PG Writing Group 27/06/11 Social Science South Rm 2204 Monday 12-1pm
For copyright reasons I can’t reproduce any of her cartoons, but before you read any further have a quick look through InkyGirls Comics (http://inkygirl.com/comics/). Jokes aside, revising is a serious business and it is important to thoroughly edit and proofread your thesis. Evidence suggests that examiners’ first impressions of a thesis are important; they may form the impression that the research is not rigorous if the thesis contains ‘sloppy’ errors, like typographical and grammatical mistakes (Mullins & Kiley, 2002).
While revising is important, editing and proofreading for lower order concerns can be both boring and difficult. This is almost guaranteed to induce your worst avoidance behaviours. In future weeks we will discuss what I think are the top low order mistakes in thesis writing. But to start with, we will discuss some editing and proofreading strategies to use to develop a systematic approach to revising at this level. Monday’s session will include discussion about:
- Distinguishing your mistakes from errors. Mistakes are inadvertent, whereas errors result from a lack of understanding of conventions.
- Recognising your errors. You can quickly review a reference book about style, attend StudySmarter’s workshops or download their advice sheets, and be aware of the norms of your discipline. Does your discipline recommend a particular style?
- Systematically checking the remainder of your thesis for an error after it is first identified. Include this error within your style guide to ensure that you check the document again for this error in the final stages of thesis writing.
- Editing in small stages. Bookmark where you are up to as it is easy to miss entire sections.
- Concentrating as you proofread. As you are familiar with your text you will not be able to identify missing words and other simple mistakes. Some editors recommend reading your text backwards, word by word. This is tedious, so I tend to check my writing in reverse paragraph order.
- Reading your drafts aloud to yourself and anyone else who will listen.
- Considering learning some of the editing and proofreading marks.
- For more advice about editing see Werder and Hoelscher Editing Matters Inside Higher Ed January 14, 2011: http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/hoelscher/why_editing_and_proofreading_matter_in_academic_writing
- StudySmarter have lost of material covering lower order concerns in academic writing: http://www.studentservices.uwa.edu.au/ss/learning/online_services/survival_guides
- William Strunk’s 1995 Elements of style is available online. It provides a short and easy guide to style issues.
- Mullins and Kiley 2002. It’s a PhD, not a Nobel Prize’:how experienced examiners assess research theses. Studies in Higher Education 27(4):369: http://www.studentservices.uwa.edu.au/__data/page/65297/Its_a_PhD_not_a_Nobel_Prize.pdf
- For editing and proofreading marks and examples, see: http://www.pit-magnus.com/pitmagnus/books/pr_marks.pdf
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