A well planned meeting will help your committee understand that you are prepared to move forward with well planned research. Your presentation style at the meeting should not belittle your committee members make it sound like you know they have read your proposal but you should not assume too much go through each of the details with an assumption that maybe one of the members skipped over that section.
In fact it might even be enjoyable! The major myth in writing a dissertation is that you start writing at Chapter One and then finish your writing at Chapter Five.
This is seldom the case. The most productive approach in writing the dissertation is to begin writing those parts of the dissertation that you are most comfortable with. Then move about in your writing by completing various sections as you think of them.
At some point you will be able to spread out in front of you all of the sections that you have written. You will be able to sequence them in the best order and then see what is missing and should be added to the dissertation. This way seems to make sense and builds on those aspects of your study that are of most interest to you at any particular time. Go with what interests you, start your writing there, and then keep building!
Look at the first section of your paper. When you are ready go ahead and write it. If you are not ready, move section-by-section through your paper until you find a section where you have some input to make. Make your input and continue moving through the entire paper - from A to Z - writing and adding to those sections for which you have some input.
Each time you work on your paper follow the same A to Z process. This will help you visualize the end product of your efforts from very early in your writing and each time you work on your paper you will be building the entire paper - from A to Z.
If you prepared a comprehensive proposal you will now be rewarded! Pull out the proposal and begin by checking your proposed research methodology.
Change the tense from future tense to past tense and then make any additions or changes so that the methodology section truly reflects what you did. You have now been able to change sections from the proposal to sections for the dissertation. Move on to the Statement of the Problem and the Literature Review in the same manner. Go ahead and write your dissertation using the real names. Then at the end of the writing stage you can easily have the computer make all of the appropriate name substitutions.
If you make these substitutions too early it can really confuse your writing. As you get involved in the actual writing of your dissertation you will find that conservation of paper will begin to fade away as a concern. Just as soon as you print a draft of a chapter there will appear a variety of needed changes and before you know it another draft will be printed. And, it seems almost impossible to throw away any of the drafts!
After awhile it will become extremely difficult to remember which draft of your chapter you may be looking at. Print each draft of your dissertation on a different color paper. With the different colors of paper it will be easy to see which is the latest draft and you can quickly see which draft a committee member might be reading.
The one area where I would caution you about using a word processor is in the initial creation of elaborate graphs or tables. So, the simple rule is to use hand drawing for elaborate tables and graphs for the early draft of your dissertation. Once you and your advisor agree upon how the data should be graphically represented it is time to prepare "perfect" looking graphs and tables.
Dissertation-style writing is not designed to be entertaining. Dissertation writing should be clear and unambiguous. To do this well you should prepare a list of key words that are important to your research and then your writing should use this set of key words throughout. There is nothing so frustrating to a reader as a manuscript that keeps using alternate words to mean the same thing.
Review two or three well organized and presented dissertations. Examine their use of headings, overall style, typeface and organization. Use them as a model for the preparation of your own dissertation. In this way you will have an idea at the beginning of your writing what your finished dissertation will look like. A most helpful perspective!
A simple rule - if you are presenting information in the form of a table or graph make sure you introduce the table or graph in your text. If there is nothing to discuss then you may want to question even inserting it. Another simple rule - if you have a whole series of very similar tables try to use similar words in describing each. If each introduction and discussion of the similar tables uses very similar wording then the reader can easily spot the differences in each table. We are all familiar with how helpful the Table of Contents is to the reader.
Use the Table of Contents to help you improve your manuscript. Then sit back and see if the Table of Contents is clear and will make good sense to the reader. You will be amazed at how easy it will be to see areas that may need some more attention.
Do it early enough so you can benefit from the information it will provide to you. If you do this you will no doubt be able to draw a variety of insights that help link your research to other areas. In other words, what are the key ideas that we can draw from your study to apply to my areas of concern.
Potentially the silliest part of the dissertation is the Suggestions for Further Research section. This section is usually written at the very end of your writing project and little energy is left to make it very meaningful. The biggest problem with this section is that the suggestions are often ones that could have been made prior to you conducting your research. Read and reread this section until you are sure that you have made suggestions that emanate from your experiences in conducting the research and the findings that you have evolved.
Make sure that your suggestions for further research serve to link your project with other projects in the future and provide a further opportunity for the reader to better understand what you have done. But what chapter is the last one? My perception is that the last chapter should be the first chapter.
Certainly you wrote Chapter One at the beginning of this whole process. Reread Chapter One carefully with the insight you now have from having completed Chapter Five. Does Chapter One clearly help the reader move in the direction of Chapter Five?
