Defending Your Project – Project/Dissertation Defense Tips
Obiakoeze, Onyeka Joshua,May 2014

Writing a project is a vital and inspiring task one will encounter as a Bloggraduating student, and thereafter, face the part called “Project Defense”. Project defense may not really sound much of a tall order, owing to the fact that before one finally gets to final year, there must have been several seminars and presentations. But they may not be likened to that very exclusive day of your project defense. Yes, this is true because much attention is given at this time and remember we are discussing about the final stage of the entire period of your academic year in school. Sensitive, isn’t it? Well, that leads us to the relevance of this article. Now let’s look at some very important necessities to making an awesome presentation and gaining good grades.
During that project defense, you will be required to present and defend your project in front of your supervisor, faculty project committee (comprising most of the lecturers in your department), and a very big number of audience (that includes strangers, members of your department and few friends). You can expect to be asked a number of questions after your presentation, and you need to be well prepared with the knowledge and skill necessary to answer the questions confidently, which also has a higher percent of marks awardable to you.

Acceptable Dress Code
When defending your project, you will need to prove to your audience and supervisor that you are capable of producing more broad-ranging, in-depth pieces of scholarly writing. With this in mind, you should look the like. You will need to wear professional attire, this has to be comfortable on you also because the last thing you want is to distract your audience from the masterpiece which is your thesis by tugging, stretching and dancing at cloth-discomfort while you are presenting your defense or fielding questions. Nor do you want to disrupt your own ability to concentrate by squeezing into those “cute” shoes.
It can therefore be believed that a generally accepted outfit for a more corporate outfit is a complete black suit (meaning the materials of the jacket and pant/skirt must be uniform in colour and stuff) with same colour of  belt and shoes (preferably black). Then a clean plain shirt with an official colour (preferably white, skyblue or lite-pink) with a plain or striped black or navy blue tie for the gents, then the ladies may choose to have simple neck chain or button up to the neck depending on the shirt design. Then a lady will need to wear a simple hair-do, with simple accessories to avoid unnecessary side attractions.

Defense Rehearsal
When preparing for your defense, get yourself familiar with the guidelines and requirements put into place by your department. Speak with your supervisor to be sure that you know exactly what is expected of you. Each member of the committee should have a copy of your project at least a couple of weeks before your defense, this includes your abstract. Talking with people who have already defended their projects can be extremely helpful, as it can help you with confidence as well as a stronger sense of the expectations you are facing. Furthermore, attending the defenses of others will afford you the opportunity to observe interactions between students and members of the committee, hear the types of questions you may face, and identify the characteristics of strong and weak project defenses; it will provide insight on what to do and what not to do.
When it comes to defending your project paper orally in front of your supervisor and committee members, practice can really make perfect. Take any chance you can get to discuss your project with some friends. If you can find someone to sit through a practice defense, take advantage of it. Your audience may ask some of the questions the committee is liable to ask, this can help you identify the portions of your defense that need to be honed.
Try to create a good time with your supervisor before you defend your project, you should sit down for a strategy session. Use this time to organize and plan your defense. Pay good close attention to your asupervisor's reactions to your project and heed any advice he or she will give you. Because he or she has heard many defenses and knows what the committees look for. Having your thesis defense structured well ahead of time will make you feel more comfortable and focused during your presentation.

Know your project paper lines
The project defense is your opportunity to take the stage and to demonstrate the growth and progress you have experienced in your years as a graduating student. This is your chance to showcase your research abilities, as well as to finish your degree requirements. Defending your thesis statement can help you obtain helpful feedback and recommendations that you can incorporate into your final draft.
Make sure to get across the fundamentals while defending your project. First, state your thesis/research question. You need to describe the importance of your topic and detail how your research was conducted, including any methods of measurement you have used. The major findings of your project should be made clear, as well as how your thesis contributes to the body of knowledge in your field. Finally, you must state the conclusions and recommendations you have made based on your research.
You should expect, in some way, to be required to answer the rude question like “So what?” “What has your research and writing accomplished, that may be of importance in your field?” Professors will say that graduate students tend not to be bold enough, in making claims for what they have discovered or compiled, during the process of working on their project. If you don't express confidence about your findings in the project, your committee may develop their own doubts about the value of your work.
Get aware of the fact that you probably know your topic better than most or all of the professors who comprise the committee. You've likely been researching and envisaging your topic for well over a year, and the material will be fresher and more immediate for you than for them. If you pause to think about this, it should give you extra confidence going into the project defense. At the same time, the committee members will likely know your field in a much broader sense than you. They may ask you to specify where in the larger scheme of things, where in your field, your project will fit. That's where the big "So What?" question will arise during your defense. You have been warned, prepare for it.
Furthermore, one question one should anticipate from your project defense committee is, "What do you plan to do with the project, beyond the four walls of the school?" Do you anticipate to revise it for publication as a book? Do you intend to do further research on your topic once you've gotten a job coming out of school? Do you intend to seek grants to help you further develop your project? Do you intend to cooperate with another scholar before you offer your work to a broader audience?

The Presentation
Stage fright at this stage is very inevitable, but no matter how nervous you may be, be sure to focus and to listen with care to the questions posed to you. Ensure to take a moment to pause before you give your answer if you need to. It is not about quick responses, but they are looking for meaningful ones. You should expect to be asked to address the more controversial aspects of your project. Keep in mind that you don't have to defend everything about your project. If you don't have an answer to a question, don't fake it or make any promises, reply that the question is interesting and that you will consider it in the future. Remember that defending your project requires you to be political to a certain extent.
If you are having trouble with managing your fears while defending your project, you may find it helpful to use visual aids during your presentation. They can help you stay focused and confident, as well as help you pace yourself. Visual aids, if you use them, should clearly state the research problem, objectives, approaches, and the contributions of your project work.
One of the most crucial things to remember when defending your project is to maintain a level of passion about your research. If you are passionate about your work, your supervisor and committee will take note of this, and it will highlight the importance of your project. After all, who isn't passionate about the concluding event of a long and difficult journey?
After you have presented your defense, you will either be told that you have passed, that your project needs minor revisions, that your project needs to be resubmitted, or that it has not been approved. The last two possibilities are rare, especially if you have followed the project writing process properly, and if you have stayed in meaningful contact with your supervisor. If you have been diligent, there really should be few surprises.


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