Editing Your Dissertation Prior to Submission

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This is possibly one of the most important steps involved in your research process. After you have completed your research and written your findings, you would be eager to submit it. However, do not make the mistake of submission prior to editing.

Good writing and editing will help towards making your dissertation more readable and accessible. When you edit your dissertation, you recap the entire research process and in doing so provide better clarity to yourself on your findings. This is an important process and in the course of editing and clarification, you may discover important points you have missed or a crucial and interesting idea that you have not put down.

While editing, you also refine and polish your language and writing skills. Remember, the written word of your document should do a good job of communicating, without which your work would be in vain. Grammar, punctuation and even absent minded factual errors come to the fore when you get down to editing your thesis. Also in the course of editing, you might discover some lacunae to your research. You may find a gap in logic or reasoning, an incomplete argument or a missing link. These can be easily amended in the course of editing.

Some gap will lapse between the writing and editing of your thesis. In this interim you might chance upon some reading which you want to include in your thesis. However, the purpose of editing your dissertation is not to re-write it. It only means that it will go through the process of refining, enhancing and polishing. Editing is a crucial filtering process which all research must pass through.

While editing, consider the following: which points would you want to highlight to the reader, has the material been organized in the right manner and been added at the right places under the correct headings, is the data accurate and precise, are the sections too lengthy or short, check for clarity. You can do a spell-check for your work. But do remember that not all spelling errors will be cleared through spell check. Importantly, get some distance from your thesis and ask a fellow student or colleague to read through it. Outside perspective might even shed some fresh light on your research, while highlighting some glaring errors which you may have missed.

Finally, during editing remember that somebody is going to read your work. Thus focus on making your work, clear, precise and readable.