A PhD is a long, long process of research, writing, and editing. Eventually, if all goes well, this work results in an academically written thesis which contributes to your field, and which demonstrates your ability to adhere to the conventions of your discipline. But once you have your thesis written, what should you do before you submit?
There are always practicalities in the academic world, and none more so that when submitting a research degree paper. So, you need to make sure that you have identified appropriate examiners and that they have been contacted and have agreed to read and examine. Also, you need to complete an ‘Intention to Submit’ form, at least 4 weeks before you intend to hand-in.
As far as the thesis is concerned, you need to spend lots of time editing. Part of this involves, if possible, giving chapters to friends to read. If you can find other PhD students in a similar discipline, they can provide valuable reader feedback. They can see your work in a way that your proximity precludes.
And, of course, read the thesis yourself, and not just once. You have worked for a very long time on this, you will never be able to re- do it, so ensure that the document that you submit is the best that it can possibly be! Read critically, as if you were examining. Ask yourself: does this do what it advertises as doing?
Make sure that all of your sections and chapters are complete. Usually, a PhD is compiled of several sections, written at different times, over several years. So, it is a bit of a jigsaw, and you must make certainty that nothing is missing!
The most important sections to read for consistency are the introduction and the conclusion. Read these, with the thesis statement in mind, and if they need editing and revising, edit and revise them.
As before, read, read, read; this is the final push, so do not get lazy or unfocused at the finish line! Writing a PhD takes a lot of work, a great deal of time, and huge commitment. Make sure that the document that you hand in reflects this, by remaining focused and diligent until the very end!
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