Turns of phrase for thesis defense. Help!
May 27, 2014 9:58 AM Subscribe
Defending my thesis next week and need help with turns of phrase to kick off complicated answers to difficult questions. Have flopped in conferences past.
posted by hollypolly to Education (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I will be sitting my PhD viva (defense in England) next week in a humanities field, and while practicing my answers and framing my project, I’m having trouble coming up with phrases to start off with. My strength is my writing, and I tend to flop at conferences and such when asked really tough questions. I know I need to take a second and compose myself and really think about the question before responding, and I’m practicing this (pausing, taking a breath). I’m looking for academic turns of phrases that can segue me into answering the question in lieu of just blurting out the answer, which is what I tend to do when I am nervous, and I always regret it afterwards. I think in addition to what are sure to be difficult questions, I’m most scared of sounding really ineloquent. I’d love some suggestions on ways of responding to situations such as:
-I genuinely don’t have an answer to their question other than it will require further research, and I thank them for pointing this out.
-I’m not sure I’ll be able to answer their question, but I’ll give it a “go”… as in I’ll speculate based upon what I know.
-What do you say when a question pops up that blows you completely sideways? As in, they propose a new way of looking at things that you hadn’t considered before?
-I disagree with what they have said, or they seem to have read me wrong. I want to argue with their point and say: “actually, what I wrote was…”
-One of my examiners is all over my thesis! What is a way of saying that I owe so much to his work? In my thesis I have written “indebted”… is there another way of framing this?
-If a critique comes up that I agree with, I want to be able to say “yes, you’re absolutely right, I’ve been mistaken”, is there a better way of phrasing this?
-Any other ways of saying “that’s a great question”?
Any suggestions, advice, tips and tricks, is greatly appreciated! I'd be so grateful for any turns of phrase, they don't have to relate to the scenarios I presented. Thanks so much!