A thesis must never be undertaken alone or in haste. It’s perfectly all right – advisable, even – to take help in the aspects of thesis writing that you don’t feel confident about. Being able to write out an entire research project in the articulate, standardized way that is characteristic of academic writing itself is a difficult task. This is true across all levels of academia, especially in STEM fields, where writing is not a day-to-day task. And then there’s the thesis editing bit. 

We’ve already told you why it’s important to get a thesis edited. Now, let’s explore the options through which you can get this done. 

Why should a thesis go through edits? 

Writing a thesis is a long-term process. It’s not something you will do in one go, so it’s likely that your writing style will morph into something unrecognizable (state-of-mind, fatigue, length of project duration and writing duration are some factors). Therefore, it is imperative that you keep revisiting your work for knowledge gaps and a general quality check – to make sure that the thesis is consistent and not disjointed. Revisiting your work also allows you to work on your writing style in such a way that you strengthen the arguments you put forth in the thesis.

Moreover, it is a specialized form of writing. It is important to make sure that all your technical terminology and symbols are on point.

What aspects of it should I edit?

Long story, short: all of it. But let’s break it down to go about in an easier way

  • Grammar, punctuation and other sentence-level errors
  • Structure of the whole paper
    • Adherence to academic conventions
    • Organization of ideas
  • Terminology and other technical syntax details 
  • Citations

How much time should I invest in it?

As we’ve said before, it’s best to keep revisiting your work from time to time. Going back to it after sometime allows you to examine your work with fresh eyes.

But besides even that, it’s a good idea to finish your thesis beforehand to save some time just for editing. An unrealistic goal, perhaps, but not an impossible one.

We’d recommend a month or so.

How should I edit my thesis?

To review your thesis as a large comprehensive project, you might want to consider working backward.

Step 1: Check if it has been ordered properly. This is to see if your thesis flows well. This (or close to this) is the order you are aiming for:

  1. Title
  2. Abstract
  3. Literature review
  4. Thesis statement/hypothesis
  5. Methods used/research approach
  6. Analysis/experiments
  7. Inferences/results
  8. Conclusion

Step 2: Review each section one by one. Make sure that each section

  • has the components it requires
  • adheres to the pertinent academic conventions.

Step 3: Review each paragraph one by one to check for

  • a beginning-middle-end coherence
  • whether the argument of the whole paragraph comes across
  • whether it fits in neatly with the previous and next paragraph (flow and clarity)

Step 4: Review each sentence one by one for

  • proper grammar and punctuation
  • complete, well-constructed sentences
  • proper usage of terminology

Who can do it?

You can do it yourself completely, but that might not be for the best. It’s always better to have a fresh set of eyes to review your work for consistency and quality. After your basic round of editing, if you feel inadequate to check through it thoroughly, consider the following people as options.

  • Your professor. But probably not, since they are likely to be caught up with helping other students touch up their theses as well. Not to mention other professor-ly duties that they have to attend to.
  • A professional editing and proofreading service. Experts in the technical know-how of academic writing, but not the best expert of your subject. Still worth a chance though, because not knowing the nitty-gritties of your research question will allow them to be impartial in their work. Plus, going through an organized collective of professional thesis editors allows for the opportunity to be matched to the editor closest to your requirements.
  • A freelancer. Similar concerns as the above. But if you do your research right, the chances of you finding a compatible editor are fairly good!