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8.5 Tips on Rewriting and Redrafting Your phD Thesis

Rewriting and redrafting your thesis can be an extremely difficult and very tedious task. You write the first draft full of enthusiasm but this naturally wanes when you have rewritten the same chapter four or five times! It probably won’t be much comfort to you but professional writers (and that is what you are aspiring to be) undergo this process every day of their working lives.

In fact, if you look at original manuscripts of the great authors, you will see how often they cross out and rewrite. You have to rewrite, in order to make your thesis as strong as it can be and these tips might help you to get through what is usually considered the worst stage of a thesis successfully:

  1. Each time you complete a draft of your thesis, show it to your supervisor.
  2. When you have read your supervisor’s suggestions, arrange to meet.
  3. Ensure that you understand precisely why the changes have been suggested.
  4. If you do not agree with a change, say so, but do listen to good advice.
  5. Make changes to your thesis as you progress do not leave them all to the end.
  6. Make sure that you supplement any new work with evidence and analysis.
  7. Look upon rewriting as an essential part of the creation of your thesis.
  8. Listen to any and all advice offered you don’t have to incorporate it, do you?
  9. Ensure that any rewriting and redrafting will be to the benefit of the thesis.
  10. When you rewrite, remember that your thesis has to retain its cohesiveness.
  11. Do not let any changes disturb the strong structure you have established.
  12. Think of changes as a ‘necessary evil’, if you like but do take in suggestions.
  13. Do not allow changes to seem to be superimposed upon the body of the thesis.
  14. Develop changes within the context of the argument as it progresses.
  15. Attach changes to the specific chapter in which they were first located.
  16. Ensure that each chapter continues to reflect the core thesis as changes occur.
  17. Show changes to your supervisor after they have been made for further advice.
  18. Select supplementary evidence carefully for inclusion in your thesis changes.
  19. Refine and hone your changes until both you and your supervisor are happy.
  20. Never be satisfied with anything less than your most clearly defined work.
  21. Ensure that your changes reflect exactly what you need to enhance the drafts.
  22. Take care to include any new evidence within your bibliography.
  23. Be careful with referencing, especially in anything you alter in your thesis.
  24. Put the central argument first at all times, and remember to be original!

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