Revising and editing
It is useful to think of revising and editing as separate processes. There is overlap, but basically we take revision to be a continual process of writing and re-writing, and editing to focus more on stylistic and grammatical points once you have an acceptable draft.

At the global level you revise and redraft to get your text right. So you pay attention to your overall argument, the logical flow of your ideas, the quality of your evidence. In the same way, you need to tackle each chapter, section, sub-section, paragraph and even certain sentences.

You can't work at all of these levels at the same time. You have to work first with the global structure and get that clear, then move to the next level down. It is pointless to become preoccupied with single paragraphs or sentences if the whole structure of the larger part is not firmly established. It could happen that these paragraphs don't make it to the final draft.

Always revise anything larger than a paragraph on a hard copy of the text. If you do everything on the computer screen, you could have trouble seeing the whole structure, even of a section let alone a chapter.

Revision and change
Revision means change and not all change is for the better. You may decide that what you wrote was better the first time. Or you could decide that it does need change, but in a different direction. In other words, revision could be a messy process. You need to articulate for yourself why you need to change something, why you think it's not working the way it is, so that you know what you're trying to achieve.

Don't keep only the latest draft, but keep all earlier drafts as well. Date them and, if possible, jot down your reasons for changing them. Perhaps before embarking on a major change, it would also be a good idea to discuss it with your supervisor or someone else.

Editing and proof reading attend to the detail and are better done after you've decided that you are basically happy with what you are saying. As it is done after you've done everything else, editing is often skimped. Time runs out. And probably you're absolutely sick of the thesis and want to hand it in. However, you have to see editing as an integral part of demonstrating your standards, and, no matter how painful it is, you must take care and get the details right.

  • Don't read large sections in one go, as you will miss a lot.

  • Read the text aloud as your ear finds clumsy rhythms, repetitions, awkward and complex sentences, missing links, and the like that your eyes miss.

  • Remember that, even though the spell check is very useful, you cannot rely on it alone. A word which is spelled right may not be the right word.

  • Many people find that they do a better editing job on the hard copy rather than on a computer screen.

  • References need particular care. Keep a printed copy of your reference list and, while you are reading the text, make sure that each reference appearing in the text also is entered into the list of references. It is surprising how many references are missing in theses, or have inconsistent or wrong details recorded.

Both revising and editing deserve serious attention.
* What style of writing is expected?
* Use of the personal pronoun.
* Active vs passive voice.
* The use of tenses.
* Sometimes when I'm writing I feel as though I'm saying the same thing over and over. How can I avoid repetition?
* Tackling the writing of drafts.
* Seeking, receiving and handling feedback.
* Strategies for getting the best feedback possible.
* Overcoming reluctance to seek feedback.
* Deciding on your structure.
* Seeing a plot emerge.
* Developing a picture of the thesis as a whole.
* Preparing an outline.
* Consortium Universities assistance.
* Some writing tips.

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