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I am going to present my thesis in the next week. I am in a confusion what I should present in the final defence (1 hour). How much into detail I should go. I have successfully given my pre-synposis. I am currently thinking about the thesis defence. To me it appears I should focus on my work rather than talking about others work. I have been told that in the defence there will be few members from other discipline. Taking this thing into consideration I think I should first convey the high level idea and then go into the detail. So that everyone in the panel have idea about my work.

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    What field are you in? – Buffy Nov 15 at 15:21
  • Theroetical computer science. – new_bee Nov 15 at 15:54
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    You should present what your advisor and your other committee members tell you that you should present. Theirs is the only opinion that matters. – JeffE Nov 16 at 4:12
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This depends quite a lot on the traditions in your country and your institution. My experience is with a "presentation" of the main results and a defense of how you arrive at those results. In math it would be a theorem statement and proof outline or at least (for a public defense) showing the general path that leads to the main results.

Another way to think of it is in terms of the question you originally set out to answer, then the answer, and then the basis on which you reach that answer.

If the "other members" will vote on your success then you need to tailor it to their understanding, rather than leaving them in the dark, especially if they are allowed to question you.

But, yes, focus on your own work and get to the essence of it. Both what you conclude and why you conclude it. If your work follows closely on earlier work of someone else, you can mention that briefly for context.

An excessive level of detail can be omitted, but be prepared for questions that might require that you give the detail.


But if this answer doesn't seem to ring true, then your traditions might be quite different from those I'm used to. In that case, speak with your advisor about this. They surely know what will work.

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