Example questions from doctoral defense of Mikko Vesisenaho
Doctoral Defense of
Seugnet Blignaut (Professor)
Potchestroom, South Africa
• In one sentence, what is your research
• What did you discover through your
research that we do not already know from
the existing knowledge base on your
• What are the epistemological
commitments that underpin your
research strategy and approach?
• How did these epistemological
commitments guide and influence your
Research Design & Methodology
• Explain the research design of your thesis
• What is Development Research? Why DR?
• How does it differ from Action Research?
• Why did you not use AR?
• In retrospect, how would your change your
research design to place more emphasis on
the research and less on the design?
• Did you make use of mixed methodology
research, or did you pragmatically employ
both qualitative and quantitative
approaches to best capture data?
• What did you do marry these two
contradicting research approaches?
• How do you define your position as a
researcher in a “mainly qualitative study”?
• Has the CATI-model been an external
framework, or is it an actual result of this
• How does it relate to other developmental
• How did your case study interact with the
• What were your reasons for selecting
constructivist learning as part of your
• Your research participants came from an
authoritarian society. What did you do to
foster constructivist learning principles?
• In retrospect, would you have considered
other underpinning philosophies for
teaching and learning computer science
Sustainable development: “… development
that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs …”
• In retrospect, how would you build onto
• What are your expectations for
sustainable development through your
project in Tanzania?
• Provide a clear picture of the context in
which this case study took place.
• What were the outcomes of you needs
assessment in terms of contextualization?
• How did the context influence the selection
of computer science course assignments?
• How did you evaluate the assignments in
terms of specific contexts and a
constructivist learning approach?
“Metaphorical concepts are those which are
understood and structured not merely on their own
terms, but rather in terms of other concepts. This
involves conceptualizing one kind of object or
experience in terms of a different kind of object or
experience … Abstract concepts are defined
metaphorically in terms of concepts that are more
concrete and more clearly structured on their own
terms.” (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, p.195)
• Why did you choose a traditional African
village as an “instructional interface
metaphor” to carry the learning of abstract
concepts such as programming language
via foreign objects such as i-blocks?
• How did you go about contextualizing the
local learning content through the i-
• What is the single most important
theoretical or methodological invention in
your research design?
• Did this finding surprise you?
• Did we not know this before?
• How is this finding going to influence
your future research?
• How in this research have you gone about
protecting yourself from finding what you
expected? That is, what specific
strategies are built into your research
design to yield the possibility that you
might be wrong?
Transferability of Research
• What are the main achievements of your
• What has your thesis contributed to the
knowledge in the field of I4D?
• How can the outcomes of this research be
transferred to other developing learning
Value of Your Research
• Explain and position the value and
contribution of your research in terms of
the global tensions between the constructs
of developing socio-economic inclusion
Value of Your Research
• Does your research speak only to
information technology sciences, or also to
other paradigms such as software
engineering, information systems,
educational technology or instructional
• Do you see this as a challenge or as an