When you finish writing a 300 to 500-page master’s thesis or Ph.D. dissertation. It took you many years of researching, organizing citations, and coming up with mountains of data to support your thesis. Keeping this hard work in mind, here are some practical tips on how to proofread your thesis or dissertation.
Before you impress the committee with your work, you got to proofread this massive tome several times. You know what they say in journalism, “Edit, edit again, and edit some more” which is an absolute truth when your professional material is on the line.
Think about the rules
Before you write your thesis, the committee has laid out the ground rules. Review the style that is set by your academic institution. Considering your department, your thesis or dissertation may follow American Psychological Association – APA, Modern Language Association – MLA. Review that style for your thesis and go over the major guidelines provided. Make sure you didn’t miss any key pointers you must include in your thesis or dissertation. After you make a friendship of yourself with the rules, read through your work once to see if anything seems missing. After that, you can go through your text more carefully.
Look out for errors:
When proofreading your thesis or paper, you already know to watch for errors such as grammatical mistakes, misspellings,
punctuation, etc. However, you must also re-evaluate your paper’s structure. Look out for each paragraph to see if every detail that is essential to your writing. When you discover something that you don’t need in this particular section, remove it. Add any omitted information into your thesis or dissertation at the appropriate point.
Each paragraph context should flow into the next, and each paragraph has its own topic sentence and conclusion before you move onto the next one. Does each line fit into the overall scope of your thesis or dissertation? Does each paragraph support what you write? Proofreading allows you to minimize your focus to get rid of extraneous information.
By the time you land at the end of proofreading your thesis or dissertation, every paragraph should fit precisely into your work. Don’t forget to use every tool at your disposal to help analyze your text.
Stick to Your Method
You have not written your thesis or dissertation overnight, nor can you proofread this work in just one sitting. Go through your work methodically in little pieces at a time. Eventually, you are going to come to the last page. Some of us give preference to sit in front of a computer/laptop screen and edit, while others print a copy to physically write proofreading marks on it. Whichever works better for you, that’s what you can employ. It’s important that where you leave off in the PhD proofreading process by making a mark whether on the paper or the screen.
You have to create an index for your text anyway, so just take advantage of this effort and proofread your paper at the same time. Start with the first page and work through the first few pages (Let’s say 5 or 10 at a time) or whatever small portion works well for you. Then, it’s time to note down errors in your text and your organizational structure.
Utilize Correct Tools
Online editing tools or computer software look for various problems in your work. Some of the tools are free to use once or twice, while others require a subscription for premium paid access. If at all writing isn’t your strong point, you can always have someone else proofread your thesis or dissertation. You might want to check with your university’s policy first before hiring someone to examine your text.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to step back and take some time away from English proofreading your thesis or dissertation. Give yourself small breaks from time to time to recharge before looking at your text again. Examine all your text at least three times while looking for grammar, flow, style, meanings, and structure. Find the right corner to proofread; like your university library, an empty lecture hall, or some noise-canceling headphones with classical music at home in your room. Do not rush through your proofreading. Give yourself plenty of time before the deadline to proofread your thesis/paper, and manage your days and weeks accordingly. Eventually, your hard is going to pay off with an accepted text and a Ph.D.!