Understanding the Dissertation Process


What Your Committee Members Say/What Your Committee Members Mean

Look on this as a learning experience./ You are going to suffer.

Let me explain the format of the defense./ Let me make you even more nervous.

I'm here to lend you support./ I'm here to destroy you so you won't look smarter than me.

I found the overall concept interesting./ This is my token compliment before ripping your idea to shreds.

I would like to have had more time to study this./ I didn't have time to read it.

I have some concerns about the theory upon which your study is based./ I hate the theory but I can't insult the author, so I'll insult your work instead.

There are some aspects of the study that I would like to hear more about./ I read it; I just don't remember anything about it.

Your hypotheses are not strongly enough linked to the existing literature./ You came up with an innovative idea; I want to make sure you never do it again.

Your research is an interesting extension of my own work./ Why didn't I think of this before you did?

You have failed to take into account some of the more relevant literature./ You failed to cite me.

I would like you to explain.../ I don't know anything about this stuff so you'll have to explain it to me.

Your statistical results don't seem to support your hypothesis./ I don't understand statistics.

Your selection of statistical tests is rather simplistic./ I'm the only one here that understands statistics and I wanted to rub it in.

How did you ensure that you had drawn a random sample?/ I had to come up with at least one question and this always works.

Let's wrap this up./ I'm hungry.

Could you step out of the room while the committee comes to a decision?/ We decided beforehand to give you your degree, we just want to make you sweat.