Are important concepts that will be necessary for understanding Chapter Five presented in Chapter One? What a terrible name - a dissertation defense. And, of course, with four or five of them and only one of you it sounds like they may have won the war before the first battle is held. I wish they had called it a dissertation seminar or professional symposium. I think the name would have brought forward a much better picture of what should be expected at this meeting. Regardless of what the meeting is called, try to remember that the purpose of the meeting is for you to show everyone how well you have done in the conducting of your research study and the preparation of your dissertation.
In addition there should be a seminar atmosphere where the exchange of ideas is valued. You are clearly the most knowledgeable person at this meeting when it comes to your subject. And, the members of your committee are there to hear from you and to help you better understand the very research that you have invested so much of yourself in for the past weeks.
Their purpose is to help you finish your degree requirements. Of course other agenda often creep in. If that happens, try to stay on course and redirect the meeting to your agenda. The most obvious suggestion is the one seldom followed. Try to attend one or more defenses prior to yours. Find out which other students are defending their research and sit in on their defense.
In many departments this is expected of all graduate students. If this is not the case for you , check with your adviser to see that you can get an invitation to attend some defenses. At the defense try and keep your focus on the interactions that occur.
Does the student seem relaxed? What strategies does the student use to keep relaxed? How does the student interact with the faculty? Does the student seem to be able to answer questions well? What would make the situation appear better? What things should you avoid? You can learn a lot from sitting in on such a meeting. Find opportunities to discuss your research with your friends and colleagues. Listen carefully to their questions.
See if you are able to present your research in a clear and coherent manner. Are there aspects of your research that are particularly confusing and need further explanation? Are there things that you forgot to say? Could you change the order of the information presented and have it become more understandable?
I find this practice to be most annoying and one that creates considerable problems for the student. You must work closely with your dissertation director. Develop a strategy with the dissertation director regarding how and when your writing should be shared. Only after your dissertation director approves of what you have done should you attempt to share it with the rest of the committee. If you prematurely share sections of your writing with committee members you will probably find yourself in a situation where one committee member tells you to do one thing and another member says to do something else.
What should you do? The best answer is not to get yourself into such a predicament. The committee meeting the defense allows the concerns of committee members to surface in a dialogical atmosphere where opposing views can be discussed and resolved.
As was mentioned earlier, your major professor should be seen as an ally to you and "in your corner" at the defense. So, give both of you a chance to guarantee there is no embarrassment. Meet together ahead of time and discuss the strategy you should use at the defense. Identify any possible problems that may occur and discuss ways that they should be dealt with.
Try and make the defense more of a team effort. This is easy to say but sometimes hard to fulfill. However, the committee members bring a new perspective and may have some very good thoughts to share. Probably the easiest way to deal with new input is to say something like "Thank you so much for your idea.
I will be giving it a lot of consideration. Try and be politically astute at this time. What questions do you have for the student? Questions started to be asked that bounced the student around from one part of the dissertation to another. There was no semblance of order and the meeting almost lost control due to its lack of organization. At that time I vowed to protect my students from falling into such a trap by helping them organize the defense as an educational presentation.
I ask the student to prepare a minute presentation that reviews the entire study. This is done through the help of a series of large pieces of paper, wall charts, that have been posted sequentially around the walls of the room. Each piece of paper contains key words regarding each of the different aspects of the study. Some pieces of paper contain information about the study setting, questions and methodology.
Other pieces of paper present findings and finally there are those pieces that present the conclusions and implications. By preparing these wall charts ahead of time the student is able to relax during the presentation and use the pieces of paper as if they were a road map toward the goal.
No matter how nervous you are you can always let the wall charts guide YOU through your presentation. Lettering is done with a dark marking pen and extra notes are included in very small printing with a pencil that no one can really see.
The wall charts stay up for everyone to see and to help focus attention. Following this structured presentation the committee begins to ask questions, but as can be expected the questions follow along with the wall charts and the whole discussion proceeds in an orderly manner.
If guests are present at the defense, this form of presentation helps them also follow along and understand exactly what was accomplished through the research. Consider tape recording your defense. Using a small portable recorder, record your entire presentation and also the questions and comments of the committee members. This helps in two ways. First, the student has documentation to assist in making suggested changes and corrections in the dissertation.
The student can relax more and listen to what is being said by the committee members. The tape recorder is taking notes! By keeping the paper charts and the tape together, they can be most useful for reviewing the research in future years when a request is made for a presentation. Bring out the tape and the pieces of paper the night before your presentation and you can listen to you make the presentation.
What a good way to review. Well that about does it. By following the above suggestions and ideas I hope it will be possible for you to finish your graduate degree program in a most timely and enjoyable manner. Getting in touch with us will make your day. You ask for academic essay writing help? Relax and let us easily deal with your homework online. Our professional essay writers will take care of it. Chats with us will make your day!
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