Defending Thesis Statement

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This statement should not be a mere reiteration or repetition of the thesis or the thesis abstract.

It should be about 10-15 minutes in length and should, in no case, exceed 20 minutes.

In some countries or institutions, the convention is for thesis defences to be public events where you will give a lecture explaining your research, followed by a discussion with a panel of examiners (opponents).

Both your examiners and the audience are able to ask questions.

While I’m getting the other posts in this series ready, please let me know what you think about propositions. Does it add something to the Ph D defense or is it a waste of time?

If you are are doing a Ph D in the Netherlands, are you thinking about what your propositions might be?In this series of posts I share my experiences with writing propositions, which might give you some inspiration for writing yours.To get started, I present to you my propositions: [PDF] As you can see, propositions 1-4 are about my thesis and pattern recognition in general.The Chair of the defence will invite the student to make a brief oral presentation, highlighting the major issues dealt with in the thesis, the conclusions which have been reached, and the significance of the findings.This presentation should last 10-15 minutes; it must not be more than 20 minutes and should be much shorter if the student has already given a public seminar on research results attended by the Examining Committee.In the upcoming posts, I plan to share more about a few of these propositions.I will also write about the brainstorming process that I went through, and what I think about this tradition now that it’s all behind me.Students are judged on their ability to speak in an informed way about their research and to respond clearly and cogently to questions on the thesis (results and methodology) and on the thesis topic (knowledge of the academic field and related literature).Standards prevailing will be those of the discipline and the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.It is a way to show your personality, by voicing your concerns about a particular topic, or even by slipping in a bit of humor.But apart from being a creative outlet, propositions are also rumored to be difficult to write.


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