31 Academic Research Project Defense Questions and How To Answer Them.

former President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo During his PHD thesis defense in the National Open University of Nigeria. copyright dailypost.ng

The following are the top 31 academic research project defense questions that you may encounter during an academic research project defense. Please use this guide to assess yourself to see if you are actually ready for your research defense. Observe these questions and the recommended steps to answering them. We went through the record of past academic research project defense questions,   I am also advising that you go further and ask past students about some of their academic research project defense questions they encountered during their own defense just make sure you do not restrict yourself to only these questions.

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Question 1: What is Your Research About?

That this is the first academic research project defense question you are asked does not mean you should take it lightly every academic research project defense question is geared towards testing how well you understand your research study area. Here they will ask you to explain to them in few sentences what your research is all about. The question is basic right? Well this is a part of the academic research project defense process that gets most students choking for words. At any rate the questions is simple and as a student either BSc or MSc or PHD ,as a student during your academic research project defense the least that is expected of you is for you to know what your research is all about.

To answer this academic research project defense question, you have to know everything about your research project from the first chapter to the last. To answer this question all you have to do is to give them a summary of the research, at this stage your abstract is your friend. Yes! Before going for your academic research project defense as an undergraduate or post graduate you must have mastered the content of your abstract, you should at this time be able to boldly pour out the content of your abstract to them. And this is one reason why I have always advised that while writing your research your abstract should never be taken for granted. It is the synopsis of the work and a better understanding of your abstract is all you need to get past this often embarrassing question.

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Question 2: Why did you decide to undertake this specific research?

Watch out! Take your next step carefully. This particular academic research project defense question  can be extremely complicated and it goes a long way to persuade the board that you have done a relevant study. The question could also come in a more direct form and they could just ask you, “What is the research problem”

This is how you should answer this question, you may choose to expound on the issue(s) examined in the study. Your decision to tackle this problem turns into your inspiration. Try not to state monetary reasons or the need to graduate as an inspiration as you may effortlessly go off point.  this questions could give birth to the following questions so just prepare for them:

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Questions 3: What are the motivations for your research?

Question 2 and 3 may look similar but answering them may reveal a slight difference. You could be motivated by solving an existing problem to embark on this research, you could be motivated by the need to contribute to the body of knowledge in the field and you could also be motivated by professional curiosity.

Question 4: Why is the problem you have tackled worth tackling:

not all research-able problems are worth tackling with a full academic study please note. You should be able to identify the problem being tackled as relevant enough to warrant the conduct of an academic investigation into its resolution.

Question 5: What are the main aims, questions, hypotheses?

do not worry too much about this particular academic research project defense question if you are an undergraduate. this question may only come up during a PHD defense. It can be easily answered using the tips in question

 

Question 6: How will this study contribute to the body of knowledge?

This is one question that has not changed over the years. At this point you are required to justify how your study will add to the existing body of knowledge. This is the part where your method, contextual analysis or any special model or conceptual framework that was utilized as part of the investigation should be used to defend it.

 

Question 7: What is the significance of the study?

Much the same as expressing how your study will contribute to the existing body of knowledge, you should explain the significance of your research. To answer this question, you should explain how your study will help the government to approach the creation and development of policies, how it will help different students who may wish to conduct research on the topic and how organizations and the general public will profit from your study.

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Question 8: Did you bridge any gap from your study?

 

You must use your academic research project to solve an existing problem, now what is the problem, at this stage you must define the issues that your research was conducted to approach, you must identify existing knowledge gaps in your research are for example a research on  automated teller machine usage in Nigeria, from this example the knowledge gap could be the fact that up until your research no scholar or academician have attempted to provide us with the necessary facts behind the use of Automated teller Machines in Nigeria and because of this financial institutions and the Government do not have the necessary scholastic contribution to their decision making process on this issue. If you follow this example you have already identified a knowledge gap

Question 9: What limitations did you encounter?

This is another straightforward however precarious inquiry.  To answer this question, you should be watchful with words as you may ensnare yourself. Be sufficiently watchful not to offer out yourself. Try not to talk about the limitations in your data analysis procedures as this may infer that your examination might be one-sided or not well researched. Use straightforward and more obvious limitations like the issues you encountered joining addresses and task as opposed to restricting your investigation.

 

Question 10: What are the principal findings of this research project?

Briefly explain the outcome of your study. Please it is very important at this stage that you link the outcome of your study to your research question to avoid veering out of point.  Connect your findings to your research goals/questions. This will make the board to effectively be carried along.

Question 11: How do your findings compare with other research in this field?

List out your findings and list out the findings of other projects in the same field and highlight the gaps that your research serves to fill. Explain how the findings of other researchers only serve to compliment but not to invalidate your research.

 

Question 12: Comment on and Justify Your Research methodology.

To get past this part of your academic research defense, you must have a sound knowledge of your Chapter 3. Explain your research methodology to them and the reason behind your choice of that method. At this point your ability to justify your sample size and technique will be highly rewarded here.

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Question 13: Why choose this method?

You should be able to at this stage explain the reasons behind your choice of method. If you are going to defend your research then you are definitely going to defend your research methodology and this is not as difficult as it may seem, just quotes studies where this method have been used in the past to support the reason behind your choice of method.

