Length of upgrade chapter


I'm in the process of redrafting my upgrade chapter for submission in the next fortnight. It's supposed to be 'around 10,000 words' but even leaving some bits out I can't see it being under 12,000 (perhaps slightly more). I've emailed to ask my supervisor although she doesn't tend to be much good on this sort of question! I don't think the regulations or anything will stop me handing it at a longer length (it's all pretty vague) but I was wondering if it will look bad if it's too long, like I can't be concise or something. :-(


Megara, I have the opposite problem, I tend to be too concise. I've never been an over-writer (and to be honest I am kind of jealous of those who are!). Does the word count include footnotes? If not, can you move some of it to the footnotes so that the information is still there but not taking up space in the body of the chapter?

Otherwise I would suggest you try to cut the dead wood. I know it must feel difficult because you put so much effort in, but you can cut and paste to a separate document and keep the cuttings 'just in case'. And it is easier to cut than to produce more, so at least you have that going for you. :-) If you feel you really can't cut anything, I would try refining, simplifying and being really tough on anything that seems repetitive.

At my uni we are allowed to hand in over length, but there has to be a really good reason for it, signed off by the supervisor and everything. I'm not sure what your place would be like - can you check the requirements online?


Hey Megara,

I'm not really sure about regulations etc. and I'm sure somebody will be along with better advice, but I agree with Helen G that there are probably things you could try in order to cut it down, if you really want to. Saving the 'cuttings' is a great idea, as you can just toy around with cutting even substantial parts out. I've often found that doing that allows me to trim bits that I thought were indispensable, but which turn out not to be so. Perhaps you could draw up a plan, if you haven't already done so, and write down a single sentence for each paragraph describing what you need to do in that paragraph. If some of them are particularly hard to write then those paragraphs may not be needed. At sentence level, I also find that simplifying your language often works.

Hope this helped.