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How to Prepare for Proposal Defense

Late nights of sleep are not yet over because, as of the writing of this post, I am still preparing for the upcoming proposal defense. I slept a quarter to midnight after sending my final draft of the proposal manuscript.

I woke up feeling groggy.

This is normal. To suffer physically, emotionally, and financially hahaha is expected and NORMAL because if everything comes easy, I can never appreciate the success awaiting me.

So, here are the things I have done, and I am doing to prepare myself for the proposal defense.

READ a lot.

My Panel Chair challenged me to be an expert in my chosen domain of interest. He said that anyone could master the research methodologies, but only a few can master their own choice of expertise. These words struck me and motivated me to read more about HEALTH EQUITY.

It is true that mastering research methodologies can be very helpful in the journey, but expert statisticians can also be consulted for data analysis. With that, I was challenged to read more about my research interest. Study every angle of it. Familiarize the theories related to it, making myself an expert.

Write a lot.

Like I always say, reading and writing are like breathing IN and OUT.

Reading a lot needs an outlet to organize your thoughts. Reading is like shopping for ideas; bringing all those ideas to your home needs organizing. Writing a lot helps. Moreover, you can never prepare for your proposal defense if you do not write your manuscript.

Do not expect all your writings to be perfect. Just write anything, and you’ll be surprised how writing helped you polish your intentions and gave direction to your study.

Talk with your adviser.

Dissertation advisers can also help you prepare your proposal defense by giving tips on improving your paper. One thing my adviser did, which I find very helpful, is when he asked me a lot of questions about my paper and listened to me without counterarguing.

It helped me assess my plans for my dissertation and reevaluate the intentions of my paper. He said that it was my paper. I should be the one to make the decisions. He will be there when these grey areas need to be cleared out.

Talk with the Panel Chair.

Consulting with your panel chair is essential even before the proposal defense to solicit from him/her priorities of the university to make sure that your domain of interest is aligned with the Uni’s research agenda.

Based on my experience, when I consulted my panel chair, he provided more than I asked of him. He provided reading references about my topic of interest and even ironed out my Research Questions. I owe him a lot.

Attend dissertation critiquing.

This one may not always be present and active in your setting, but if there are dissertation cliniques, always find time to attend one. By attending these sessions, you’ll gain a lot of insights that would be very helpful to the paper you are working on.

I will update this post this weekend because tomorrow will be my Defense Day. I hope my proposal gets approved.

Update* My proposal defense ran smoothly, and yes, my paper was APPROVED.


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