Graduation tips – proofreading your thesis

Certain tasks must be done and more or less completed in the moment, with very little room for error and little time to redress any mistakes. For example, pursuits such as building a brick wall or cooking a fine meal are time sensitive. In comparison, fixing the brakes on a car or learning how to speak French are tasks that can be done and re-done until the desired outcome is reached. With the notion in mind that certain tasks can be approached from several angles until we get what we want, we should consider our academic studies and our methodologies relating to proofreading. After all, once we have written a piece of work, we can always improve it. A simple first draft may seem like you have conquered something of an Everest, but upon re-reading your work you may begin to discover that you have, in more ways than one, not necessarily taken a direct route from A to B but rather taken the route from A to Z with all the unnecessary stops in between. For more information on proofreading your thesis, see Scribbr. Now, let’s look at some proofreading tips. 

Structure – is there a clear progression?

People do not often consider that a thesis requires an overarching theme as well as individual introductions, arguments, and conclusions for each section. In this sense, each section becomes a de facto essay on its own – relying on the reader to follow your overarching theme over many thousands of words is a big ask, and you should instead focus on breaking up the work into manageable chunks of information. 

Formatting issues shouldn’t be taken lightly 

If you have written a world-changing thesis, you may find that you run into presentability issues regarding formatting. If your subtitles, fonts, indents, and even your choice of bullet points are inconsistent, the likelihood that your work will be taken seriously begins to go downhill. Think about walking into a car garage to purchase a high-end sports car, only to be met with a salesperson who has an untidy desk and can’t seem to find the keys to take you for a test drive. No matter how impressive the car, the factors around the sale may change your mind over whether you want to go ahead. The same is true of poorly presented written work.  

And the last tip? … spell check everything (twice)

If the software in which you have written your thesis shows no spelling mistakes, copy and paste the work into another piece of software to double check. You might think this isn’t worth the trouble, but the difference between the spell checking software on Google Docs and Word is so large as to be unbelievable and almost laughable. Check everything, twice.   

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