A thesis is a long academic or scientific document presenting students’ research and findings and, thus, supporting their academic degree or professional qualifications. In simple words, a thesis is not “just another essay”, it is a comprehensive paper that shows you as a professional and which you need to graduate. This is why so much time and attention should be devoted to all stages of thesis writing: choosing a topic, doing research, writing a thesis and proofreading it.
While the first three stages are inevitable, students tend to neglect the last one – thesis proofreading – due to the lack of time or relevant skills. In this post, I will explain to you how proofreading your thesis can enhance your success and what important aspects to keep in mind when using professional proofreading services.
Why Is it Important to Proofread Your Thesis
Thesis language and general presentation manner are important thesis evaluation criteria that sum up towards the final mark.
The following language and presentation criteria make the paper get a failing score:
- A thesis has serious clarity and structure issues;
- The report has poor non-formal English;
- The layout of the report does not follow the given guidelines;
- References and the list of references do not follow the given guidelines.
Nevertheless, it’s not only about the score for presentation. A logical and comprehensive presentation of research affects how this research will be perceived and evaluated. If a professor sees you were careless (did not correct grammar mistakes and run-on sentences, did not follow layout and formatting guidelines), he might assume you were just as careless when searching for and interpreting data too.
This way, if you do care about your grade and value the efforts you have put into writing a thesis, make sure your research takes the form that it deserves. A form of a properly formatted and referenced, error-free paper that you will remember as a culmination of your studies.
Thesis Proofreading Options
Do It Yourself Approach
Of course, you do not necessarily have to hire a professional to proofread your thesis. If you are confident in your grammar and punctuation skills, you may proofread on your own.
Still, remember that you need to reserve much time to proofread your thesis. First, you will need a distance of time before you come down to proofreading. The problem is that we read from memory and overlook shortcomings in the logical flow knowing what we intended to say.
Second, you will have to spend a decent time looking for commas, italics, upper cases, number and order of authors to make references correspond to the formatting guidelines. Hundreds of them.
A better option will be swapping your papers with a clever peer and proofread for each other. The necessary conditions are (1) to find a peer whom you can trust and (2) make sure you have enough time, knowledge and dedication to return a favor.
If one of your peers is ready to proofread your thesis for compensation, do not hurry to call it a bargain. Some freelance proofreaders might charge even less as they are professionals and cover more pages per hour.
Professional Proofreading Services
If you resolved to hire an expert to proofread your thesis, you will still have to choose between delegating the job to freelancers and making an order with editing agencies.
Main differences: editing agencies will normally have 24/7 support; they will be able to handle large urgent orders distributing the job between several proofreaders, but they will also have much higher fees.
Another difference – unlike freelancers, agency proofreaders will not be motivated to go an extra mile and fix the issues that they are not obliged to fix by the contract. Regular employees do their jobs well enough not to be fined by an agency, as the level of your satisfaction will not make any difference for them personally. For freelancers, this is vice versa, as each time they have a chance to make you a long-term client and promoter.
Tips on Using Proofreading Services to Your Best Benefit
1. Get a sample first.
A thesis is a long and important paper and delegating it to someone you have not worked with before without even getting a sample of work is rather dangerous.
With any other type of service, this recommendation may not be as important. For example, it might be difficult to see the quality of essay editing from a one-page sample, as an editor has to work on an essay structure as a whole. At the same time, proofreading of one page of your thesis and comments of the proofreader will give you a pretty good understanding of what service to expect.
Getting a sample is also a good way to choose between several providers – simply ask a sample from each and see what service and price you like best. Still, working with agencies, everything may be not as simple: a sample may be delegated to one editor and the ultimate order – to another. Make sure you bring the point up when asking for a sample.
2. Order before you have finished writing.
Can I really do this?
Yes, you can and I recommend that you do.
Here is why.
First, it is a common scenario for students to write their papers for a very long time and put off thesis proofreading until the very last moment thinking that they would add something here and there. Then, they suddenly realize the deadline is near and they need to have their paper proofread as it is for it to be proofread at all. They start looking for professional services and realize that their urgent order will cost a fortune.
They start looking on forums spending even more time to see representatives of companies recommend themselves. Then, they post a project on a freelancers’ base and get flooded by offers and spend much time, efforts and nerves investigating them. Some of these are lucky to end up with a well-proofread paper, but all eventually end up stressed, worn out, and spending more than they could.
Not to end up like this, you need to make sure you do not follow this scenario from the very beginning and find a reliable contractor early in the writing process.
This will not only save you from stress but will also allow you to get the best price. The case is professional proofreaders have much work and deadline of a month does not mean they will actually work on your paper for the whole month – they will work on it for a few days or a week. Nevertheless, urgent orders may interfere with their personal plans and other orders, so it is logical that the rates for urgent orders are higher.
Making an early order, before the thesis paper is written, you reserve the price as it is for non-urgent orders and submit the paper in logical pieces when you finish working on them. While not all agencies might agree to that, it is always a win-win situation when working with freelancers.
3. Ask Questions.
Proofreading seems to be a rather straightforward service involving the correction of mistakes in grammar and punctuation.
In case of thesis proofreading services, it is also important to know whether formatting and layout of the paper will be corrected according to the guidelines of the chosen style (APA, MLA, Harvard, etc.). If it does, ask the proofreader to confirm that both in-text citations and references will be proofread. Ask whether references and a title page will be counted towards the general word count.
Other good questions to ask are
- Will you consider the appropriateness of information as you proofread marking some content as irrelevant or in need of improvement?
- Will you point to any inconsistencies and structural mistakes if you see any?
- How will you approach sentences that have to be rewritten: Will you revise them for me or just leave a comment that I need to revise them?
- Do you complete the work in a track changes mode? (It is important to have a variant with tracked changes, which leaves you in charge of the final variant and proves your academic honesty if any questions arise)
Be sure to ask about bonuses and discounts. You can try to negotiate the price or payment options stressing that thesis makes a large order. If you are a native speaker, be sure to mention this too: since proofreading a work of a native speaker will definitely take less time, a freelancer is likely to agree to a discount on this premise. Most agencies have higher rates for proofreading of papers written by ELL. A common rule is: who doesn’t ask, doesn’t get.
Please share your good or bad experience with thesis proofreading services or mention other questions you would like to ask a proofreader.
To find out more details about my proofreading services, please follow this link.