I have been conducting Research Proposal Defenses for my undergraduate students for years and always follow the colleges’ protocols. It is always done smoothly.
And when I presented my Dissertation Proposal two weeks ago, I noticed that the University followed a different strategy, which I guess is a more appropriate one.
My Panel Chair was also the moderator during my defense, and he was the one who arranged it all.
This post is for lecturers, researchers, and faculty members who are arranging proposal defenses in your universities.
FIRST ROUND – Feasibility of the Proposed Study for Dissertation
For the Ph.D. level, it is important to get approval from your Panel Members if the proposed thesis statement of the study can genuinely be of value as a dissertation output. Every panel needs to decide on that and give their approval. By doing this, I realized that no further discussion is wasted because everyone will workout to scrutinize your work so you can come up with a good paper.
Side comments and suggestions that are necessary can also be brought out in this round so that the Panel Chair can take note of it. Discussion should be done on the 3rd round.
If all panel members agree that the paper is for a Dissertation, then the panel chair opens the second round.
SECOND ROUND – Comments, Questions, and Suggestions per Panel from Chapters 1 to 3 of the Manuscript
This is the most nerve-racking round. You need to address all their comments and questions. The good thing about this round is that you’ll know that your paper is being reviewed extensively. I like this one. I like them reading all that I have written and clarifying things with me.
It is an academic healthy discussion, so I am all ears. In this round also, you’ll hear conflicting suggestions from some panel members, so the panel chair takes note of everything. The adviser also records everything as part of the defense minutes.
THIRD ROUND – Settling the Conflicting Comments and Suggestions
From round 1, the panel chair already noted all the comments and suggestions, and in this round, he makes the final decisions (if amenable to all members) on those conflicting ideas. Some matters are also forwarded to the adviser and the candidate. In my case, we were given three (3) things to settle:
- Decide if the qualitative approach will be removed.
- Finalize the sampling frame.
- Option to remove the last question.
While the Panel Chair was enumerating these things, I already had decisions in mind that I needed to forward first to my adviser.
With that, everything ran smoothly. It was very organized, and I am confident that nothing very important was left out in this process.