I'm looking into lists of questions that I might encounter in my MSc thesis defense. One such list is Tamer Suggested: Top 60 Questions Frequently Asked During Thesis Defence. Some of the questions in this list are clearly irrelevant to my project (e.g. "Why did you use thematic analysis/qualitative content analysis"), however others I find are difficult to interpret in the first place.

The question I am asking about here is number 59 from the link:

How is your study covering your variables?

The question seems to assume that there is a collection of variables that are relevant to the study, which is true of any empirical research project (as I understand the term "variable") and therefore should apply to my research project.

Is this question asking what methods I used to measure the relevant variables? Is it asking about how I modeled the relationships between variables? Or both? Or something else?

  • 5
    I think this kind of list is useful only to the extent that it gets you thinking about what might be asked. I suggest skipping things that make no sense to you. They may be domain specific and have nothing to do with what you have studied. Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 0:59
  • I'm confused why you believe this list would be useful to you. Have an informal discussion with your advisor regarding what you should expect during your defense. Then make sure that you still remember the important points from your literature search and all details of your thesis. That would prepare you much better than reading this list.
    – user9482
    Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 16:12
  • The best preparation you can do for a defence is to have a mock one, preferably with someone other than your supervisor. If you have some time (1+ week) before the real thing, it's worth arranging one. Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


We don't know, it can mean a lot of things.

Keep in mind that this is a generalized list with 60 questions. No thesis defense will cover 60 questions, so not all questions are appropriate for your case. Think about the questions, see if it is applicable, and go on with the next question if you can't figure out the use of a question. You've spent quite some time on it, if a question doesn't make sense to you, it is likely not relevant.

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