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Dissertation Proofreading:
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Dissertation Proofreading

Dissertation proofreading is the necessary practice of carefully inspecting every page of a dissertation to assure that all spelling errors, punctuation errors, basic grammatical errors and other inconsistencies are corrected prior to submitting the dissertation. Dissertation proofreading is one of the last steps to complete after the dissertation has been drafted and revised.

There are several kinds of items to look for when going through the dissertation proofreading process. It may be useful to make one pass focusing on each item individually rather than trying to catch every error all at once. Here are some of the items to watch for.

Punctuation: It is important to insure that all punctuation is used properly throughout the dissertation, that open quotation marks are closed, that commas be used where appropriate, etc. Dissertation proofreading consists of carefully noting all uses of punctuation and making sure they are used correctly and appropriately. Even more challenging is the process of noticing when necessary punctuation is missing and adding it.

Spelling: While most word processing software offers a spell checking feature, this feature will often miss words that are spelled correctly but were really intended to be other words. If a writer means to write "off," but writes "of' instead, a spell check program may not flag the error, as the word "of" is properly spelled, if improperly used. Dissertation proofreading must include a scan by the human eye in addition to the computer's spell check feature.

Formatting: Effective dissertation proofreading also includes inspecting formatting details such as margin sizes, indentation of paragraphs, consistency in font sizes, and proper inclusion of title pages and other supporting pages according to the style manual in use. Proper and consistent formatting throughout the document is critical, and formatting errors can be grounds for rejection of a dissertation.

Citations: Proper citation of all sources consulted is another indispensable element of the successful dissertation. During the dissertation proofreading process, the proofreader should note that citations are formatted correctly according to the preferred style manual, and that no citations are missing or omitted. Failure to cite sources can constitute plagiarism and must be prevented by careful dissertation proofreading.

Lastly, is most effective when more than one person helps with dissertation proofreading. The dissertation writer often becomes involved in the content of his or her dissertation and forgets to watch for mechanical errors. Other readers will have a different perspective and may catch errors the writer missed.