Congratulations! You’ve just finished your PhD dissertation, and all that is left is your defense. Having to defend your hard work may seem like a big challenge. However, with proper preparation, you are going to do just fine. In most cases, the defense in the last requirement for getting your doctorate certificate from the university. In some universities, however, this may come before you submit your dissertation. Either way, preparation is critical.
How To Prepare For Your PhD Dissertation
1. Be Versatile
When you’re preparing for a PhD dissertation defense, you should not limit yourself to certain parts of your work. Don’t just prepare to answer questions from the beginning of your paper. Prepare yourself to answer questions from every part of your work. Also, be ready to give answers to fundamental aspects of your field of study. The committee may try to throw you off balance by asking you something that isn’t in your paper but is related to your field. When you make extensive preparations rather than streamlined ones, you’ll be able to give answers to any question they throw at you.
2. Try Out Academic Conferences
Ahead of your defense, make out time to present your work at academic conferences. When you present your work to an audience made up of intellectuals from different parts of the country, they will ask you questions. Answering these questions will give you an idea of what to expect from your PhD defense committee. It also helps build your confidence and presentation skills ahead of the presentation.
3. Find Out Which Tools Are Acceptable
Ahead of the big day, you need to get enough information about which tools are acceptable during your presentation and which tools aren’t. Carry everything you’ll need. This way, you’ll not have to start borrowing when you’re about to present your paper. You can find out more about what you’ll need from a post-docs who defended recently. You can also ask the defense office for more information. If possible, find out which office you would be using for your defense and check it out before the day. This way, you’ll know which tools are readily available and which tools you will need to bring along.
4. Learn As Much As You Can About The Committee
This may seem like a lot of stress but learning as much as you can about the committee in charge of your defense will help you prepare yourself for your presentation. Learn what you can from their publications. Reading their publications and learning about their career history will help you understand them to a degree. You may find out that a member of the committee recently worked on something related to your paper. Some committee members may tell you the questions they intend to ask in advance. However, this may not always be the case. Even if they tell you, you should not risk preparing your defense based only on that information.
5. Revise, Revise, Revise
After preparing, spend the last few days or weeks to your defense revising your paper. Revision helps the information stick and brushes up your knowledge of your paper. Apart from revising your paper, look for other recent publications in your field that you may have previously come across. The goal is to make sure that your knowledge of your field is not outdated. Study publications in your field paying special attention to the ones that are closely related to your paper.
At this point, you should be prepared for your PhD dissertation defense. If you still aren’t confident that you can pull it off, ask a thesis geek for help.