What Is Thesis Editing?


After months of contemplation, research, and writing, you have your draft thesis in hand. Getting to this point required a great deal of intellectual and physical effort, so congratulations are due. You’ve made it this far. You have your research questions, hypotheses, literature review, and findings roughly where you want them to be. There is one more crucial step before you are truly done with your work: thesis editing. So, what is thesis editing, exactly?

Whether you self-edit or request services of a professional editor, you may find it useful to know what goes into successful thesis editing. Let’s take a look at the basic sections of a thesis and aspects to pay attention to while editing these sections.

Start with the introduction. Although the first important section of a thesis is the abstract, save editing it for later: It may need to be modified depending on the revisions you make elsewhere in the thesis. Make sure your introduction presents the problem clearly and explains the need for your research. Check for grammar errors and run-on sentences. The introduction must be easy and interesting to read. Note that different universities may expect to see different sections in the introductory chapter, so if you have a professional editor look over your thesis, let them know what the requirements are. This will help your editor assist you more effectively and efficiently.

Coherence and flow of ideas are crucial in the literature review. You may organize this chapter chronologically or by grouping similar ideas in sub-sections, but make sure to be consistent and check for the verb tense you use throughout the chapter. It is not OK in academic writing to have one paragraph in the present tense and another in the past tense.

Because most thesis writers are first-timers, there is a countless number of theses whose methodology section omits crucial information. After all, the methodology section is one of the most challenging parts of thesis writing. A professional editor would spot any omissions right away and prompt you to complete the section as needed. Some areas to pay attention to are: the presentation of the method, sampling, protection of human subjects, possible limitations, and measures taken to overcome some of those limitations. Always explain and justify your chosen methodology. If you decide to interview five people, state clearly why interview is better for your study than a survey and why the number of subjects is five, not three or fifteen.

As you present your findings, make sure they are easily understandable to the reader. A professional editor would flag any ambiguous areas, add transitional phrases or rearrange paragraphs to ensure flow, and even check your numbers! Review your spelling, but do not rely solely on your spell check computer program. As a professional thesis editor, I’ve lost count to the number of times I’ve seen the word “casual” when the author described a causal relationship between variables.

The last section of a thesis is the conclusion. This chapter often includes the discussion of your findings. Present that discussion in a clear, logical, and compelling way. Make sure you explicitly tell the reader why you’ve put all these months of work into this research and why they had to read it.  A professional editor would look here for clarity, flow of arguments, and good writing.

Then, edit the abstract. It must be easy to read, error-free, and comprehensive. It must give a snapshot of the entire thesis. Formatting, references, footnotes, as well as acknowledgements and the table of contents are edited at the last stage of thesis editing.

Although it can be a laborious task, thesis editing is a crucial step in completing your graduate academic work. The better your thesis is edited, the more professional your research will look. Having a professional editor assist you during this stage makes this process a lot easier. Moreover, investing in thesis editing, you get more than what you bargain for. Once your thesis is edited by a professional editor, you can turn your research into a book, journal article, or conference paper that is already polished and prepared for publication

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