Group Project Defense Guidelines Satie Airamé Bren School, Assistant Dean for Academic Programs Winter 2012
Goal and Audience • Goal: Demonstrate the academic contribution of your group project • Audience: • Two independent faculty reviewers • Faculty advisor • Open to the public • If you would like your external advisory committee to attend, you should invite them.
Focus • Focus on project results • Also data, methodology, and conclusions • Avoid sinking time into: • extensive background • detailed explanations of methods with which the reviewers likely are familiar • Avoid flashy animations
Planning the Defense • 45 minutes total • for presentation and questions • 20-25 minutes of presentation • 2 speakers, preferred • 3 speakers, need to practice seamless transitions • 20-25 minutes of questions • From reviewers • Targeted to entire group • If there is time left over, then the public may ask questions
Defense Elements *Actual number of slides may vary, depending on the project!
Project title Group project members Advisor Group Project Defense Bren School of Environmental Science & Management Date
Introduction • Problem/questions • Clearly state problem and/or questions • Include sufficient background to motivate the need for your project • Do not give a comprehensive description of the context • Objectives • Clearly identify project objectives • Each objective should be linked to data, methodology, and results
Data & Methodology • Data sources • Identify data sources used • Describe the data relevance, completeness and gaps • Methodology • Explain what methods (including quantitative analyses) were used to analyze the data • Explain why you chose these methods
Results • Present results • Include tables, figures, and graphics to show quantitative results • Fully explain tables and figures • Analyze your results • What do the results mean? • Articulate how the results are linked to your original objectives
The Ending • Conclusions/Recommendations • Summarize key findings • Describe implications of your findings • If appropriate, provide recommendations to your client based on your findings • Identify lingering or new questions and next steps • Acknowledgments • Thank your advisors, funders, and collaborators
Questions • Identify potential questions and discuss appropriate responses • Divide topics such that each group member plans to cover topics with which s/he is most familiar • Select a facilitator to manage questions • The facilitator should • know topics that group members will address • repeat questions for the audience using the microphone • quickly select the group member(s) to respond to the question
Strategies for Q+A • Repeat the question to clarify the question and give yourself and your group time to think about the response. • Directly and succinctly answer questions. • If you don’t know the answer, say so. • Provide other related information, if you have it. • Ask reviewers or audience if they have information to help answer the question. • Investigate the question further (after the defense), if the response has important implications for your project. • Do not fabricate responses to questions if you don’t know the answer!
Evaluation • Independent reviewers will: • Ask questions • Provide oral and written feedback to students and advisor • Students are expected to incorporate reviewers’ feedback into your final papers
Evaluation Questions (1) • Were the problem and/or questions clearly presented? • Were project objectives clear and attainable? • Were data sources appropriate and reliable? • Was methodology clearly presented and justified? • Were quantitative methods appropriate?
Evaluation Questions (2) • Were results clearly presented? • Did the interpretations of results satisfactorily address the problem and/or questions posed? • Were any weaknesses or limitations in the analyses appropriately addressed? • Were conclusions and/or recommendations justified?
Evaluation Questions (3) • What parts of the presentation lacked information or were unclear? • What parts of the presentation were most engaging or intriguing? • Did the group members answer questions effectively? • What recommendations, if any, do you have for the group? • Do you have any other comments or concerns?