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Dissertation Defense

Consider These Example Defense Questions

  • What do you see as the main contributions of your research for your discipline, practitioners, and/or policy makers?
  • In what ways, if at all, does your study contribute to the existing literature and/or prior research in the field? In what ways does it extend the literature? Contradict the literature? Fill gaps in the literature? Clarify contradictions in the literature?
  • In planning and conducting this study, which major theorists influenced your thinking?
  • What are the conflicting issues in your field (every field has conflicts—hence, the research problem), and what contributed most to your understanding of these issues?
  • In what ways do you expect that your work will clarify the conflicting issues in your field?
  • What motivated you to conduct this study? In other words, what brought you to explore this particular topic?
  • What new learning about qualitative research have you come away with as a result of conducting this study?
  • What, if any, are the unanticipated outcomes of your study? What surprises have you come away with?
  • What new learning about yourself have you come away with having conducted this study? What additional insights has the dissertation experience afforded you?
  • What were the high and/or low points for you in the dissertation experience?
  • If you were to redo this study, how might you conduct this study differently? How might you change your research methodology? Why?
  • How could you build on or extend this research in the future?
  • What are the major strengths and/or limitations of your research design/methodology?
  • What might further strengthen this study?
  • Why did you analyze the data in the way that you did? How might you have analyzed your data differently?
  • What suggestions might you offer somebody about to conduct a study of this nature?
  • How did you arrive at your conceptual framework?
  • What are the theoretical components of your framework?
  • What informed your conceptual framework?
  • How did you decide upon the components that you include in your conceptual framework?
  • How did the components of your conceptual framework assist you in visualizing and explaining what you intended to investigate?
  • How did you use your conceptual framework to design your research and analyze your findings?



Bloomberg, L. D and Volpe, M: Completing your qualitative dissertation: A Roadmap from Beginning to End (Sage 2016).

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