Reflections on Dissertation Defense

I would never have thought that having a dissertation defense could be such a positive and memorable experience! After years of research work – with studies to conduct, papers to be written, editors and peer reviewers to convince and conferences to go to – and after some intensive spring and summer months struggling to finish the thesis, it was all heading for the grand finale. On the 17th of September, it was finally time for me to face the Professors of the evaluation committee. The subject of my dissertation: online health communities for people with established bad habits.

For those who have gone through this process, you probably know what I am talking about when I say that the time before the disputation is nerve shattering. While tuning the ideas and logic of the thesis, working with structure and sentences, you find yourself waking up in the morning with a feeling that you have missed something important. During this intensive period of work, I experienced that the discussions about cover illustration of the thesis gave me a welcome break. It made me think about colors and graphics instead of text paragraphs for a while. Then, when the thesis is finally printed, you start to wonder about the questions you will get at the dissertation defense, about the assessments of your work, and so on. Surprisingly, though, the seminar turned out to be a really nice experience! Having a group of Professors so engaged in your doctor’s thesis, and to be able to discuss with them about your ideas and results, this opportunity will probably come along just once! What a nervous but great moment this was! Examples of discussions at my seminar were about pros and cons of online health communities, empowerment and expertise of patients and citizens, the future of online health communities and how to improve the technical platforms. Not only was the past discussed, but the need to continue with future research as well!

The support from colleagues at the department, DSV, was also great! A diverse group joined the event; there were researchers and doctoral students, present and former colleagues, lecturers, student administrators, family members and other friends. It was a nice surprise to see that so many could make it! I am truly grateful for all support and encouragement! Everyone had put great effort into making it a memorable moment!

Below, you will find some pictures from the get-together held after the defense. The pictures were taken by Lotta Arnbom at DSV and my brother, Niklas.

A happy me after the dissertation defense

Opponent Prof. Caroline Haythornthwaite and the evaluation committee: Prof. Gunilla Bradley, Prof. Louise Yngström and Prof. Anna Hollander

Supervisor Prof. emeritus Jacob Palme, opponent Prof. Caroline Haythornthwaite, the committee member Prof. Gunilla Bradley, and DSV colleagues Britt-Marie Nordström (at the back), Nina Malm and Magdalena Färjemark

DSV colleagues Anita Kollerbaur, Anne-Marie Philipson and Andrea Andrenucci (at the back) and opponent Prof. Caroline Haythornthwaite

Supervisor Prof. emeritus Jacob Palme and I

Me and opponent Prof. Caroline Haythornthwaite. Anne-Marie Philipson and Prof. Louise Yngström are seen at the back

Two former colleagues from the CMC group: Eva R. Fåhraeus and Sirkku Männikkö

This entry was posted in Health Informatics, Information Systems, PhD Dissertation, SYSLAB and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.