Experiencing Pushback

Your examiner can not like something in your thesis. Maybe they don’t get it. Maybe they believe there was a better approach, or a different way to understand something. They’re allowed to have a different opinion; if they share it with you, you can respond.

Perhaps you’re certain you’re right; maybe you’re sure they’re wrong; possibly your pride is wounded. You could feel you have to say something. And you can.

That doesn’t mean you have to. Ask yourself:

  • Is this a big deal?
  • Are they asking for significant corrections?
  • Are they saying there’s a problem?
  • Why are they saying what they’re saying?

The last question is particularly important to answer. If you don’t know why they think something then you can’t be sure that you can adequately respond to them. You need to know what’s at the root of their comments before you can push against them.

Again, that’s if you feel you really need to. You probably need to acknowledge a critical comment; you don’t necessarily have to spend much time replying to it.

What did they say? How do you feel? Why? Why have they said that? How do you feel about that? What do you need to say? Why?