Preparing For Dissertation Defense
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At the end of a doctoral or master's course in the academic realm, each student is supposed to present a dissertation for the chosen topic. By definition, a dissertation is a long piece of academic writing which is based on research.  In most cases, the research is supposed to be original and approved in advance by a supervisor. Usually, a dissertation has eight major parts which are the introduction, problem statement, objectives, hypothesis, literature review, research design, data collection, analysis,and findings. While preparing for dissertation defense, you need to understand these pats in detail. 


This is the basis of the research and it gives a background on the research topic. it details what to expect in the research and also prepares the readers on the major problem to be addressed. In most cases, the introduction part of a thesis ranges between 500-1000 words although this might vary from one field to another. Towards the end of the introduction section, there is a thesis statement. This is a statement that spells the position taken by the researcher author and therefore it will be expounded in the research.  After the introduction part, the next section is usually the problem statement.

Problem statement

A problem statement is a paragraph detailing the gap of knowledge which is prompting the researcher to undertake a certain study. Usually, this aspect of a dissertation will bring to light the motivation behind given research by highlighting the prevailing problems or weaknesses in a given area. For example, if there is an insufficient study on the relationship between Covid-19 and mental health, the problem statement can be like" there is inadequate research to sufficiently establish a link between Covid-19 and the mental health". Such kind of a statement portrays an existing gap of knowledge and hence it can form the basis of a problem statement. Essentially, this aspect of a dissertation is the core of the entire dissertation as it controls everything. 


Objectives are the intended components that a researcher is aiming to accomplish in the study. There are two main types of objectives; major and minor objectives.  The former is the overall goal that the entire research activities revolve around. The latter focuses on supporting the main objective. To clearly understand this, it is important to have an example.  For the example given above about the relationship between covid-19 and mental health, the main objective can be "to understand whether there is a link between covid-19 and mental health". With a similar topic, the minor objective can be like(a) to understand the number of Covid-19 cases vis-à-vis those of mental health (b) to evaluate themental health issues arising from the direct or indirect impact of Covid-19. As you can see, the minor objectives are supporting the major one.


The hypothesis is simply a statement which a researcher goes out to the field to either approve or disapprove. The hypothesis can either be null or positive. A null hypothesis is stated negatively and usually contains a "no" connotation. For instance, "there is no relationship between covid-19 and mental health" is a null hypothesis. An example of a positive hypothesis is like" there is a relationship between covid-19 and mental health". In most cases, the null hypothesis is the most preferred when it comes to the formulation of a dissertation hypothesis. GradCoach is an online platform where you can learn how to prepare for the defense of the dissertation and it also helps to make your dissertation more effective.

Literature review

A literature review is the ideas presented by other authors on a particular topic. essentially, a dissertation topic will have some aspects which have been covered by other authors. Therefore, a researcher will once in a while refer to such authors and all this is done in the literature review. Therefore, this section is where detailed analysis of the journals, periodicals, books, and other such publications in the subject area of research. Usually, it is recommended to use publications that are not older than 10 years. The purpose of doing this is to tap the latest developments and the data in the subject area. 

Research design

Research design is the study framework that is adopted in a certain study. Such design can be qualitative, quantitative, mixed methodologies, and many others. Usually, the choice of research design is determined by the nature of a given study.

Data collection

This is the gathering of data that can be undertaken using various approaches such as questionnaires, structured surveys, interviews, and many others. The choice of a data collection method is determined by the nature of a given study as well. 


This is where the collected data is subjected to statistical analysis to find out the trends indicated by the collected data. Usually, data analysis is undertaken using various software such as Nvivo, SPSS, and many others. 


As the name suggests, findings are the outcomes from the data analysis. They provide direction when it comes to determining the stand on the hypothesis.

Author(s): Ewing Shane
Published at: 19 Jun 2021 06:37 GMT
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