Picture a situation whereby during your project defence, your research work is presented in such a wonderful and impressive way, and your examiners just can’t stop showing their satisfaction through their nods and welcoming gazes at you with non-stop claps from the general audience including your classmates…….Just imagine that! To achieve this, start by reading and applying the guidelines in this article and pray against some unnecessary attacks by some examiners! Yes.
Project defence is considered to be one of the requirements to graduate in many higher institutions all over the world including Nigerian universities and the final phase of completion of projects is defence, which means to convince the examiners concerning your research and its outcome. Gone are those days when students can just copy and paste an article from the internet to be submitted as researches and/or projects. Higher institutions in Nigeria are changing from poor academic grounds to quality and research oriented institutions, which means that you must fulfill all requirements including presentations in order to graduate successfully. Most times, research work does appear complicated and difficult for students, but it is far better to for the project presentation to be well packaged and well delivered, regardless of quality content or not.
However, this article is going to give researchers some helpful tips and guidelines on how you can have a remarkable project presentation and defence. For the purpose of easy understanding, this article will be categorized into what you need to do before the defence day, things to do on the defence day, and finally how you go about the whole process in the defence room.
GUIDELINES TO APPLY BEFORE THE DAY OF PROJECT DEFENCE
Before the day of your project defence, student researcher must ensure that they familiarize themselves with the project aim and the whole project content. You must ensure you are in sync and in good relationship with your research, your study should be of best interest to you. In some cases, supervisors do impose difficult topics on students; where you don’t have option you have to love the topic or get it changed at all cost. It goes without saying that students who hate their research work end up performing poorly in the project defence room. This is not good for you. One way to pick a good research topic is by identifying the best subject that interests you and choose along that line. If you are highly interested in music, you can decide to choose “effect of Hiphop music on lifestyle of youths” as a project topic. It will surprise you how this simple approach will change everything towards the success of your research.
Sufficient research must be done on your research. Before the day of your project presentation and defence, you should endeavour to get materials of similar projects, to help in your topic. Attention must be paid to the research problem area and solved. The dream of having a remarkable presentable and project defence cannot be achieved when you don’t understand the meaning of all the variables that your research is based upon and how they work together. Identify your important keywords, background of the study, historical overview of the study and all the variables (dependent and independent) before the day of your project defence. If your project topic is “effect of Hiphop music on lifestyle of youths” you should be able to know your two variables as ‘Hiphop music’ and ‘lifestyle of youths’.
You should know what stimulated your interest for the study or research. One of the reasons why students perform poorly in presentations and project defence is their inability to recognize why they developed interest in the research area. The reason for picking interest in the work will help you answer many questions from the examiners during your project defence. The problem that needs solution which is the basis of the research must be related to your interest. It is wrong to use money or cost of resources involved as your reason for picking interest in a research work.
Recognizing your strength as well as your weaknesses is a pathway to project defence success. You should maximize your strength to cover and compensate for all your weakness to ensure you exceed pass mark. By saying this, I mean that you should do what you know how to do best.
Finally, you should interact with professionals in your project area and do group discussions with your classmates. Do mock presentation with classmates in a manner that they should criticize what they feel is wrong and ask numerous relevant and irrelevant questions before the main project defence. This will prepare you on what to expect on your project defence day thereby building your confidence for the d-day.
ON THE DAY OF YOUR PROJECT DEFENCE
Several students exhibit some form of panic or the other on the day of project defence, this is sometimes as bad as somebody forgetting his/her project topics in some extreme situations. The following strategies will help you to go about the whole activities of the day in an excellent manner!
Primarily, you must rehearse with classmates over and over again. You must have gathered enough knowledge on the subject area by now, but you can still ask for more help from professionals and seniors around. This will assist you in remembering the important things in the work.
Moreover, you must have excellent self esteem and be very confident before you enter the project defence room. Meditate within yourself that these senior lecturer and professors you are to face are mere human beings like you, and let me tell you, you are more acquainted with your research work than them. So you should be in control of the whole process. See the situation as an avenue to lecture a group of people about your work. Make sure you keep all your fears in a very far corner of your mind and focus on your strengths.
IN THE DEFENCE ROOM
The following tips will be very useful for student researchers when properly applied in the defence room
Ensure to knock first before you enter and greet the examiners with a smiling face while waiting for them to ask their questions.
Answer the questions with enormous confidence and look straight into the examiner’s eyes while answering the questions. This must be done in a very polite way.
Make sure you understand all the concepts you will mention when answering, because it is your answer that typically leads to the next question from the examiner. Sometimes, it is even your answer that gives the examiner the idea of what to ask you next, so be careful and greatly confident. Success is sure!