Dissertation Proofreading Strategies: A Brief Introduction

If you’ve spent hours, days and weeks researching, constructing, writing and editing your slaved over dissertation, you could well be feeling rather tired and stressed. Well, I’m afraid there’s still one last thing you need to do before you can relax: proofread.

This might not be as simple as it sounds, or you may not quite know what you should be checking for. Well, here are some strategies to help you along the way.

Spelling and grammar

There are many things to look for when proofreading your dissertation. Let’s start with the obvious ones. Firstly, you need to check your spelling and grammar. You should rely on both your computer program and your own skills. Use all the tools your program has to offer to check for any errors, but read the whole essay through (as many times as it takes) for yourself, rather than just relying on those words and sentences your program has highlighted. It’s easy to write ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’ or to write ‘is’ instead of ‘in’- these are the sorts of small details your program could overlook. Remember one word could actually drastically change the meaning of a sentence, so it’s always best to check.

What other strategies are there

Before you even began your dissertation, you should have known of the exact guidelines to follow- pertaining to such things as: word length, sections, thesis statements, inclusion of illustrations, page numbering, line spacing, borders, source annotation, references etc.

Make sure that you know exactly how each should be treated. Make a list of these various things and check them off as you proof.

Edit for errors

Although you have already completed the editing stage with regards to crafting your dissertation, there’s still room to edit in the proofreading stage. Whereas before you will have paid attention to such things as flow and style, now you’re simply trying to spot mistakes.

Keep your energy up!

If you are feeling stressed and fatigued at the end of your long haul of thesis writing, you should firstly remember that the end is nearly in sight! Secondly, you may not be in the best frame of mind to conduct your proofreading satisfactorily. You need to be spotting errors, but it’s easy to make mistakes when your energy is low! You need to be sharp and focused if you’re going to proof and polish to a high quality, so if you’re tired, take a break, have a snack and then return to work. Be mindful of your concentration levels!


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