Developing Ideas for Your PhD Thesis as You Consult Sources

Developing Ideas for Your PhD Thesis as You Consult Sources
Reading a source that deals with topics and concepts central to one’s own doctoral research and dissertation can be highly inspirational – rather like brainstorming in a conference setting, except that the meeting is between your mind and that of the author whose work you are consulting. You may find that your ideas develop and change as you read, and in some cases new ideas will arise and take you in unexpected directions. Perhaps, for instance, the methodology used in a study you read encourages you to reconsider and refine your own methods, or maybe the limitations or recommendations you encounter in a source inspire you to make adjustments that will allow your work to contribute more effectively to knowledge in your field. It is important to record such ideas and developments at once before they and their details fade or escape your memory altogether, and writing them down can itself be part of the process that develops and refines your ideas. Such writing is a natural and useful part of producing professional scholarly prose and is always worth the time invested, if for no other reason than the fact that writing something down often helps fix the information firmly in the mind.
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You can, of course, record your original thoughts about a source entirely separately from the iterative notes that report the content of the source and the critical notes that assess that content and its author. They could, for example, be written in a different notebook, typed into a different computer file or recorded on different (and perhaps differently coloured) sheets of paper. It often proves impossible, however, to separate different types of notes about a single source without writing a good deal more text, and it can in any case be useful to maintain the connection between such intellectual developments and the sources that inspired them, so you may well want to add your brainstorming notes to your other notes on a source. If you do, it is essential that both they and any critical thoughts you have about the sources you read be clearly distinguished from the ideas and information actually contained in those sources. There are several effective ways of doing this: left-hand pages in a notebook might be used for bibliographical and iterative notes, while the right-hand side is used for critical and brainstorming notes; your original thoughts might be recorded on the back of the pages of a photocopied article; or your own ideas might be merged with your other notes but distinguished by using a different colour of ink or enclosing them in brackets. The main goal is to avoid confusing your own thoughts with those of the authors whose work you read, because such confusion can lead to misattribution of ideas as you cite and quote sources in your dissertation, especially if you are unable to access a source again and must rely solely on your notes.

Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At we offer the highest quality journal article editing, phd thesis editing and proofreading services via our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. All of our proofreaders are native speakers of English who have earned their own postgraduate degrees, and their areas of specialisation cover such a wide range of disciplines that we are able to help our international clientele with research editing to improve and perfect all kinds of academic manuscripts for successful publication. Many of the carefully trained members of our expert editing and proofreading team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, applying painstaking journal editing standards to ensure that the references and formatting used in each paper are in conformity with the journal’s instructions for authors and to correct any grammar, spelling, punctuation or simple typing errors. In this way, we enable our clients to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions proofreaders and achieve publication.

Our scientific proofreading services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer manuscript proofreading services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical proofreading services, and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading, offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting PhD thesis editing and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our professional team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.

If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication, which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.

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