Lecture 9Revising, Editing, Proofreading, and Finalizing Your Thesis
Outline1. The Quality of Good Writing2. Making your writing coherent through revising3. Making your writing clear through editing4. Proofreading Your Thesis5. Tips for Good Writing6. Finalizing Your Thesis7. Guidelines for Oral Defense
1. The Quality of Good Writing
The standards of a good thesis are:Clarity in presentation of the ideas in appropriate grammar and in the use of vocabulary.Accuracy: To express your ideas precisely and exactly. Avoid ambiguity.Fluency: smoothly flowing ideas through unity and coherence. Avoid broken sentences or abrupt switch of ideas.Correctness in grammatical matters.
Good writers make changes in wording and presentation of ideas as they write. That is one kind of revision. Another kind of revision comes after the first complete writing or first draft of a work. Then you may add, delete, or rearrange words and ideas. Even if you were writing from a satisfactory outline, you may find that when the whole research paper is finished, there are parts that would fit better in place than in another.
Revision is another chance to look at what youve written and change it, to make it most precisely convey your intentions to your audience. In fact, writing is often described as a messy process because of constant revision.
2. Making your writing coherent through revising
When you revise, you should focus your attention on content and organization of your graduation thesis. Leave language and formats to editing. Do not expect immediate perfection; and do not try to accomplish everything all through one reading. When you revise, check the following questions.
General questions are:Does your graduation thesis focus, and adequately support your thesis statement?Does your graduation thesis have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion?Have you organized your graduation thesis logically and clearly in structure?Have you used transitions throughout to connect the ideas into a coherent whole?
Questions about IntroductionWill the introduction engage your readers attention?Does the introduction present your thesis statement clearly?Does the introduction include some background information for your topic?
Questions about BodyDoes the body of your thesis present evidence from a wide variety of reliable sources?Are materials from your sources presented in a combination of summary, paraphrase, and quotation?Are there any gaps in your argument? Are there any points that are inadequately supported?Have you deleted all unnecessary or irrelevant materials from your thesis?
Questions about ConclusionDoes your conclusion summarize the main points that you have presented in support of the thesis?Did you repeat the major argument, or restate your thesis in the conclusion of your thesis? Does your conclusion have a satisfactory sense of completion? (Are all the loose ends tied up? Have all the parts of the thesis been supported? Have you addressed all those most likely questions about the topic?)
Questions about StyleHave you achieved variety in style by using different kinds of sentences?Have you avoided wordiness? Have you deleted unnecessary words, phrases, or clauses?Have you used clear, concrete examples? Have you defined key terms?Have you avoided colloquial language, slang, jargon, and dialect in your thesis? Have you avoided first-person pronouns in the thesis?
3. Making your writing clear through editing
When you edit, you should focus your attention on language and format of your graduation thesis. When you work on language, you should pay attention to word choice, sentences, and writing style. You should be able to discover the imprecision of your thesis and make your thesis convey clearly and concisely what you want to express.
3.1 Word Choice and Perspectives on SentencesThe writing style and intelligence of your thesis could be indicated through the wording in your thesis. When you write your thesis, you need to convey to the reader your expertise in the subject area and your professional attitude toward it. In word choice, avoid being too chatty or conversational. Use serious and intelligent vocabulary. Avoid using Clichs, Jargon, Euphemisms, Pretentious Language, Sexist Language, and Chinese English.
(2) In sentence structure, try to write sentences that are more varied and complex in structure. Write with style, but make certain it is a style appropriate for a thesis.
Avoid sentence fragmentsOriginal: The owner went to chunch. Leaving me in charge of the store.Revised: The owner went to chunch, leaving me in charge of the store.Original: Along with population explosion many problems occurred. For instance, natural resources, education, etc.Revised: Along with population explosion many problems occurred, for instance, natural resources, education, etc.
Avoid run-on sentences Original: Human nature is seldom as simple as it appears hasty judgment are therefore often wrong.Revised: Since human nature is seldom as simple as it appears, hasty judgment are therefore often wrong.Original: We had no lack of entertainment during the time which we spent in the city, which seemed very gay and attractive.Revised: The city seemed so gay and attractive that we had no lack of entertainment during our stay there.
Avoid dangling phrases (A dangler is an error so called because it is an element unrelated to any word in a sentence. Though it may appear in any part of a sentence it usually occurs at the beginning. Since the subject in the sentence with a dangler is not the subject for the action described by the dangler, the way to correct this kind of error is either to supply a subject or to change the dangling phrase into a clause.)
Original: Opening the door, an amusing scene caught my eye.Revised: Opening the door, I saw an amusing scene.Original After reading the letter, my heart throbbed violently.Revised: After reading the letter, I felt my heart throbbing violently. or After I had read the letter, my heart throbbed violently. Original: To be admitted to college, the entrance examination must be passed.Revised: To be admitted to college, a candidate mustpass the entrance examination.
Avoid the comma fault (the use of comma in place of a period, a semicolon, a colon or a dash.)Original: It was raining hard, they could not play basketball outside. Revised: It was raining hard and they could not play basketball outside. or: Because it was raining hard, they could not play basketball outside.
3.2 Edit your thesisFor clarity in presentation of the ideas in appropriate grammar and in the use of vocabulary; For variety of shape, organization, strategy and vocabulary. In writing a thesis, you may use different ways or methods of development of chapters or paragraphs.
Variety Is the Spice of Writing. To make an essay more interesting for your reader, you should try to vary your choice of words as much as possible. You should particularly include sophisticated vocabulary that indicates your intelligence and expertise. To help increase the variety of your word choices, you can use a thesaurus --- a special dictionary that compiles synonyms of words. When you edit your paper, look for any words that are repeated many times, especially within the same paragraph. You can then look the words in the thesaurus and select alternatives.
For symmetry , balance and parallelism. The requirement for parallelism is not only a grammatical one, but a logical one as well. The headings at the same level of the outline have equivalent importance and refer to similar categories of ideas.For economy: Academic research writing is judged on a standard of economy of expression: you should use as many words as you need, but no more than you need to accomplish your goal. Everything should be part of the main effect. No word should be wasted. Every excessive verbiage should be eliminated during revision.
3.3 Recognizing ImprecisionTwo major characteristics of imprecise writing are ambiguity and wordiness. (1) Ambiguity is often characteristic of and purposeful in literary works: doubleness or multiplicity of meaning may well be part of the thematic aim of a poem or story. But ambiguity is not desirable in research paper, even though a critical essay may be about ambiguity in a literary text. Simply stated, you dont want you reader to wonder what your point is or choose among possible or implied meanings.
Ambiguity is often the result of vague language --- that is, references that need specification to make the interpretation meaningful. No word is inherently vague but words can be used in vague ways. To make writing more precise, you need to develop an eye for words and phrases that invite specificity in your particular interpretive context.
Original: In the article it points out that the air pollution ofthis city is serious.Revised: It is pointed out in the article that the air pollution of the city is serious. Or:The article points out that ....Original: The water supply in this area is scanty; they should do something to ease it.Revised: The water supply in this area is scanty; the government should do something to ease the situation.Original: Jane told her friend Ann that she had won a scholarship.Revised: Jane told her friend Ann, I have won a scholarship.
Original: The student used some mixed metaphors in his composition, which the teacher disapproved of.Revised: The teacher disapproved of the students use of mixed metaphors in his composition.Original: The novel