Dissertation Editing Tips From a Professional Editor

6 min readJun 8, 2022


Towards the end of your student journey come dissertations. Though they resemble research papers, they are longer and more tedious. Dissertation tips and tricks can help you write, but dissertations test you in a lot of ways- right from when you are brainstorming questions and possible arguments, to collecting data from different sources, compiling it into a specific structure, and coming to a conclusion towards the end. Dissertations demand long hours in front of a laptop, researching information and going over the analysis you have come up with. Not to forget, editing a dissertation. Editing is the last step in preparing a good dissertation. It includes formatting, structuring, putting sentences in a logical order, cutting out unnecessary information, etc. Start editing once you are done writing your dissertation.

Dissertation Editing Tips from a Professional Editor

Here is a dissertation editing guide for you

Create an appendix to include all the extra information:

Appendices are present in every research paper, academic piece, article, dissertation or thesis for the writer to be able to explain certain points in their dissertation in detail. However, these extra details are not directly connected to the dissertation or the findings and analysis. They are extra points that the reader might be interested in. The reader chooses to refer to certain explanations provided in the dissertation appendix and does not read the rest. Elements that are not important to the dissertation need to go in the appendix for the precision of the answer to the question addressed in a dissertation.

Avoid repetition:

As you write your dissertation, you may have written the same sentence in a few different ways in separate sections of your dissertation. Try to eliminate such repetitive sentences while editing. Avoid repeating points in every section. Writing them systematically in proper order and numbering them will help you prevent repetition. Check words that you might be using again and again in your dissertation. Replace these words with words or phrases that are similar in meaning to them. This would make your dissertation less mundane and more interesting to read.

Format your dissertation according to the guidelines given by your advisor/institute:

As you format your dissertation, refer to the guidelines that are given by your advisor or institute. Use the proper text alignment, font, font size, color, heading, line, and paragraph spacing. Underline wherever needed and highlight the important points. Citation formats also need to be adhered to while working on in-text citations in your dissertation. In case you do not know how to create citations, use an online citation generator. The specific format (APA, MLA, and Chicago) would be available to you online.

Make sure you have covered all the sections and structured them well:

A dissertation needs to have necessary sections specified by your advisor/institute. As you edit your dissertation, make it a point to check each section thoroughly. Be careful not to miss out on a sub-heading or important point. The information provided should be in a logical order. The reader should be able to follow the argument you are making while reading. This can be ensured by structuring each section properly. Write in a point-wise format and number the points. Put the sections in a logical order- starting with a title page, a table of contents, abstract, and introduction….going up to a conclusion, bibliography, and appendices.

Check whether your ideas are expressed clearly:

One of the most important steps in editing your dissertation is to go over the information you provide in it. This information should not just flow logically but also be explained with the written words. The ideas you are trying to put forth need to be explained as clearly as you can. You can ask a friend or a peer to read your dissertation to make sure that you have explained each point well. The dissertation should be understandable even to those who have little knowledge about your field. Provide proper details wherever needed. The analysis and conclusion should be appropriate and well-formed.

Do not stretch your explanations:

As you start checking your points, and mention all relevant details, make sure that you do not bombard your readers with too much. Explanations tend to go on and on if you do not cut them short after you have made your point. Try to stick to the necessary statements while you edit your dissertation. Do not go overboard with explaining something or dumbing down your points for a reader who is not well-versed with the concepts specific to the field. Explain points as logically as possible, without the use of flowery language or complex words. Structure your explanations into points that are easily readable for a reader. Avoid lengthy descriptions of the context behind your study if there is no use for it in your findings. Be aware of the points you are trying to make in your dissertation.

Title and Label throughout your dissertation:

You must have included a variety of elements in your dissertation from graphs, tables, and charts to diagrams, lists, interviews, studies etc. It is important to title each and every such element in order to avoid confusion on the part of the reader. You can mention/refer to the elements later in your dissertation much more easily if you label them. This can be done while you edit your dissertation. Titles need to specify the relevance of an element to the study. It will be useful while referring to particular points in a specific section in the dissertation, either as the reader reads through the complete dissertation and/or when they go over the appendix.

Run a spelling and grammar check:

One of the first things a reader or advisor will notice in your dissertation is your grammar. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors get picked on. No one wants to lose marks just because of a misspelled word or inappropriately written sentences. While editing go over your dissertation and correct any such mistakes you come across. Replace words, change sentence structure and make the dissertation readable. A lot of spell-check services are available online. You can enter your dissertation paragraphs there to check your spelling and grammar. Make the necessary changes before you submit your dissertation.

The process to follow for editing your dissertation is:

  1. Start editing once you are done writing your dissertation
  2. Prepare an appendix for all the extra information in your dissertation
  3. Explain each point well and do not miss out on important points
  4. Cut short unnecessarily long explanations
  5. Choose words well and avoid repetition of words and phrases
  6. Format your dissertation according to the guidelines given to you
  7. Include necessary sections and structure your sections properly
  8. Check spelling mistakes and grammar
  9. Title and label elements
  10. Refer and cite sources of information
  11. Make sure the dissertation flows logically

To Conclude

Hope these dissertation tips and tricks help you in editing your dissertation! Though the process of writing and editing a dissertation seems long and arduous, but you will understand the importance of it as you start working. Try not to edit for the sake of it. Structuring and formatting are as important as the body of your dissertation. They need to be done well to make your dissertation impactful and worth reading. Follow our dissertation editing guide to avoid losing marks on silly mistakes and to create a grade A dissertation! Do not forget to keep a checklist!

-Masha Evans





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