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Prepare for your project defense with these common questions and answers

 Category:Research Projects  
 By: usericon Nonny01  

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 Posted: 8/31/2017 6:59:00 PM

Introduction

Learn how to get prepared for your project defense with these common questions and tips

Project defense can be very easy once you completely understand your research work and are prepared for the questions. During the defense, the panel of assessors will ask you questions to test your knowledge of the research subject matter, depth of your work, the results and conclusions you arrived at. The questions that would be asked will fall within this four categories:

-What is your research project about?
-What did you do?
-What did you find?
-Why does that matter?

 

Prepare for your project defense with these common questions and answers

Image Credit: Freepik
 

Below are some of the likely questions you will be asked in a project defense room. Study these questions and suggested answers. You can also ask previous students in your department and your supervisor to guide you.


Common project defense questions and answers

 

1. Why did you choose this topic?

This might be the first question you will be asked, and you need to have a good response. You should talk about the motivations for the study. Talk about the research problem you wanted to address which made you embark on the study.


2. Briefly, explain what your research project is all about?

To respond to this question, you need to fully understand your research project. Basically, be able to repeat your abstract.


 

3. What is the scope of the study

Here you briefly state the specific aspects of your project topic that was covered.

 

 

4. What is the significance of the study?

To answer this question, you will need to state how your research work will help other researchers, educators, organizations(like the case study used), practitioners and policy makers.


 

5. Did you bridge any gap from your study?

Here you should talk about how your study addressed the existing problems/concerns that made you carry out the research.


 

6. What are your research variables?

This question is asked in order to find out if you really know what your research project is all about. Explain your independent and dependent variable(s) to show them you really grasp the concept of your research topic. Identify the variables in your project topic, define and explain them.


 

7. What research methodology did you use?

This is usually the chapter three of your project report. To respond to this question, you should briefly state the research design procedure you adopted for the research. Talk about the data collection methods and sampling techniques employed in the research.


 

8. Why did you use that research methodology?

This is where you state the reason(s) for the choice of research methodology used. For example, if you used the survey research method, you can state reasons such as: no interviewer bias, cost-effective, it enabled you (the researcher) to collect information from the sample without influencing the population of the study e.t.c


 

9. Why do you think your research is reliable?

To answer this question, simply tell your audience/panel of assessors that the threats to research reliability(which are participants error, participant bias, research error and researcher bias) did not occur during the research. Or you can simply say that you made sure the threats were reduced to the barest minimum.


 

10. Why do you think your research is valid?

To answer this question, simply tell your audience/panel of assessors that the findings from your study can be generalized to other relevant settings, group or case study.


 

11. In what way(s) does your research project contributes to knowledge?

This question is similar to your significance of study. You should talk about how your research is aimed at addressing a problem that was not addressed by previous researchers in your field of study. You should also briefly state how your project will advance understanding in your research field.


 

12. What are the limitations encountered

No research project is perfect. It is common for at least one limitation to be identified. To answer this question, talk about the weaknesses that were out of your control. You can talk about how weaknesses such as the short time frame for the research, lack of research studies/materials on the topic, lack of available data, the combination of lectures, exam and project research, limited sample size and selection, e.t.c impacted the analysis of your research data.


 

13. Which programming language did you use to write your program? (for computer science students)

State the programming language and database used in the development of your software/program. If you did not design the program yourself or you were assisted by a friend or colleague, find out from the person which programming language was used. You might also ask the person to give you a crash course on the programming language.


 

14. Show us how your software works (for computer science students)

Make sure you are familiar with how the software works. Also, be sure that there are no errors in the software. Go ahead and show the panel of assessors how the software functions. You can also show them some records which you entered previously.


 

15. What source of data was employed for the research?

Here, you simply state the data collection methods that were used in the study. You should state if primary sources such as questionnaires, interview, observation OR secondary sources such as text books, journals, articles, e.t.c were used. If you combined primary and secondary sources, briefly talk about it.


 

16. What are your findings?

Show the descriptive results from the study in a convincing and clear style. Make sure your findings refer to your research objectives/questions.


 

17. Based on your findings what are your recommendations/suggestions?

This is where you talk about the importance and implications of your findings from three levels namely: Research(various ways other researchers can improve or refine the study), Theory(the new contributions that you are adding to the body of knowledge) and Practice(how the information gotten from your study can make practice better, improve the operational procedures, improve policy making).

Note: Avoid the temptation to make recommendations that are not supported by your findings. Do not recommend based on your beliefs.


 

18. What is the strongest point in your project?

The duration of the defense might just be 10 - 15 minutes, as such the questioners will not have the time to ask you about every detail. They will want to focus on the major ideas and ask you the most important aspects of your research. Be ready to answer.


 

19. If you could change something regarding your study, what would it be?

The answer to this question can be gotten from the limitations of your study. You can give answers such as:
1. Given the constraints(like the short time frame for the research) I was working with, this was what I was able to do but if I could do more, this is what I would have done.

2. In doing this I learned a problem with this kind of data collection. Next time, I will do it this way.


 

20. What questions do you have for us

You can ask them if there any revisions they want you to make in your report. Ask them to summarize the major revisions, so you can take some notes.


 

21. Do you have any closing comments

Thank the panel of assessors and let them know that the revisions/corrections that were given (such as rewriting the conclusion, tables/graphs that are not in the right format, something you said during the defense and they what you to include it in the report or some other problem they noticed you did not capture) would be implemented and shown to your supervisor.


 

In a project defense you are expected to:

- Present yourself as a scholar in the discipline and an authority on your subject.
- Cogently and clearly explain your work.
- Have a conversation with the panel of assessors.
- Defend any idea that might be disagreed upon.(That is why it is called a project defense).


 

Project Defense tips

1. Be academically, mentally and physically prepared for your presentation.
2. Practice, practice, practice. Rehearse several times with the equipment you will use for your presentation.
3. Have a thorough understanding of the nature of your research problem.
4. Make eye contact with more than one member of the panel of assessors during the course of your presentation.
5. Don't speak too fast. Talk calmly with confidence.
6. Bring a copy of your project report with you for reference.

Learn more tips and tricks to ace your project defense


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