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How to Edit and Proofread Your Own Thesis

edit your own thesis

Today I will share with you how you can edit and proofread your own thesis! During this COVID-19 pandemic, people are worried about many things and that includes money. So here’s one way you can save money by editing and proofreading your own thesis.

Before I start about how you can edit and proofread your own thesis, you will need to make sure that you have truly written and analyzed your thesis to the best of your ability. You need to make sure that you have edited your thesis several times before you actually proofread it (Not sure about the difference? Click here to read more).

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts when you want to publish your thesis. You’ll have to re-read and re-edit many many times. And please, do not commit plagiarism! Trust me, your supervisor will know when you plagiarize without having to upload it on Turnitin!

Before you edit your thesis, you will need to:


Try to determine the formatting rules before you dive into writing your thesis. Formatting may seem petty, but trust me, you don’t want to fix your formatting at the very end because it can be very stressful! Formatting was indeed one of the things that really stressed me out when I wanted to publish my dissertation.

So here are the formatting rules that you will need to look into:

  • Indentation
  • In text citation – do you need to use APA, Chicago etc? Make sure you determine this right at the beginning before you actually start writing your thesis!
  • Bibliography – be sure to keep proper records of your literature review and sources. Record them in an excel sheet, if possible.
  • What kind of spelling do you need to use? US or UK? There’s a difference between the two.
  • Don’t leave all of these in the very last minute.

Usually, the postgraduate department would have a specific set of rules published to help guide students to ensure that their theses or dissertations comply with the university’s formatting. Sometimes they are available online, but sometimes you’d need to call the department and ask about it. Based on my experience, the one published online was NOT the latest one so I had to recheck all the formatting again.


When you are editing and proofreading your thesis, you need to always make sure that you look at your argument as a whole and see whether your points fit within your argument. There are a few ways for you to keep yourself in check when you are editing your work. I list some of the steps below:

  1. Keep your outline/mind map in front of you. Be sure to always ask yourself how is it important?
  2. Is your argument strong?
  3. Are you addressing your research questions?
  4. Are you sticking to your research objectives?
  5. Are you contributing anything new? Different?

Also, when you are editing and proofreading your own thesis, be sure to use an academic writing style. Some students tend to exaggerate when they want to make a point. So when you’re editing your thesis, be sure that you write in an academic manner, always back it up with facts, sources and do not jump to conclusions!


When you are editing your thesis, be sure that each subtopic fits within your central argument, so you would need to ask yourself  the following:

  1. Is each subtopic related to your thesis?
  2. If so, how does it help strengthen your argument?
  3. Do the points belong in this section?
  4. If so, why are they important? (Many students tend to just write stuff thinking it coule be related to their argument and thesis but they don’t clearly state why).


  1. Make sure you have a topic sentence. Students sometimes forget to write a topic sentence that reflects their points and argument, leaving the reader confused. Most times, for you to get this right, you would need to re-read and rewrite several times.
  2. Make sure your paragraphs are arranged/linked cohesively with the paragraphs before and after
  3. Make sure it links to your argument/thesis
  4. Adding linking phrases might help to clarify your point


  1. Read each word aloud – it’s an effective way to make you realize your mistakes
  2. Check for subject – verb agreement
  3. Punctuations
  4. UK/US spelling
  5. In text citations


Decide whether you prefer to edit it on the computer or print a copy. As for me, I preferred to edit my own thesis on paper just because I was too tired of looking at the screen after long hours.

Editing and proofreading your thesis will take time. Yes, it is indeed a long and arduous process. But it is definitely worth it! You will also need to edit it TWO, THREE, or even FOUR TIMES. But hang in there, everything will be just fine as long as you don’t give up!

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