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Mike Ahearne John Hulland- Proposal and Defense



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Mike Ahearne John Hulland- Proposal and Defense

  1. 1. Surviving Both the Proposal and Final Dissertation Defenses Mike Ahearne (Houston) & John Hulland (Georgia) AMA DocSIG Presentation, February 21, 2014
  2. 2. Agenda •  Committee considerations •  The dissertation proposal •  Managing the final defense
  3. 3. What to Look For From Your Committee Members •  Willingness to devote sufficient time to review and give feedback on drafts •  Committed to seeing you get done in a timely manner •  Provide some form of “added value”, be it methodological, conceptual, substantive, supportive and/or reputational •  Good synergy with other members and works well with the chair
  4. 4. The Dissertation Proposal •  A formal step in the dissertation •  Encompasses full scope of dissertation •  Timing –  Not before you are ready to discuss – in some detail – all facets of dissertation (e.g., all three essays) –  Don’t wait too long! –  At a minimum (pre-AMA) –  Rely on advice of your chair
  5. 5. The Dissertation Proposal - 2 •  Typically involves a full presentation of proposal, followed by Q&A •  Often open to the public •  Formal decision by committee –  If approved, represents a “contract” between you and committee –  Good chair will not allow student to defend proposal that is not solid –  If not approved, push for specific, detailed feedback –  Represents an opportunity to cement committee commitment
  6. 6. The Final Dissertation Defense •  The final formal step •  Typically involves a full presentation of the dissertation, followed by Q&A •  Often open to the public •  Formal decision by committee
  7. 7. Managing the Final Defense •  Plan to have a final draft version of the dissertation in (internal) committee members hands at least three weeks before submission date •  Submission is often 2-3 weeks before actual defense date •  This will give you time to make final changes (if necessary), and it escalates committee member commitment
  8. 8. Managing the Final Defense - 2 •  Work with your chair to decide when it’s time to schedule a defense •  Do not ignore her/his advice!
  9. 9. The Defense Day •  Accept the fact that you will be nervous •  If you have chosen the committee (and especially the chair) wisely, they will be supportive •  Expect them to challenge you during the defense •  Remember, if you have taken true ownership of your topic and dissertation, you are the expert
  10. 10. Afterwards •  If successful –  Congratulations! –  Expect to be asked to make some changes –  Make sure you fulfill all of the bureaucratic requirements of your institution –  Enjoy yourself (for a little while), you deserve it!