Helpful Tips for Improving Thesis or Dissertation Writing Skills
For the grand majority of postgraduate students, writing a thesis or dissertation will be the most challenging writing project they have yet attempted. Most students will have written essays and reports during their undergraduate days and while completing postgraduate coursework; some may have given class or conference presentations; fewer may have successfully published a little of their writing in a scholarly journal or collection of essays. Only an extremely unusual student will have written a lengthy text based on a large research project, presented the findings in painstaking detail and developed and sustained a sophisticated scholarly argument over hundreds of pages. Producing a long and successful academic or scientific document is therefore likely to be an entirely new process that places significant demands on a student’s writing skills.
If you have had difficulties with writing clearly, correctly or in an effective formal style prior to beginning your thesis, you will definitely want to be proactive in improving your skills. Keep in mind that whatever problems arose in shorter, less complex documents will increase and multiply in a longer, more sophisticated piece of work. Unfortunately, most thesis supervisors or dissertation mentors will have neither the time nor the inclination to help advanced students resolve practical problems with their writing, and such tutoring is not really part of their jobs in any case. If your university has a writing centre, that is an excellent place to seek help. Students can usually receive assistance with correcting and improving their prose before they submit chapters to their supervisors and other committee members, ensuring that their ideas, procedures and analyses are presented as clearly as possible to those who will be assessing their work. More expensive but extremely beneficial are the services of a professional academic or scientific proofreader or editor, who can bring expertise in language and writing as well as your subject area to bear upon your prose.
If the difficulties you are facing lie not in the practicalities of writing clear and correct prose but in the subtleties of formulating and developing a sound scholarly argument or providing detailed descriptions or analyses of your research, a slightly different approach will be needed. Your supervisor may be willing to help you with this aspect of your writing, or he or she may be able to suggest someone who can. A fellow student who works within your discipline or is conducting research similar to your own might also prove very helpful. Establishing a writing relationship in which each of you reads the work of the other before it is submitted to supervisors and committee members can be extremely productive as long as the criticism remains constructive and professional objectivity is maintained. Another sound policy is to read or reread particularly fine scholarly articles and books with your thoughts tuned to how each author deals with the presentation of complicated data and successfully develops a sound and persuasive argument. If these books and articles are related to your research topic, you will not only provide yourself with writing to emulate as you draft your thesis or dissertation, but also familiarise yourself with content that will prove useful for your own work.
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Our scientific editing services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer manuscript editing 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 editing 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.