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ISSS Course Guide

The Oral Defense

What is an oral defense?

The defense is an oral presentation of your completed research paper (the IP). You will present a synopsis of your work, and may be asked questions by your classmates and/or professor.

What is usually included in an IP oral defense?

a. Introduce self
b. Introduce social issue
c. State thesis
d. Social science disciplines / main questions / organization of paper
e. Main findings / content
f. Conclusion


a. Avoid reading cue cards or slides. Speak to the individuals in the classroom.
b. Think about your delivery, including pace / timing, projection, body language and interest.

c. Build your confidence through being prepared.


a. Visual support: your presentation (PowerPoint / Prezi or other) must be ready to go.
b. Your presentation should be centered on the visuals.
c. Cite all images used in your slides.

Slide Structure

a. Bad b. Better

Remember, these guidelines can help you prepare for your oral defense; but you must follow the instructions your professor has given you.