How to Prepare a Successful Dissertation Proposal Defense

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For students seeking to get their doctorate degrees, the dissertation is a major hurdle. While writing the dissertation is the most challenging part of the process, the work actually begins long before you start composing. At many schools, the first thing a doctoral candidate must do is present a dissertation proposal defense. This process begins with a presentation and concludes with a written proposal, making it a multi-faceted process that will take some focus to properly complete.

1 Open

Open with an explanation of the purpose of your research. Start by explaining why your research is useful. Generally this section will simply include how your specific research will advance understanding in your subject area.

2 Explain compelled you

Explain what compelled you to study the issue. Provide an anecdotal explanation of what drew you to the specific area of study, explaining how you came up with the idea concisely. Avoid going into too much detail in this section as conciseness is key.

3 Demonstrate an understanding of the topic

Demonstrate an understanding of the topic. The dissertation committee wants to see that you already have some knowledge. Explain to them what you already know, showing them that you have a sound enough base in the subject area to allow you to delve deeper into the topic that you have selected.

4 Predict some logical questions

Predict some logical questions and prepare answers. After you make your presentation to the dissertation committee, they will likely pose some questions. Though you may not be able to predict every question that they could ask, you can predict some and prepare answers to better prepare for this section of the process.

5 Prepare a written proposal

Prepare a written proposal. Follow your school's proposal format when writing your dissertation proposal. Have this proposal prepared when you head in to give your presentation as you will likely be expected to give it to the committee at the conclusion of your presentation.

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.