Proofread your thesis or dissertation before you submit it

By on February 19, 2013

A thesis or dissertation forms an integral part of most doctorate and post-graduate academic programs. The basic idea behind asking a student to write a thesis or dissertation lies in checking his or her ability to apply the theory that has been imparted as part of the course program. And this is where most students fail. The irony lies in the fact that many times the students do not fail because they are not clear about the concepts; but because they had not communicated them well. If the supervisor is not able to comprehend the content correctly; he or she will never be able to approve it. Yet another mistake students make in this context is that whenever the supervisor rejects their paper, they concentrate only on finding any faults in the content. But this is again wrong! Even if the content is good but if it has not been presented correctly then it does not meet the purpose.

How does the editing of a thesis or dissertation help?

Proofreading and editing often serve as the rescue to the above-mentioned situations. By proofreading one checks for the quality of the content; whether it meets the objectives laid down for the thesis or dissertation and if the flow of the information contained is accurate. Editing ensures that no important piece of information on the dissertation or thesis subject is missed out and at the same time, there is no irrelevant content in the document. The content of each paragraph and the transition from one paragraph are also cross-checked during proofreading to ensure a smooth and logical flow of the information. Another very important aspect of proofreading and editing is to cross-check the information critically i.e. if the writer has critically analyzed the findings of primary research as well as the literature gathered under secondary research. Apart from these, a proofreader also checks for correct referencing style as per the university standards.

Why should you proofread your paper before submission?

While the scope of proofreading and editing has already been explained in the previous section, it is ideally not the final step to submission. The terms ‘editing’ and ‘proofreading’ are often used interchangeably, but in reality, they differ. It is the proofreading that confirms the paper is ready for submission. Though editing ensures that the writer has included the desired content in proper flow, it doesn’t look after the spellings, grammar, word usage, formatting, typography and punctuation style. Often while writing in a flow, these things are missed out. While editing the document, there are so many things to be checked and corrected that these mistakes are usually neglected. But it is important to understand that even a small mistake in spelling or usage of the wrong tense or a wrong word; or simply a mistake in punctuation may change the complete meaning of a statement.


The use of ‘there’ instead of ‘their’ or using a ‘question mark’ instead of ‘comma’ will change the entire meaning of the content. Moreover, even if there is a small mistake like inserting double space instead of single at any place, this will spoil the presentation of the paper.