What is a Dissertation Defense?

This article offers you a little advice on how to prepare for dissertation defense, but it mostly focuses on the question: what is a dissertation defense? Even people who know what it is are not correct on how it functions as part of the academic learning process. This article tries to clear up a few misunderstandings so that you may create a stronger dissertation defense.

dissertation defense TIPS

A Simple dissertation Defense Example

Most people know or believe that when bees sting you, they die. However, you create a dissertation that says they don’t die. That in fact the younger ones will live on and keep working for the hive. You also cite the fact that if bees died after stinging, then bee swarm attacks would have bees stinging and falling out of the air like snowflakes. This dissertation angers some of your more open-minded student friends, and so they attack your work. What is a dissertation defense? In this case, it is to defend against their attacks.

A More In-Depth Example

Let’s say that you write a dissertation on how the moon landing really happened. You give explanations on how it was done, why it was important, and how modern telescopes can see the landing site and the original sun-bleached flag.

What is a dissertation defense? In this case, it is to argue that your research is correct. To show that your resources are sound and that your logical conclusions have a basis in actual logic.

However, in this case, students come rushing at you with notions and ideas that were never cited in your paper. In this case, you may as well write a defense dissertation paper on all the things they are going to throw at you. This is because disproving your theory has more facets than proving it. This means you have to have all the answers already researched and completed before you start. As you have guessed, this is your defense dissertation strategy.

They come at you with, “There were no stars in the sky in the video.” To which, you remind them that modern 2022 smart phones have only just figured out how to aim at the night sky and actually show the stars in your pictures (and not just show tiny dots). And you point out that even the best 1969 camera would only absorb nearby light sources.

They come back at you again, saying that the takeoff from the moon was too smooth with no exhaust. You again point out that the camera could hardly see rocks, never mind exhaust dust. And, you also point out that 1969 shutter speeds were not good enough to catch smooth motion like a takeoff, so looks too fast and constant for today’s viewing standards.

How to prepare for dissertation defense

The first question is how long is a dissertation defense? And as you can tell from the examples above, it can be pretty darn long. When learning how to prepare for dissertation defense, try to watch other people online defending their dissertations.

Under most circumstances, the audience attacks your data, you research methods, and your conclusions. They will bring in a few points from outside work, but in most cases, it is the stuff you added into your dissertation that receives the most scrutiny.

When preparing your doctoral dissertation defense, for example at Harvard, try to retain your original notes and perhaps throw in some reasons why you threw out some ideas. A reader of your dissertation may wonder why you left out a certain element. Within your doctoral dissertation defense, you could state why you left out those ideas.

More Defense Tips

Perhaps the best tip is to understand that you cannot be 100% right. It is often the case that several conclusions are correct, even the ones that contradict others. That is why you need to put across a strong case rather than trying to put across a perfect case. Here is a little more advice.

  • Go over your original dissertation notes for inspiration
  • Try to critique your own work before creating a defense
  • Do not attack those who attack your work
  • Show how your conclusions are still valid even after criticism
  • What have other people written in defense

The last tip there is rather special because we live in a culture where the same content is recycled over and over again. You are not the first person to write dissertations on the things you are writing about. There is a very good chance that somebody has written a very similar dissertation. Try to get your hands on it, look online, and consider the elements that you left out of yours. Also, if you can find a dissertation defense for that paper too, then your job gets a lot easier.