Effective Methods That Will Help You With Your Doctoral Dissertation Defense
So after several months of intensive research and writing, you’ve finally submitted your dissertation for review and are just around the corner from providing your doctoral defense. Here are some effective methods that will help you prepare to deliver a stellar defense:
- Don’t Underestimate Preparation Time
- Listen to Other Students’ Defense
- Have Your Friends Ask You Questions
- Reread Your Work and Develop Questions
- Practice on Ignoring All Distractions
- Get Plenty of Rest and Eat Healthily
- At All Times Stay Cool and Keep Relaxed
- Don’t Let the Finish Line Distract You
- Have a Good Presentation Structure
- Visualize Yourself Giving Your Defense
You don’t want to run into any unexpected problems in preparation, so don’t wait to the last minute. Start early on your slides and gather supporting data or information.
It’s a good idea to learn about the kinds of things that actually go on in defenses by simply going to a few of your classmates before your own scheduled presentation. This should make you familiar with the process and get you ready for the questions you are likely to get.
Get used to having to ask questions and address both the person asking directly as well as the rest of the panel. Ask your friends or colleagues to drill you with several questions so you get used to standing in the spotlight.
Even if you are tired of reading your dissertation you should start developing several questions you anticipate will be asked by the defense panel. Consider things that you are unsure of, these points might come up when you finally give your presentation.
If at any point you find yourself focusing on other things – applying for a job, looking for a place to move, etc. – don’t allow yourself to get distracted. Keep yourself focused on your main goal until after you deliver your defense.
You’d be surprised how many students don’t get enough rest or eat healthily in the weeks leading up to the dissertation defense. Don’t lose track of these two things and make them a priority.
Don’t stress out in the days leading up to the defense and in the morning of. You have put in a lot of hard work up this point. You need to remind yourself frequently that you know your topic better than anybody else and are being given the opportunity to demonstrate this fact.
Don’t think too much about the after-party before actually reaching the party. Don’t plan a celebration for yourself because it will take you away from the preparation time you should commit to your presentation.
Present your defense just like you would a long document. Think of an introduction before you get into the main slides. Make sure your transitions are smooth and that you order your information logically.
This last method is pretty self-explanatory. Spend several days simply imagining yourself giving the presentation. You might do this in front of a mirror while paying attention to your voice and delivery.