A dissertation defense is a formal event where you should present your research project, share your findings, and prove that you are worth to get a degree. You should get through this last point in your academic journey successfully. While you cannot be fully prepared for the questions of the committee members, the presentation part can be thought out and rehearsed well beforehand.
Different institutions have different requirements as to how a dissertation defense presentation should look like. Talk to your advisor to understand the specific expectations of your committee. Attend several defenses in your university to see how other candidates present their theses. Pay attention to how long these presentations last and what points are covered. Look at how the information is presented visually. As a rule, students should make the PowerPoint slides, but you may be required to prepare additional handouts as well.
Whatever format your dissertation defense presentation is going to take, you may plan out the main points of your talk and consider all nuances of your visual presentation. Take the following steps to organize your presentation successfully:
Will the defense be open to the public or will you meet only the committee members face-to-face? Will the committee consist of only true experts in the field? Knowing your audience will help you define what information should be covered in your presentation and what points may be omitted.
Provide the context of your research. Explain what gap in the knowledge exists, why it is important to fill it, and how helpful your work is in accomplishing the task. Justify your position with solid quantitative or qualitative data.
Make your presentation flow fluently and coherently. Don’t jump between unrelated ideas and don’t get off the key point. If some of your accomplishments don’t fit into the general flow of your story, omit them.
When preparing your talk, provide all details to make the topic comprehensible even for non-experts. When organizing your slides, format the text in the same style, use the same slide layout, and apply the same settings to make your dissertation presentation look professional.
All of your slides should provide important bits of information. Don’t create extra slides just for the sake of quantity, but make sure that you can explain the content of each of them deeply and professionally.
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