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Advice on preparing for the defense


My good friend Tonya asked for some advice on preparing for her dissertation proposal defense.
These were my thoughts on the dissertation defense (I misheard her).  For the proposal defense, the  focus is more on the procedural and methodological questions :)
They should ask you, and you should be prepared to give answers to these questions:
  • What did you study?
  • How did you find it?
  • Where did the passion come from?
  • Why do you care?
  • Why should we care?
  • How did you study it?
  • Why was that appropriate?
  • What did you find?
  • Why is the analysis persuasive (qualitative) or positive (quantitative)
  • How should we interpret it and fit it into the larger body of knowledge?
  • What should we do with the knowledge?
  • What will you DO with the knowledge?
  • What was unique and original?
  • What are the limits of your findings?
  • Who else needs to know or should care?
  • Where should we look now that you have found these things?
  • What’s next?
  • How did this journey affect you?
  • How did you change?
  • How do you feel?
They wont let you defend unless you are ready; It will be your coming out party, so enjoy the moment, don’t dread it.
The most natural feeling is to feel like you aren’t ready ; that’s the doctoral humility we feel whenever we remember how little we know :)
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