The End is in Sight!

Got my full draft back on Tuesday.  No nasty surprises!  For the most part, it’s fine, no majorly hard things to do.  The plan is to submit at the end of term.  I think I could well be finished before then, but it would be good to have the time to not look at my thesis for a week or so and come back to it fresh.  Also, I have 17 document analyses and 23 exam papers to mark in the next few weeks as well.

The main thing I need to do is cut down my word count.  I’m deleting most of a chapter, as I suspected I might be able to, and adding a couple of sections from it to a surviving chapter.  That’s ~8,000 words gone immediately!  There were also a couple of sections my supervisor said could go as they weren’t so relevant, so I’ve got rid of them.  My literature review still had a lot of un-needed information, and yesterday I cut it by 1,799 words.  I’m hoping that deleting all references to the removed chapter and sections will make a bit of a dent too.  Once I’ve done all that major stuff, it’s probably still going to be a few thousand words too long, so it’ll be a case of removing examples that don’t really add anything, and generally making the whole thing smoother with rephrasing and getting rid of unnecessary words.

I still have to write my conclusion.  I had a go at it before but it didn’t really work, plus it’ll be easier to write now I know what’s no longer in the thesis.  The main things I have to do in the conclusion are point up the implications of my study, and suggest future research that might stem from it.  There are also minor additions within the thesis that I need to do - an extra signpost here, a reference to a certain work there.  Again, nothing too taxing.  Oh, and I still need to finish my biographical dictionary.

The most finicky thing I have to do is altering references - both to different factors in the thesis, and footnotes where I’ve deleted the full reference along with the chapter I’ve taken out.  Some of the chapter numbers have changed, as it turns out the literature review should have a chapter number, and I’ve taken out what was originally Chapter Three.  Also, ‘Spoiling and Strictness’ is now ‘Intensive Parenting’.  It’s so important that I don’t refer to people without the correct information, or signpost the wrong chapter, or use a short title when I need a long one - and it’s so easy to overlook something like that!  And, of course, whenever I delete or add something substantial, my spacing and footnotes can get messed up, with tables ending up across two pages and ‘ibids’ where there shouldn’t be ‘ibids’.  A minor victory, though - I now know how to make each chapter a ‘section’ in Word, and start the footnotes from one in each chapter.  Much better than having nearly 2,000 footnotes!  I prefer to have everything in one document, so that I’m always aware of the total word count.  And it would probably be more annoying to work out how to start documents on a page number other than one, and have to keep changing the numbers as other chapters expanded/contracted.  Once again, fussy details are really important.

Okay, so writing it out like this makes it seem like I have a lot to do, but considering I’ve already fixed my introduction and literature review since Tuesday, I don’t think it’s going to be that bad.  It could certainly be a lot worse.  And once all that’s done, I need to get my conclusion checked, and sort out the frontispiece, acknowledgements, contents, and list of tables.  It shouldn’t be long before I put in my intention to submit.  Eek!

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About Alice Violett

Reader of books, player of board games, lover of cats, editor of web content, haver of PhD.

Colchester, UK