Question 14: In light of your discoveries/findings what are your recommendations?

Recommendations are indispensable in each study. You must, make recommendations. But I believe if you have survived the academic research defense process up to the point where you are asked this question then you won’t have any problem, when you are asked to reveal your recommendations.

Question 15: where did you go wrong?

Again, you must avoid exposing your weak point. You can point out obvious mistakes like grammatical errors and typographies but do not ever pick a hole in your method or statistics. Avoid exposing the weak points in your research.

 

Question 16: Based on your findings what areas will you suggest for future research?

when you are asked this particular academic research project defense question  you should try to make suggestions for future researchers For example, if I researched on the challenges of automated teller machine usage in Nigeria, a good area for future study may be in electronic banking or point of sales systems. The best way to get past this is to identify the knowledge gaps still existing within the area of your study. These knowledge gaps should already be obvious to you during the research process.

Question 17: What is the practicability of your research?

This question is always easy for science students and engineering students but for the social scientists or the management science students it may be a bit tricky because their research  are mostly in the form of abstracts. However, you should try your best to be realistic here. Relate your study to current trends in your environment, office, economy, government, schools, church etc. Use of relevant examples and illustrations will score you good point here.

Question 18: How would you summarize your study to a practitioner in a few sentences?

Here you may want to start using technical terminologies and words related to your research like you would do if you were in front of an expert of that field. Just summarize the technical importance of your research. Your capacity to pass on specialized data from the investigation will score you great focuses here.

 

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Question 19: What would you change if you were to conduct the study again?

Sometimes such academic research project defense question are asked to trap you into exposing the weaknesses in your research; the question is meant to point you towards the weaknesses in your research so please just do the same thing I asked you to do in question 6.

 

Question 20: What is your measurement Instrument?

this academic research project defense question is simply an inquiry about your data collection method for the study. Here you state if questionnaires were distributed or data was gotten from secondary sources. For more information on measurement instruments

 

Question 21: What are your research variables?

Here you will need to convince the board members that you know what you are talking about. You need to explain your independent and dependent variable(s) to convince them that you are on point. Your variables are present in your project topic. You need to identify these variables and know their definitions as well to ace your defense.

 

Question 22: What are your research questions?

This shouldn’t pose any challenge at all as your research questions are clearly stated in chapter one.

In answering the above question you should also watch out for this other question:

  • How did your research questions emerge?
  • Why are your research questions interesting or important?

 

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Question 23: What do you plan to do with your research project after Graduation?

If you intend to publish your research or make some parts of it available to an online journal then this is the part where you would mention that. Suggesting that you want to make your research available online for future researchers or as a part of an online publication is always a very impressive idea. Read here on how you can publish to the runmyreseach.com research library.

 

Question 24: What source of data was employed for the study?

At this point you have to state the source(s) you got data from. In general you have to state whether data was gotten from primary or secondary source or both. You can further convince the committee members by discoursing on literature reviewed for the study-both theoretical and empirical.

 

Question 25: What theories or theoretical framework is your study based on?

Never you go for your research project defense without a  knowledge of  at least two relevant theories that relate to your study. For example, the “impact of motivation on employee productivity” will be based on Maslow’s Theory and other theories of motivation. If you cannot find relevant theories to back up your study, consult your supervisor for help or send us a mail let us connect you with a research expert.

 

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Question 26: How would you relate your findings to existing theories on the study?

Now, this particular academic research project defense questionIt is wise to read about how your research relates with existing theories in your study. You should know existing theories on the subject matter as well as empirical studies too. Your ability to link your findings to previous research studies (Whether they agree or not) will go a long way in validating your study.

Question 27: How has your thinking changed as a result of your project?

They want to know what your initial opinion about the study was and they are watching to see if your opinion have changed during the course of the study. You have to be very careful in answering this questions because you must give tangible reasons for any change in opinion and if care is not taking you may make your research seem obsolete by saying your opinion about the research changed during the course of the study. be very careful when answering such academic research project defense question that may invalidate your research.

 

Question 28: What recommendations do you have for future research?

this academic research project defense question is tasking you to Identify areas that you think may need more research.  This is easily done by identifying issues around you that are not yet researched and highlighting them out as filled with prospects for future research.

 

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Question 29: What is the scope of the study?

State the delimitation of the study in brief. This could be date or geography or both.

 

Question 30: What question(s) do you have for the committee?

Not a likely academic research project defense question in our Nigerian context. This is an opportunity to interact with your committee members and ask some constructive questions. Do not ask silly or too difficult questions as the goal should be to make the committee members feel as the “judges”. It will also go a long way in showing that you are a brilliant and confident.

 

Question 31: Do you have any closing statements/comments?

When you are finally asked if you have any closing question, you can now be rest assured that there may not be any further questions so you can relax and use this opportunity to thank members of your committee for their time and questions. Tell them you appreciate all the valuable lessons you have learnt from them overtime and that you will implement all the important suggestions made and make all necessary corrections.

This single act alone would make your internal and external supervisor to see you as somebody who is willing to learn and who is ready to take corrections.

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