Queen's Learning Commons


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Stage 14: Creating defence draft and defending dissertation

Preparing your draft for your defence is your final opportunity to present your dissertation as a coherent, intelligent product to the committee members who will read and evaluate it. And, although the defence is a challenging prospect, remember it is your chance to share your work with interested colleagues, who will give you valuable feedback.

Creating the defence draft and defending your dissertation helps you to:

  • Focus on audience needs and revise your text accordingly
  • Revisit the parts you wrote long ago, which may need significant revision
  • See connections between old and new ideas and revise your dissertation to make a coherent whole
  • Make your ideas clear to your committee, which in turn will result in a better discussion of how to improve your dissertation in the defence

Step 1: Remind yourself of the needs of your primary audience (your advisor and committee), either by consulting them directly or considering their feedback to your initial draft.

Step 2: If necessary to meet the needs of your primary audience, revisit prior research and writing stages.

Step 3: Complete revision to text and graphics, using strategies like those in stages 12 and 13.

Step 4: Consider formatting your document to meet the graduate school preparation requirements, which will save time later.

Step 5: Remind yourself that at this point you are now the "expert" on your topic, and the goal of the defence is to share your expertise and seek feedback from interested readers (no need to be "defencive" about your defence).

Step 6: As you are getting close to completing, you might wish to check the deadline for commencement.