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Thesis Proofreading

Thesis Proofreading

Your thesis is a result of many days of hard work and persistence. Writing your thesis would have involved unending hours of research work, reading work, revising work, and writing work.

Whether the thesis is for your first degree or master's program or doctoral program, it is the culmination of the course and hence requires your full focus and concentration to create something that will be treated like a piece of art by your examiners.

For the purpose of this article, I am presuming that your content is brilliant, your research and investigative work has been extensive, you have read all the relevant materials, your data is presented in a clear and seamless manner, and your argument at the end of the thesis is irrefutable.

After getting so many things right, it would be naïve not to put in a little effort to ensure that your thesis proofreading is also impeccably done. The presence of spelling, grammatical, formatting, and sentence structure errors will be a huge put-off and your examiner will not even consider the brilliance of the other aspects of the thesis.

Let me give you an analogy to explain the importance of proofreading. Suppose you had invited guests to a party and you have spent a lot of time to clean and keep all other rooms in your house in perfect order and did not do the living room. How would your guests feel? The first impression is that of the living room and if that was not clean, the guests would not even think of digging deeper. They would simply assume that the rest of the house is as dirty as the living room and pass off judgments appropriately. The same thing goes for your thesis. If the basics of spelling and grammar are not in place, the examiner might not even look further and all your fabulous content will go down the drain.

Tips for thesis proofreading

Give yourself ample time – Thesis proofreading should be separated from the writing and content editing aspects of the thesis. Give sufficient gap in the middle so that you forget the data and information in your thesis. This will reduce the risk of anticipating what you are going to read which would lead to missing out critical errors.

If you choose to use professional proofreading services, then ensure that you do not wait until the last minute to hand over the work to them. Established editors and proofreaders can be booked in advance. So, do not miss out a good opportunity by putting off this critical work to the last minute and not finding a good service agency.

Look at the overall structure of the thesis

Make sure the introduction introduces the topic well, the supporting chapters and/or paragraphs are correctly organized in support of your thesis statement, the flow of argument right through the thesis is seamless and smooth, and the conclusion brings your thesis statement to a full circle thereby presenting a well-thought and well-articulated thesis paper.

Formatting and Consistency

Ensure the headings, subheadings, citations, margins, paragraphs, line spacing, and other formatting details are consistent throughout the paper. Other aspects to be included in the formatting consistency check are:

  • Numbering system used

  • Captioning of tables and figures

  • Page numbering

  • Capitalizations

  • Hyphenations

  • Number (are you using numbers in figures or words?)

  • Use of italics

  • Referencing system

Grammar, spelling, and punctuation

Do not hesitate to use your spell checkers and your grammar checking applications. However, do not completely depend on their reliability and perfectness. Sometimes, the spell checkers and grammar applications could have serious bugging issues or sometimes, they cannot discern the right from the wrong.

For example, spell checkers will not mark 'bear' wrong even if it was used in the place of 'bear,' as in tolerate. This is because the spelling of both the words is correct. However, it is completely out of context. You should use your sensibilities and proofreading skills to identify and correct these kinds of spelling errors. The same logic holds for software applications that check and help in correcting grammatical errors. Here is a checklist for proofreading that will give you some more tips.

Use of abbreviations and acronyms

When you are using abbreviations and acronyms, always use the expanded form the first time you employ it in your thesis. Write the acronym or abbreviation in brackets immediately after the expanded form. By doing this, you are introducing the abbreviation or acronym to the reader. Next time, the reader comes across it in your thesis, he or she will know what it stands for and there will be no confusion.

However, if the acronym appears only in a few instances in your thesis, then your reader might not remember it which could reduce the seamless flow of his or her reading. Therefore, it makes sense to include a list of all the abbreviations and acronyms used in your thesis as an appendix at the end of the thesis. The reader can refer to it whenever needed.

Avoid checking all aspects of proofreading together

Instead of trying to identify and correct all kinds of proofreading errors at one go, take the methodical approach of taking one type of verification each time. While this might compel you to read your thesis multiple times, this approach will ensure that no errors are missed. Here is a small list that will help you take this methodical approach:

  • Cross check page numbering against table of contents and consistency of headings and subheadings

  • Check tables and figures are captioned and are in order

  • Ensure in-text citations are in sync with the citations on the reference page

  • Ensure the citations are done as per the instructions given by your professor

  • Ensure all acronyms and abbreviations are expanded the first time they are used. Also, if you are having a separate appendix listing the acronyms and abbreviations, then ensure this list is in order too

  • Finally, check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors

Final Notes

Proofreading your thesis should be given sufficient importance even though it appears like a no-brainer. Like I said earlier, if the simplest things that are obvious to the eye are missed, then the examiner has already created a bad impression of your thesis. Hence, it makes sense to spend time and energy to do a good job of thesis proofreading.

At Prescott Papers, our teams of writers and editors will be very happy to help you with all your academic writing needs. Call us for custom essays, assignments, dissertations, thesis papers, research papers, and more. Browse through this list of online editing services for further information.

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