Most Common Research Project Defense Questions: Presentation Tips
Many students get frightened about what to expect during their final year project defence. Many questions run through students’ minds as they prepare to face the academic panel for their final year project defence. In this article, we will be looking at some of the common questions that are asked during the defence.
Top 25 Likely Project Defense Questions and Answers
Below are likely questions you may face in a defense room. Take note of these questions and suggested answers; do good by researching more and not limiting yourself to just these questions.
Question 1: In a few sentences, can you tell us what your study is all about?
This appears to be the easiest question, right? However, a lot of lecturers have stated that this is the question many students get stuck on. Nevertheless, it is a simple question, but a bit complex. The answer to the question is mastering the contents of each chapter. It is a summary of the study; thus, you should master the abstract.
Question 2: What is your motivation for this study?
This is one of the trickiest questions the panellists will ask you. It will go a long way to clear any doubt about the relevance of your research. This question can come in another way as.
What is the Research Problem?
The answer is the elaboration of the problem of the research. Your desire to answer this problem becomes a motivation for the study. Kindly avoid stating the need to graduate or financial reasons as the motivation for the study.
Question 3: How will this study contribute to the body of knowledge?
During your defence, you might be asked how your final year project will contribute to the existing body of knowledge; at this stage, you will highlight the method employed for the research or theoretical framework or any unique point of the research to defend your standpoint.
Question 4: What is the significance of the study?
Aside from stating the contribution your final year project is making to knowledge, you will also have to state why the project is important to society at large. You are presenting a project, right? But have you ever stopped to ask yourself why it is relevant to society? Think about that and make people realize that what you are proposing is a real differentiator.
This is a very important moment, as it is a chance to show why your final year project should be accepted and the impacts it can bring. Believe me: you can pass if you can be very convincing on this issue.
Question 5: Did you bridge any gap from your study?
Before you embark on any research work, you must have identified a gap you want to fill. Your ability to cover existing knowledge gaps guarantees that you will ace your defence. However, you must be convincing enough and provide valid evidence to back up your point that you fill a lacuna when facing the defence panel.
Question 6: What limitations did you encounter?
Indeed, this question is quite easy; however, it is complicated. When this question is posed, it is not to sympathize with you but rather for you to highlight the weaknesses of your project. Hence, to ace this question, you must be intentional to avoid selling yourself short. Avoid highlighting limitations in your methodology and analysis, as this could be used to state that your research is not well conducted. Rather highlight general limitations such as the time consumption between carrying out research and attending lectures, financial implications of the research.
Question 7: What are your findings?
When asked this question, the aim is to know whether you have achieved the research objectives. This is the time for you to discuss the things you have discovered during the study. Your research findings should always be in sync with your research objectives/questions.
Question 8: What Methods or Sampling Technique did you employ?
In most projects, the answer to this question is the mastery of the third chapter of the project, which is always the methodology. You must be ready to defend the type of sample you choose.
Question 9: Why choose this method?
Following from the above, you must convince the panel why this particular method is the best for your study. At this stage, you should quote similar works that employed the same methodology.
Question 10: Based on your research findings, what are your recommendations?
For most research work, it is important to recommend that many students have been scored low during project defence due to the inability to make recommendations based on the work they have done. Hence, it is highly recommended that you master the recommendations before going for the defence.
Question 11: Based on your findings, what areas will you suggest for future research?
This type of question is to test the mastery of your field of focus. For instance, if you studied the Foreign Policy of Nigeria for Africa between 1960-1967, a good area for further study is to understand Nigeria’s Foreign Policy for Africa after the Civil War.
Question 12: How can your research study be put into practice?
This question is to understand the practicability of your research work. This is quite easy for students in the sciences; however, it is quite challenging for students in the humanities, social sciences, and sometimes the management sciences due to the abstract nature of the researched topics. Nevertheless, try to juxtapose the project with the present environment for the defence panel to be able to relate to your work.
Question 13: How would you summarize your study to a practitioner in a few sentences?
This question is aimed at displaying your ability to pass on technical information. Your confidence and lucidity help you to ace this question.
Question 14: What would you change if you were to conduct the study again?
This is a very tricky question. Like the study’s limitation, it is also asked to highlight the weak points of the research work. So be careful of what you say.
Question 15: What is your measurement Instrument?
To put it simply, what data collection method did you use for your study? To answer this question, you state whether you used secondary sources or questionnaires.
Question 16: What are your research variables?
At this point, you must be fully prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to the defence panel that you understand what your research is all about. You should identify and explain the independent and dependent variables/themes in your project, thesis or dissertation to ace your project defence.
Question 17: What are your research questions?
This is a pretty straightforward question. When you master the statement of the problem, it won’t be difficult to answer the questions which emanated and formed the basis of your research objectives.
Question 18: What do you plan to do with your research project after Graduation?
At this point, the panellists just want to know your plan after the program. So, feel free to speak your mind. If you have plans to publish your project, this is the best time to say it, and maybe a professor on the panel will be interested in helping you.
Question 19: What source of data was employed for the study?
When asked this question, you state clearly whether you used primary sources (interviews, eye-witness accounts), secondary sources (books, journals, newspaper), or you employed both for your research work. It is advisable to be honest because those who asked you the question are experts in this field. To ace this question, you should be able to summarise your literature review.
Question 20: What theories or theoretical framework is your study based on?
Before going for your defence, ensure you understand at least two theoretical frameworks that can be used to back up your research. As straightforward as this question appears to be, it has proven to be one of students’ biggest undoing’s during project defence. Hence, prior to the defence, you can ask your supervisor for help.
Question 21: How would you relate your findings to existing theories on the study?
The best way to anticipate this question is by reading wide. By so doing, you will get to know the existing theories in that particular field of research. The capacity to draw a nexus between your work and previous works, whether they agree to it or not, serves as a form of validation for your project, thesis or dissertation.
Question 22: What recommendations do you have for future research?
At this point, your problem skill is being examined with this question. Before the defence, you should have identified areas in your project that need more attention.
Question 23: What is the scope of the study?
When asked this question, know you have been provided an opportunity to delimit your project, thesis or dissertation. This is inarguably the cheapest question during project defence.
Question 24: What question(s) do you have for the committee?
This question may seem unlikely when considering Nigeria’s educational environment; nevertheless, when asked such a question, it is a chance to interact with members of the panel; hence, ask some constructive questions that you might have prepared before the defence or during the defence. Be cautious of the way you ask the question, don’t make jokes during the period; the aim is not to make the panellists look stupid.
Question 25: Do you have any closing comments?
At this point, all you need to do is to appreciate the members of the panel for their time, and questions asked so far. Highlight the lessons you have learned throughout the defence period and how you plan to effect corrections that have been highlighted during your defence. Most times, this attitude goes a great length in reassuring the supervisors and examiners that you understood all that had been discussed.
Defense Preparation Tips
Many times, students tend to fumble and panic when asked a difficult question during project defence. However, the best approach to answer the question is to repeat the question or, better still, rephrase it so that you will understand better. By doing this, you buy yourself some time to think and find the appropriate answer.
Another tip is for you to understand the process that led to your work’s conclusion or how the data used in your work is analysed.
Also, do not risk speaking quickly; the board may not understand some part of the speech or even be confused. Speak slowly, clearly, and in an appropriate tone of voice that does not show nervousness and no need to interrupt to ask you to speak louder. Be firm. Speak with motivation, but don’t make jokes during the presentation.
Finally, keep an eye on the clock to not be late; otherwise, the chance to defend the project, thesis or dissertation is lost.