Q: How do I defend my research?

1 Answer to this question

It is not clear what you mean by “defend research.” It could mean either defending your thesis (during the thesis defense) or defending or justifying your research in a research paper.

If you mean defending your thesis, here are some broad strategies you can employ:

  • Know your thesis very well. As you have spent considerable time working on your thesis, you should be very familiar with your thesis. Nevertheless, before the defense, spend some time going through it again.
  • Ensure your supervisor has reviewed and approved your thesis. This is to ensure they are able to guide you appropriately in the run-up to the defense. Read this researcher story for the negative consequences of a supervisor not having reviewed the thesis before the defense.
  • Prepare responses to potential questions that may be asked during the defense. Based on your topic, prepare a few questions the examiners are likely to ask you during the defense and your responses to them. In case you are asked unfamiliar questions, do provide a response to the best of your understanding because, apart from your knowledge of the topic, examiners are also keen to know how well you think as an academic scholar.

For more information on preparing for a thesis defense, you may refer to the following resources:

Now, if you mean justifying your research, you need to talk about the rationale or justification of the study in the Introduction section of your paper. You need to talk about why you believe this research is needed, what gaps in existing research it will address, and how it will add to the existing knowledge around the topic. For this, you first need to review existing studies during your literature review.

For more information on writing the rationale or justification of the research, you may refer to the following resources: