Thesis Overview

My PhD thesis journey had crossed path with a another journey that I had been making as the Design Thesis coordinator. This process had occurred during the last two weeks.

When I presented for my PhD thesis viva, I decided in the first 10 minutes to do a Thesis Overview based on a mind-mapping technique. My supervisors were instrumental in advising me to rethink about how I would present for this first 10 minutes. During the mock viva session two days before the real one, they asked me questions regarding “why” I did this thesis; “what” I did; “how” I did it and so on. This really helped me to get a good start to the PhD viva exam. I presented well and had not waffled on indefinitely like I sometimes did. So that was that for my PhD thesis.

Last week during desk crit for the Design Thesis studio, I decided to use the same method with each of the students I sat with and I found out that it made them think clearer. I asked after we finished with each student whether things are made clearer now, and they said “yes” and many even thanked me. Wow! That was something.

Take a look at the pic. Sorry its in reverse. But do you get my drift?


You see, we first ask questions in the very beginning, mostly to ourselves what we want to do for our design thesis, but the most important question was “why” did we want to do that topic for our thesis?

This roughly works out the reasons for why we did what we did. And it is very important that we know this and explicitly describe these reasons. These are what is equivalent to a Research Question, which we need to answer at the end of the day.

The product or design that was or will be achieved at the end will need to answer these questions. So now you need to think “why” did you do this thesis?

And it will be clearer whether you have achieved what you had set out to do.

Then the rest of the task would be to do the best you can as a designer.


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