Dissertation Guide

Our comprehensive guide to the process of writing a dissertation or thesis. Back to Student Resources

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How important is rewriting and revising?

“I think it is in the rewriting that you win or lose the reader. Much of the first draft is to do with clarifying your ideas and your themes. The purpose of the rewriting is to clarify your thesis for the reader.”

“Journalists work to a pyramid system. The nub of our article is contained within the introductory paragraph. The rest of the piece flows out from the introduction and should support the controversial point contained in the first paragraph. But for an academic an article is a voyage of discovery and you find their conclusion around the last paragraph. Their best point is usually contained in this concluding paragraph. This results in a piece which seems to have a random construction and can often appear to be self-contradictory.”

“There are lots of metaphors about rewriting. It is like spring-cleaning the house, throwing out the rubbish, getting everything in the right place, etc. It’s also like tinkering with your car, fine-tuning and sometimes finding things have gone wrong that you hadn’t expected. It’s like working on the gardening, pruning the trees, weeding out the bits you don’t want, enjoying the parts that are blossoming.”