How to structure a script for the presentation of an academic thesis?

 

A public presentation, whether in an academic or professional context, always brings with it the need to previously structure our work. The process must start with the creation of a script, which will allow us to create a logical sequence of our presentation, in order for it to have an impact. When we want to specialize in a specific scientific area at the university, we have the challenge of developing a project. This may be, at master’s level, and depending on the faculty in question, consisting of an internship and report, or a group project.

However, there is a third type of project, which is fundamental for the development of a scientific researcher, and which will be absolutely necessary for the development and conclusion of a PhD, and also of many master’s degrees: a thesis.

The thesis is a demanding academic research project, which requires us to follow a specific structure. The thesis starts from a problem that, through a literature review and a qualitative and / or quantitative methodology, is analyzed, so that with this work, we can contribute to the increase of knowledge in the scientific field that we are studying.

The work of developing a thesis starts from the ability to analyze a relevant topic, in which a limitation is understood, and which therefore allows for a discussion. Our goal is to be able to contribute – no matter how small this contribution may be – to an advance in science for our scientific field.

 

Creating a thesis is challenging because it requires:

  • study
  • dedication
  • resilience
  • analytical skills
  • creativity
  • critical thinking

Writing a thesis is quite laborious, it requires intensive and thorough research work so that nothing goes wrong and we are able to add new points to the research already done.

 

Our topic is the main focus, and this should be discussed with our advisors, in order to become something consistent, and most of all, answers to the question we  challenged ourselves to answer. Usually, these are composed titles that include the main theme, and the deepening of the specific situation.

  • ‘’The landscape architecture of the 20th century – Analysis of the work of its greatest mentor Person X between the years 1900-1940.’’
  • “Manueline architecture in Portugal – How its works represent the Lusitanian conquests”.
  • “Business Communication – The role of communication for leadership in the business context “.

 

Throughout the process, we will have the support of our tutors and supervisors, professors from our faculty whose research interests correspond to our interest as well. These tutors and supervisors will support us in each stage, making sure we follow the specific timeframes for each part in order to complete our work. However, even after completing a written thesis, it is necessary to present it to a panel of evaluators.

This is when some doubts start to arise: how to reduce the thesis of, eventually, hundreds of pages, to a single presentation guide?

 

Thus, there is the need to understand how we should structure the presentation of an academic thesis. A structure takes into account the definition of key points that will be presented, in an organized way. Just as in the case of a thesis preparation, where we need to start with certain parts and then connect each part logically, we should also do the same for a script for the presentation of our thesis.

While we may have extended limits when writing our thesis, our public presentation has a specific time. Bearing this in mind, we must focus on the essential and structuring points of our thesis, in order to create a script that is rich in its content, obviously summarizing our written work.

 

Some organizing topics of the written thesis can be reused in the creation of our script for a public presentation:

  • Outline;
  • Focus on the theme;
  • Structuring chapters / topics;
  • Use specific keywords;
  • Always have external references to texts and images;
  • Follow any indications from the advisors or the communication professionals who assists us throughout the preparation process for the thesis.

From our question and the key topics of our thesis, we have been able to construct a presentation plan that follows the same order of reasoning as our written project and really focuses on its main points.

First, taking into account the basic research question that we developed for the thesis, we must start by describing it. We can also talk about what led us to choose that theme and how we consider it important for a given subject. It is certain that some, or even all members of the evaluation panel, will be familiar with our area of ​​study. But it was us individually who asked that question.

That is why we must explain it well, showing  how the results obtained can help answer the central question. After explaining the results that answer the research question, we must elaborate better how we contribute to the specific area of ​​knowledge.

 

Logically, this contribution is limiting, as our study focuses on a specific specific sample. In this sense, we must be humble and explain these same limitations, but also highlight, according to the limitations, future paths of investigation, in the area in which we are developing our project. We can call this last component as the recommendations.

We must, in this essential part of our evaluation as students, further develop on the path that led us to the results that were obtained, and in turn, explain the conclusions derived from those same results. It serves here to have a clear notion of the methodology adopted, based on the literature review that supported the development of a logical method that analyzed the problem we challenged ourselves to study.

 

The presentation of the thesis ends here, however it is followed by a question and answer session. We have already, in a previous article, saw some strategies that should be used at this stage.  When we speak specifically of an academic thesis presentation, the question and answer session is key to our assessment. The presentation is actually an introduction to a discussion that is then created in the Q&A phase, in which we will be exposed to all kinds of questions that may arise. The way we argue at this stage is decisive in our final score, so we must ensure that we are prepared and feel confident to face this specific moment.

The public presentation of a thesis, besides being part of the process to complete the master’s degree, also has a great weight in the final grade we will obtain.

As already mentioned, in a presentation of an academic thesis, we are developing a discussion: it is not only important to answer the panel of evaluators, but to stimulate a debate of ideas: with the complexity of an academic thesis and its interpretation, there is not a single answer nor a definitive answer. Hence, success is in the domain of knowledge of the topic, and in the ability to confidently assume the path to answer a central question, which we have considered relevant to answer from an initial point.

 

Thus, the bases for how to structure ideas in the development of a script for the presentation of an academic thesis are presented.

 

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