I am about to defend my thesis and part of my presentation would involve results and conclusions from my two unpublished works. Personally, I am confident about the results and conclusions. My advisor is yet to work on the drafted manuscripts so she is familiar with the results but has not critically thought about the numerical methodology implemented or any other issues with the results. I have presented the results in different conferences, but again, no one really asks questions at conferences. These were not conference proceedings, so no peer review has been carried out yet.

So, I was wondering, what will happen if the committee (who are experts in my field) sees a potential fault with my work which I might have overseen? What if the potential fault undermines the works I have done? Will that lead to a negative outcome in my defense?

  • 6
    Take a deep breath. Calm down. Relax, even. Your defense will go just fine.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 14:49
  • In some fields (such as mine) almost all work that will be presented as a thesis defense will be unpublished as PhDs have to be finished in a time scale that makes it very hard to publish your work before the defense. Don't worry, no work is perfect and your committee will understand this. Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 15:03
  • @IanSudbery, I think the OP means that it is based partly on the unpublished work of others. Not their own.
    – Buffy
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 15:45
  • @Buffy oh no! It's my yet to be published works. I am just concerned that I might have done things wrong in my work. Since they are yet to be peer reviewed, I am not sure if they are technically sound or they have some logical fallacies.
    – robert
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 16:06
  • Oops. Missed it. Thanks for the clarification. I think my answer still works.
    – Buffy
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 16:16

1 Answer 1


While I agree with the comment of Jon Custer, you could, indeed, have an issue if someone, validly, finds a flaw. But, assuming everyone is rational (not always valid, I know), it is unlikely to result in total failure.

I've had students in such situations (not my own, but I was a committee member). We just sent the student back to work to resolve the issue and re-schedule a defense after the dissertation was revised as appropriate.

But, it is what it is. If objections are raised, do your best to explain why you accepted the papers. That is, show due diligence and that you seriously considered the arguments. But anyone can make a mistake, either you or the person raising an issue. Work it out.

I hope you have a rational committee. And good luck. If they are rational, then fining a flaw now is better for you than finding it later, I think.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .