Q: What questions are likely to be asked during a thesis defense?
I don’t know if my original framework tallies with my topic. Also, how do I go about the statement of the problem? Can anyone help?
You have three queries in all – about thesis defense, original framework, and problem statement. Let me answer them one by one.
Thesis defense: The questions asked in a defense are around the core content of your thesis. If, for instance, your paper is about how social media debates cause increased negativity among millennials, expect questions on ‘social media debates’ and ‘negativity among millennials’. In addition, there could be questions from the broad fields of your study, in this case, sociology (how millennials use social media), psychology (mental health issues among millennials), and technology (social media). Apart from assessing your knowledge of the topic, there might be questions to determine how you think as a scholar. So, even if you do not know an answer to a query, you can say what you think it might be.
Original framework: There are two types of framework, theoretical and conceptual. A theoretical framework is an established framework, such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. A conceptual framework is an original framework, created by the author of a study. So, by ‘original’ framework, I understand you mean this is something you have come up with. In either case, the best way to arrive at a framework is to do a thorough literature review of the subject of your study. This will help you understand the existing knowledge and gaps and acquaint you with relevant frameworks. Once you have identified some frameworks, you can evaluate their pros and cons and then choose the one most appropriate for your study. As the author, you would be the best person to know if the framework works.
Problem statement: A problem statement is a brief, clear, and precise explanation of the issue under study. Conducting a thorough literature review can also help you arrive at an appropriate problem statement. Once you complete the review, you will have greater clarity on your study problem. You may have identified gaps that you can explore further or you may wish to come up with a better solution than the existing one. To begin, break down the problem into smaller problems or questions, making them as specific as possible. Analyze and evaluate each question until you have one that is relevant to your study and also new for the area.
For more details on how to go about writing a problem statement, refer to these resources:
- 8 Things to remember when writing a statement of the problem
- The basics of writing a statement of the problem for your research proposal
- How to write a statement of problem for your research proposal
Additionally, here are some resources for conducting and writing an effective literature review:
- 5 Tips to write a great literature review
- A young researcher's guide to writing a literature review
- Tips for effective literature searching and keeping up with new publications
All the best for your thesis and defense!