When you’re presenting your defense, you will have a Q&A session with the panelists, who will gauge your knowledge and understanding of the research. This can be the most stressful experience from your defense presentation because it may feel like having your research on a dissection tray. It’s why our online dissertation help team has compiled a list of the most common questions and how you can answer them.
Have a look!
Question #1: Tell me about yourself
This seemingly innocent query is one of the most horrifying questions of all time, whether it’s posed at you at a dissertation defence or a job interview. So, how to answer this?
The best way to attempt an answer is to use the Inigo Montoya rule of introduction.
Let’s break it down:
- Polite greeting: Hello!
- Name: My name is Inigo Montoya.
- Relevant details: You killed my father.
- Expectations/purpose of the meeting/conversation: Prepare to die.
You can keep the polite greeting and naming structure the same. As for the last two points, you can do the following:
You can start with an obvious but comfortable “I’m here to present my research defence”. This will help you ease into the conversation and continue smoothly into the more technical parts of the answer. Next, you can briefly describe your interests (keep all of them relevant to your research area).
Wrap up your introduction by bringing the focus back to the viva at hand. You can link your interests with how they brought about your choice of topic and then finalise it by mentioning you would love to answer questions about your work.
Question #2: How would you summarise your research?
This question is not a difficult one to answer, but the trick is to check how much time you have left. If the allotted time is almost up, you don’t want to go on a long cruise about your research. Similarly, if a panellist asks this quite early on, you don’t want to provide a 20-second summary. Often, the interviewer would ask this in order to follow up with more questions relevant to your research. So you don’t want to deprive them of this opportunity.
You can deal with this by preparing for both scenarios. Create a shorter and longer version of the summary and practise both. This way, you will be ready for either case.
And as for the actual answer, start with the thesis statement and briefly touch on your research, analysis, findings, and solution.
Question #3: What are the biases in your research?
This question checks for your abilities as a researcher. There’s always the possibility of bias, such as the following:
- Flawed study design
- Selection bias
- Interviewer bias
- Performance bias
- Recall bias
- Observer bias
- Acquiescence bias
- Demand characteristics bias
- Social desirability bias
- Question-order bias
- Extreme response bias
- Transfer bias
- Citation bias
- Confounding bias
There are many more examples depending on the study conducted. It’s important to read about all the possible biases that may exist in your research. For example, if you have used a survey as one of your major data samples, then there’s a possibility of response bias. This type has many sub-categories, such as:
Each of these refers to a survey respondent not being able to provide accurate answers due to certain factors. And if your data is not 100% accurate, the analysis you based on this may not be perfect, either.
It’s important to accept what bias may exist in your research. If you don’t, the only answers you will have for this defence question would be: “There’s none” or “I don’t know”. Both are terrible responses in front of panellists.
So, make sure you conduct adequate research into all possibilities and prepare for the answer. You can get a follow-up question about how you could have avoided this or how did you mitigate this, so prepare for that, too.
Question #4: If you could do this again, what would you do differently?
Students find this question tricky because all responses lead to a trap. For example, if you say you’d do nothing different, it shows you’re cocky and don’t know much about real world research. And if you admit to doing some things differently, you acknowledge being in the wrong in those areas.
A good way to combat this catch-22 is to focus on the possible biases in your research. If you have prepared for the question above, it will be easier for you to answer this one.
In addition, you can mention what you would have done to avoid bias in your dissertation. You can also mention the limitations of your study and explain what real-world issues prevented you from creating the right environment for your research and analysis.
Prepare an answer for this, and be confident and eloquent in your delivery.
Question #5: What does your research contribute?
This question can be phrased in many different ways, ranging in various anxiety-inducing phrases. You could get a bland, boiled-down version like this section’s heading, or you could get something like, “What’s the point of your research?” or “So you spent hundreds/thousands of [currency name] on your research. Wouldn’t it have been better to contribute the money to [X solution] instead?”
The latter questions may throw you off, but that’s why they’re phrased this way. Remember:
- Panellists are only there to gauge your abilities to defend your research, and that is what you should do
- You already proved your topic of research had merit when you submitted the research proposal
- Why your work is important
- How it contributes to the existing knowledge space in the field
- What groundwork it lays for further research in the field
We hope this list helps you prepare better for your dissertation defence viva. It may be tough, but with a little practice, you can do this! And if you need any writing assistance along the way, like formatting or working on a specific chapter, you can hire our ad hoc services today! You can buy dissertation literature review writing services, PowerPoint slides packages, or even editing support.
Interested? Place an order online at Online Dissertation Help today! Alternatively, contact our team for details at +442030340662 or email them your queries at firstname.lastname@example.org.