The Thesis/Dissertation Defense
Make the definitions precise, concise,and unambiguous.
33. It's important that you have the feeling when entering your defensethat you aren't doing it alone. As was mentioned earlier, your major professorshould be seen as an ally to you and "in your corner" at thedefense. Don't forget, if you embarrass yourself at the defense you willalso be embarrassing your dissertation director. So, give both of you achance to guarantee there is no embarrassment. Meet together ahead of timeand discuss the strategy you should use at the defense. Identify any possibleproblems that may occur and discuss ways that they should be dealt with.Try and make the defense more of a team effort.
Describe the problem and the research approach.
32. I hope you don't try circulating chapters of your dissertationto your committee members as you are writing them. I find this practiceto be most annoying and one that creates considerable problems for thestudent. You must work closely with your dissertation director. He/sheis the person you want to please. Develop a strategy with the dissertationdirector regarding how and when your writing should be shared. Only afteryour dissertation director approves of what you have done should you attemptto share it with the rest of the committee. And by then it's time for thedefense. If you prematurely share sections of your writing with committeemembers you will probably find yourself in a situation where one committeemember tells you to do one thing and another member says to do somethingelse. What should you do? The best answer is not to get yourself into sucha predicament. The committee meeting (the defense) allows the concernsof committee members to surface in a dialogical atmosphere where opposingviews can be discussed and resolved.
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b. Choose your methodology wisely. Don't be too quick in running awayfrom using a quantitative methodology because you fear the use of statistics.A qualitative approach to research can yield new and exciting understandings,but it should not be undertaken because of a fear of quantitative research.A well designed quantitative research study can often be accomplished invery clear and direct ways. A similar study of a qualitative nature usuallyrequires considerably more time and a tremendous burden to create new pathsfor analysis where previously no path had existed. Choose your methodologywisely!