yourself. All this process will make you more comfortable with the environment.
A dissertation is an important step of getting doctorial dream degree. That is why it requires special preparations. We always recommend double-checking your presentation and organizing it well so that the interviewer can understand it easily. For presentation, always conduct a mock presentation, prepare those questions you expect from the interviewer and ask for some break like drinking water. If sometimes you do not find your questions clear, you can ask them again. Be confident and do not over-imagine dissertation defence. For information in detail, read this entire article with deliberation. Best of luck with your dissertation defence.