Is it acceptable to use personal experience when opening in presentation of my thesis as long as it is relevant and contribute to the presentation of the literature, justification or methodology of thesis?

I do not intend to reference or cite any of my experiences as a source, but rather, I am seeking to use my experiences to begin with the research story.

For instance,

"...I experienced event X and I observed event Y, which may potentially be manifestations of the phenomenon described in the thesis theory, with event A being a possible example of B and event C being an example of D.".

Something to this extent.

I've witnessed various thesis defenses and seen many presentations on Youtube. They gave me an idea of adding a "personal touch" to the presentation.

Please note that I'm referring to my thesis defense rather than the thesis itself which focuses strictly on the hypothesis, methodology and findings in third persons.

English is not my mother tongue. Please forgive any misspelling and inconsistencies.

Thank you.

  • 1
    My guess is this largely depends upon the culture of your program. What do other students do in your department? Also, what does your advisor think? I would ask them. – Richard Erickson Oct 27 '17 at 20:37
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    Thank you Richard! My supervisor is on the fence. He says I should play it safe. Maybe my narcissistic tendencies make me want to "stand out" because my colleagues' defenses have been (in my opinion) a bit dull and I saw some yawns here and there. I want to make a very enjoyable presentation without losing the point of my thesis and I believe that adding anecdotes and personal experience to the presentation will improve it greatly. – Gonzalo Sossa Uriarte Oct 27 '17 at 20:50
  • Depends heavily on local factors and the format of your defense. Some places this would not be a problem, even your thesis could have such an opening. – Mark Oct 27 '17 at 21:13
  • Rather than focus on yourself, I'm sure your research is interesting. I found the book Presentation Zen to be helpful making my talks more interesting. – Richard Erickson Oct 27 '17 at 21:53
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    @ssjjaca I don't think this question a duplicate because thesis defense is very different than literature review. – scaaahu Oct 28 '17 at 2:23

I would say that it could be acceptable. It really depends on the context. If you are using it to explain why you became interested in the topic of your thesis, then it could add to the context and depth of the thesis. However, if you use it to support your thesis, I think you should avoid it. It will weaken your argument and could be off putting to your committee.

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