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Doctoral Dissertation Video

Doctoral students are required to submit a 3 minute video summarizing their dissertation research for a lay audience. The video is not scripted, but instead structured like you are having a comfortable conversation about your dissertation. 

The video should be produced during a student’s final semester of study at the conclusion of the research. Students should consult with their adviser regarding a program’s policies, as some require these videos to be shown to the supervisory committee at the time of final defense.  The video requirement must be met prior to submitting your dissertation to the Graduate School. The disquisition processor will not review your dissertation until our video has been submitted. 

Required Workshop
Doctoral students are required to participate in a preparatory workshop prior to filming their video. Workshops are offered several times a semester. It is recommended that students participate in the workshop within 1-2 semesters of filming the video.  

Scheduling Video Recording Session
Videos will be recorded, by appointment only, in the Quentin Burdick Building (formerly known as the IACC) Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Plan on a 30-minute appointment to allow time to rehearse and do several takes.

To schedule your appointment, contact Steve Beckermann at 701-231-8486 or Include the dates and times you are available and attach the completed Dissertation Video Prescheduling Information form to your email. 

Potential Points to Cover in the Video

  • How did you get interested in your research?
  • What did you do?/ What did your research involve?
  • What did you find?
  • Was there anything surprising about your findings?
  • What do your findings mean for the field (practice, the general public, or other relevant entity)

Jot down some of the key ideas that are important for someone to understand, and think about how you would explain them to a 10 year old. This means that you won’t use jargon; you’ll speak in non-technical language. 

Practice telling someone who does not know your field about your dissertation research. This is a great place to enlist the help of non-academic friends and relatives. They can give you feedback about what they didn’t understand. This will help you feel more comfortable and less nervous.

Video Graphic

You may have ONE graphic that will appear next to you as you talk. It will be there throughout the whole video, but you will not be able to see it as you talk or point to it. It should be simple and easy to read. A figure or picture that captures the essence of what you’ve done in an easy to understand manner is better than a slide with text on it. Any text should be kept to a minimum and should be in a large, easy to read font, no smaller than 32 point. 

Helpful Hints for Recording Your Video 

When planning what to wear, consider how you would like to present yourself. This may vary, depending on your discipline.  Think about the message you would like to convey, and dress to that message. The goal is to end up with a professional product and how you dress is part of that.  

  • Solid colors are best, with the exception of white, black or gray. Avoid stripes, paisleys and other small and busy patterns.
  • If you wear makeup, do your makeup as you normally would for a day at work. No heavy or special application is necessary.
  • Keep any accessories or jewelry simple. Dangling earrings or heavy shiny necklaces, etc. may be distracting to the viewer.
  • Please start your video by introducing yourself. 

Explain at a very basic level. Avoid jargon. Remember that your time is limited so stick to the main points.

Remember that a general public audience will want to know why you are doing the research you’ve done. Given that, it might make sense to speak briefly at the beginning about how you became interested in your topic, and to highlight the importance or implications of your work at the end of your video.

Make sure to not divulge information that would reveal human research participants or share classified or proprietary information.

Speak slowly and clearly. Your goal is help your listener understand. 

Video Storage & Release Form

The videos will be housed in  the NDSU Libraries’ Digital Repository. We are only able to store those videos for which we have a signed release on file. Please bring your release form to your recording session. 


If you have questions about the dissertation video, contact Brandy Randall


NDSU Dissertation Video Collection

Sharing your research with the public

International 3 Minute Thesis competition videos. These talks can give you some good ideas about how to talk about research to a lay audience.

This blog also has some good suggestions

You might think about this as similar to talking to the media about your work.

And here is a short article about “Elevator Speeches” that has useful suggestions

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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NDSU Graduate School
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7033
Campus address:  106 Putnam Hall
Physical/delivery address:  NDSU Graduate School/106 Putnam Hall/1349 12th Avenue Northwest/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  NDSU Dept. 2820/PO Box 6050/Fargo, ND 58108
Page manager: NDSU Graduate School

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 2:53:02 PM
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