Editing Your Thesis
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Why is it Important to Edit Your Thesis?
Editing Your ThesisOR&GS WORKSHOP, 2014Presented by Rachel RobertsonThanks to Ian Chalmers for some of the slides
INTRODUCTIONStandards for editingWho does what? Editing your thesisWhat examiners look for. INTRODUCTION The final editing process is a very important part of your thesis, and you should allow yourself at least three months for this stage.
Some students may seek assistance from professional editors for this part of writing the thesis.
Curtin has guidelines to inform staff and students about the appropriate extent and nature of professional editorial assistance.Breaking it downGlobal revision or substantive or structural editing ie big picture; clarify your purpose; make sure your work is cohesive and unified; make sure your ideas are fully developed etc. ALLOW FOR MULTIPLE DRAFTS.Editing (copy-editing) or local revision ie word choices; varied sentences; concise prose; accurate tables and graphs; correct grammar etc.Proofreading ie check spelling; consistencies; correct formatting of numbers; missing words etc.Formatting ie indents; line spacing; margin size; contents page; referencing etc.
1. STANDARDS FOR EDITING ACADEMIC THESESThe Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies collaborated with the Council of Australian Societies of Editors (now called IPEd) to develop an agreed set of guidelines based on the Australian Standards for Editing Practice:
Standard A The publishing process, conventions and industry practice Standard B Management and liaison (Standards A and B are not relevant to writing a thesis).
Standard C Substance and structure
Standard D Language and illustrations
Standard E Completeness and consistencyStandard C relates to all substantive and conceptual guidance given by the supervisory team. The supervisory team is also expected to provide tuition with regard to matters pertaining to Standards D and E, that is, matters pertaining to the presentation:overall structureparagraphingclaritytonegrammarspellingpunctuationillustrations and tablescitation and bibliographic formatsAssistance with matters pertaining to Standards D and E may also be provided by professional editors in the final stages of preparing the thesis for submission. Since the editorial process is an important part of the learning experience for the student and should be regarded as part of their research training, editorial assistance should be rendered on a hard copy of the thesis.
2. WHO DOES WHAT?
Professional editors need to be clear about the extent and nature of help they offer in the editing of research students theses and dissertations.Academic supervisors of research students are expected to provide editorial advice to their students and also need to be clear about the role of the professional editor as well as their own editorial role.Students may use a professional editor in preparing their thesis for submission, but they should discuss this with their supervisor and provide the editor with a copy of the policy before they commence work. Professional editorial intervention should be restricted to Standard D and Standard E.Where a professional editor provides advice on matters of structure (Standard C), exemplars only should be given.Material for editing or proof-reading should be submitted in hard copy. In electronic copy it is too easy for the student to accept editorial suggestions without thinking about their implications.
When a thesis has had the benefit of professional editorial assistance, of any form, the name of the editor and a brief description of the service rendered, in terms of Australian Standards for Editing Practice, should be printed as part of the list of acknowledgements or other prefatory matter.
If the professional editors current or former area of academic specialisation is similar to that of the candidate, this too should be stated in the prefatory matter of the thesis.3. EDITING YOUR THESISCreating a whole document Break it downThesis: a collection of chapters (essays) Chapter: a collection of sectionsArgument: stitching, gluing, making it flow
The Argument Thesis: central argument/propositionNarrative: demonstration of argumentChapters specific argumentHow does each chapter contribute to demonstrate the thesis argumentDifference between summarising and analysing
Different modes of composingOption 1Draft the thesis from the first to the last chapter and then do multiple rewrites
Option 2Move to a new chapter only when the current one is polished
Which option best works for you?Nuts and boltsGrammarClarity/ambiguityRepetition or duplicationConsistencyWord choiceQuotation, paraphrase and summary
Transitions between paragraphsPresentation of dataSentences fragments, comma splices, subject-verb agreementPunctuationApostrophesQuotation
This collection of strange and spooky stories was perfect reading for that lazy week between Christmas and New Year, providing a dark antidote to the forced cheeriness of the season. The book was inspired partly by The Twilight Zone and similar television shows., and contributors Contributors to the anthology were invited to write about the fantastical, uncanny, absurd, or, as editor Angela Meyer notes, even just the slightly off. Meyers Her introduction suggests that speculative and fantastical fiction may appeal, not just for entertainment, but also because it reflects an aspect of reality that may be harder to capture in realist fiction. She argues that our sense that something is just not quite right in Australia today is mirrored in these stories.While the nineteen stories are diverse in both in style and content, this shared focus on the strange gives the anthology a pleasing coherence that many collections of short fiction lack. There are Some themes that are explored by several writers, most notably those relating to technology and reality television, just as evocations of the eeriness of the Australian bush recur in several stories. As with all anthologies, some stories are stronger than others and lead the reader to ponder further on the ideas and images they contain. I found myself revisited by the figure of a giant hare in the bush from Carmel Birds Hare and by the invisible hand over the protagonists face in Krissy Kneens spooky Sleepwalk.
Example of edited text for book review by Rachel for ABR.4. WHAT EXAMINERS LOOK FOR!
Questions examiners ask themselves when examining a thesis:
How would they tackle the problem set out in the abstract and title? What questions would they like answers to? Do conclusions follow on from the introduction and discussion? How well does the candidate explain what he/she is doing? Is the bibliography up-to-date and substantial enough? Are the results worthwhile? How much work has actually been done? What is the intellectual depth and rigour of the thesis? Is this actually researchis there an argument? What makes a good thesis? Scholarship!
Originality, coherence, and a sense of student independence.
Development of a well-structured argument in stylish prose.
Sufficient quantity as well as quality of work.
Reflection: students make a critical assessment of their own work; recognise and deal with problems.
Meticulousness grammar, punctuation, and citation/bibliographic formatting free of errors.What makes a poor thesis? Sloppiness!
Lack of a coherent argument across the thesis as a whole, and within sections of it. Sloppy grammar, punctuation, citation format, bibliography, and labelling of tables! Lack of confidence. Researching the wrong problem.Mixed or confused theoretical and methodological perspectives.Work that is not original.Positive indicators are: Sparkle, lan and sense of confidence with the material. Cohesiveness and clarity. A student who makes the ideas his/her own, with some originality of presentation. Professionalism - demonstrated by mature comments, accuracy of the logic, and careful proofreading. Style (lucid sentencing) and sophistication (appropriate tone). Professionalism with regard to spelling, grammar, punctuation and citation/ bibliographic formatting.Negative indicators are:
Poor references: usually a sign of a poor thesis -the two go hand in hand.
Irritating things in the thesis, such as typos and other careless textual mistakes that indicate a lack of attention to detail - sloppiness in the text indicates sloppy research.The final, substantive judgement is determined by:
The students confidence and independence.
A creative view of the topic.
The structure of the argument.
The coherence of theoretical and methodological perspectives. Evidence of critical self-assessment by the student. REFERENCESIPEd (2013) Australian Standards for Editing Practice, 2nd edition, 2013. Available from http://iped-editors.org/About_editing/Editing_standards.aspxSee also http://iped-editors.org/About_editing/Editing_theses.aspx
Humanities Office of R&GS (2014) FactPack 2014.
Rowena Murray (2006) How to Write a thesis, 2nd edition. Berkshire: OUP.