Academic papers like final year projects are subject to final justification at the end of the research period; as such, students’ project grades partly depend on the judgment of the defense panel. This doesn’t mean the research students have not done well under the supervision of their instructor; it’s just a way of testing your understanding of the issue you researched on while contributing to knowledge. Secondly, they just have to justifying your personal efforts towards the research projects topics students present before them
While that is necessary, they base their judgment on some yardsticks which you must be careful to note; and ofcourse, you’ll have them on your fingertips at the end of this article. So on your project defense day, your defense panel will look to you for the following;
First, your appearance
The very first impression you’re going to make in the presence of your project defense panel is your appearance. Your make-over, as a lady should be light and moderate; your hair shouldn’t keep you busy or even put off some imaginary hairs around your face; it throws you off balance on stage. For the guys, your hair cut should be neat and simple.
Usually, the dress code is formal- guys in plain trousers, shirts, tie and suits if possible. The ladies should be in skirts and nice blouses or shirts; gown and a blazer are also allowed.
The way you present yourself gives the panel the impression that you are sure of what you have documented or maybe that you aren’t so sure. The panel looks at you in the face, if you maintain eye contact with them, with your heads high, they will be keen to hear you out but if you come shaking and keep avoiding their eye contact, you are simply telling them you are helpless; they will just finish you. Do not read your project to them, present it.
This is where project students put so much effort trying to get familiar with the research work. Be sure to present your research work well beginning from the research background except otherwise instructed. Present your work in simple and good English and be ready to answer every question they throw at you. Demonstrate when possible, smile when you should, give moderate and necessary gestures and try not to loose control of your tone, pitch and intonation.
Your ability to state and proffer solution for the problem you stated.
While presenting, you should not omit stating the ‘statement of problem; meanwhile, your research is only complete if you present a solution which you’ve found out at the end of the research. It makes your research worthwhile.
Method of data gathering/ analysis
The panel will also judge you based on how you organize the method if data gathering and analysis. They will go as far as checking your research population, sample size, sample procedures, instrumentation and tables. Master each of them plus the figures; to avoid mixing things up, scan through your work while presenting to be on the safe side.
Project defense is neither a speech that you come to read, nor a recitation that you need to cram; it’s just something you should have mastered and see through while presenting. Get a reminder sticker, jot down some key points and stick them to the pages of the project copy you are presenting with; that will help you present better and confidently enough.
Never be afraid to search out a page from which you need to confirm an answer. It is your right! Be sensitive when they throw questions at you or make incorrect statements which they expect you to correct. The exercise we are preparing you for is called defense; so make it worth it.