Writing a Doctoral Dissertation: Proofreading the Final Draft

Crossing the finish line of your doctoral dissertation can sometimes be harder than starting it. You’re tired, worn out, and as far as your brain is concerned, the subject is spent. But this is no time to rest on your laurels. Much work still lies ahead.

Quite probably, there are a hundred or more mistakes hidden within your dissertation that need to be discovered and fixed. Here are some pointers on editing your doctoral dissertation effectively.

  • Small segments
  • It’s wisest to divide your dissertation up into manageable sections to avoid smoke coming out of your ears. You did this when you were planning and writing it, so editing needs to follow the same strategy.

    You should also factor in breaks when doing this. Proofreading something can often be brain-numbing, so concentrating on small sections at a time will help your mind to manage the workload a lot easier.

  • Slow reading done out loud
  • If you’re focusing on a page or paragraph, it’s best to read it out loud. You can do this from the start, but it’s always better to do so after you’ve done a once-over of silent proofreading. Reading something out loud will help you detect errors much more effectively. Grammar mistakes will become obvious, and punctuation errors will also become easily noticeable.

    Sure, reading your own work out loud to yourself may seem strange at first, but it really goes a long way to ensure quality writing.

  • Check for good connectors
  • Another part of proofreading that many neglect is the art of format editing. This is the process of checking basic structure and making sure that all sections correspond with each other. It can be something simple like making sure the abstract is before the introduction, to something more complicated like adding a spoiler before your methodology is complete.

    Something else to keep in mind is flow. Make sure that every paragraph connects well to the one before and after it. Don’t end a paragraph leaving the reader hanging in thin air. Complete your thought, then transition over to the next thought so that your reader understands what you’re trying to convey.

Don’t feel despondent about proofreading your doctoral dissertation. It may seem like a lot of extra work after writing it, but by managing it properly as shown above, you’ll do a lot to render a well-constructed quality doctoral dissertation.