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Tips and tricks to ace your project defense

 Category:Research Projects  
 By: usericon Nonny01  

 Posted: 9/7/2017 4:13:00 PM


Learn how to deliver a presentation guaranteed to impress the examiners

Project defense or defense of thesis which is also known as Viva is an individual oral examination of a student research work for the award of diploma or degrees. The Viva (project defense) becomes a lot more challenging as the degree or diploma in view goes from Ordinary Diploma to High National Diploma/Bachelor of Science to Postgraduate Diploma/Masters to Doctor of Philosophy. Most Nigerian tertiary institutions invite one or two examiners for the Viva and the rest are lecturers from the institution.

Tips and tricks to ace your project defense

Image Credits: Freepik


At Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy Viva, most of the examiners will be external while the supervisor and one other lecturer from the institution will constitute the panel of assessors. At this level, the external examiners will be interested in testing the depth of your work and possibly would ask incisive questions on apparent weaknesses of the research work. This apparently is to test the students' knowledge of the research subject matter.

As a student/researcher, you should really be able to defend what you have written. Most Nigerian tertiary institutions no longer award degrees to a student without the student defending what he or she wrote. This means that students can no longer just copy and paste information gotten from the library, the internet or sample project materials and submit as his/her project. In order to be able to defend your project, you must be actively involved in the research process.

Here are some useful tips and tricks you can apply in order to have an exciting project defense.

Project presentation best practices and tips to get you ready before and during your project defense

1. Make sure you really know what your research project is all about. Do enough study on your project topic. Go through likely project defense questions. This will make it possible for you know the types of questions to expect during your project defense.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice. Prepare answers to questions you anticipate, and practice answering them out loud. Go over your research report several times. You can also rehearse with your friends.

3. Make eye contact with more than one audience member/panel of assessors throughout the course of your presentation/project defense.

4.In the course of your presentation, inform the audience how you will deal with questions. If you have an option, preserve the questions for the end. During your speech, respond to the questions or arguments that you anticipate your audience to have.

5. When asked a question you do not understand, don't nod your head. The panel of assessors will translate nods as indications that you understood the questioner. Instead, look in the direction of the questioner and ask him/her to repeat the question. In responding to the question, don't start with, "That's a very good question...", this response suggests that the previous questions are inadequate.

6. When asked a question you do not have an instant answer to, repeat/rephrase the question before responding. This will give you enough time to think of an appropriate answer. Make sure your answers support the earlier points you made in your speech.

7. If it is possible, make use of a pointer to show anything on the display screen, sheet, sketch or drawing. This gives your demonstration a professional effect.

8. If a question is aggressive or opinionated, rephrase the question before you respond. You can use phrases such as "If I understand your question...", "Are you asking whether...", "Do you mean..." to rephrase the question. You can also suggest an alternate question using phrases such as: "I think the question should be....", "If I get you correctly.....", In my opinion, a suitable solution which would be appropriate is...", "I think I heard you ask", "You asked me(repeat the question), and I'm not sure, but I think...". Let them see your thought process, they want to see that you can think.

9. Just as before, if you do not comprehend a question, it is advisable to request for explanation than providing an inefficient response. Whenever possible, avoid an argument with an external examiner, but wherever you have solid ideas that you can support, express them.

10. Always have backup disks of your power point presentation software, your slide show, as well as any special fonts that were utilized in its development.

Some tips to remember on the day of your project defense

- Don't panic or become overwhelmed with the project defense process as it could cause you to forget what you just read. Some students even forget their project topic as a result of anxiety.

- Boost your self-confidence before you enter the project defense room.

- On entering the project defense room, greet the panel of assessors.

- Answer the first question thrown at you with lots of confidence. This will set the stage for you to answer the other questions very well.

I wish you a successful project defense.


Anonymous Apr. 1, 2019

Thank you. This will probably help me later! VIVA!




Anonymous Sep. 25, 2020

This is very good gguidance. I am encouraged to prepae for my defence




Anonymous Jul. 22, 2021

I'm really happy to meet with classgist, tnks so much, now I hve full confidence and courage to face my defense also I'm aware with the ward VIVA in line of research process .. wow




Anonymous Oct. 21, 2021

Thank you for the tips it's a very big help for our upcoming defense.




Anonymous Dec. 12, 2022

thank you.. i guess i have to educate them with my high level of grammatical experience. the words i will use for them will be cumbersome.



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