Dissertation Editing Wow! Have you already finished the last page of your dissertation? Go ahead, do your victory dance! You deserve it. Celebrate a little now, because soon you’ll need to get to the final stage – your dissertation editing.

Dissertation Editing: Check the Main Parts

The first step to effective editing is to check whether you have included all the important parts of a dissertation. You should start worrying if your dissertation lacks any of the following:

  • Title page;
  • abstract;
  • table of contents;
  • acknowledgments;
  • introduction (including a hypothesis and a thesis statement);
  • literature review (indicating a gap in the existing literature);
  • methodology;
  • results;
  • discussion;
  • conclusions;
  • recommendations;
  • appendices.

Dissertation Editing: Focus on 10 Common Pitfalls

Dissertation editing can take a lot of time – days or even weeks. Checking every letter and every comma can drive you crazy. To keep editing within reasonable time, start by correcting the following 10 common mistakes:

  1. Conjunctions at the Beginning and Prepositions at the End of Sentences. These mistakes make the writing look so 5th grade. Simply correct your writing to avoid conjunctions at the beginning and prepositions at the end of sentences – your project will already look much more professional.
  2. Punctuation in Quotes. Always put punctuation marks within quotation marks.
  3. The “Data” Word. Use it as a plural: "Data are..." The singular form for this word is "datum."
  4. "Affect" vs. "effect". This is one of those cases when a single letter makes a big difference.

    Word Part of speech Meaning Example
    Affect Noun Emotion The affect influences your memory.
    Affect Verb To have an influence on Does lecture attendance affect my grade?
    Effect Noun Result or consequence What is the effect of this diet?
    Effect Verb To cause something to happen Can studying all night effect an excellent grade next day?


  5. Ampersand. The ampersand is a small symbol (&) used as a shortened version of the word ‘and’. It is okay to use it in the reference list and inside of parentheses, but not outside them.
  6. Numbers. Spell out all the numbers that are less than or equal to nine.
  7. Its and it’s. First, remember that ‘its’ is a possessive pronoun and 'it's' is a contracted form of two words: 'it is'. Second, avoid using contractions in your dissertation - always write ‘it is’ instead of ‘it’s’.
  8. Royal We. Use ‘I’ and ‘my’ when you write about the author of the thesis.
  9. Page Breaks. Avoid pressing the key ‘Enter’ to start a new page. Instead, in Word, you can use the combination Ctrl + Enter to insert a page break.
  10. Reference List.
    • Abbreviations. Always use full journal titles.
    • Consistency. Make sure that every citation in the text has a corresponding entry in the reference list and vice versa.
    • Digital Object Identifier. Always add DOI to your entries, where applicable.
    • Et al. If some source has too many authors, you should consult the rules of the citation style you use, as to how many authors should be written before 'et al'. (In APA, it’s 8 of them, as of now.)

We hope this checklist helps. Good luck with your dissertation editing!