I just assembled all the chapters, appendices, conclusion together and the word-count went up to 110,000!
Now I have a week left to read it and cut the extras before I submit it to my supervisor.
Is it feasible at all? I would appreciate suggestions on how to deal with this. I am panicking a bit! Thanks! :-(
Hey...how many words do you have to reduce it to? First of all...do the appendices count in the word-count? In my Undergrad and postgrad Unis they never did. So check about that. Then first see whether each paragraph is necessary (especially in the lit review I find that I tend to put in something just cos it is interesting and not necessarily directly relevant). Then go down to the sentence level and see whether you cans ay what you said before but in less words. This can reduce quite a lot of words, even though it does not seem like it.
Hi Corinne, well done for assembling your thesis! It is just editing, clarifying and tidying up from now til submission. I had a 40,000 word limit which included just the main text and abstract but I was at 48,000 :$ I had to learn the task of editing which is a great skill to have.
As previously mentioned look at the lit review for removal of non essential paragraphs and sentences. Have you repeated yourself where some of the repetition could be removed? Can sections or chapters be amalgamated if they are similar? Then move to the sentence level where you can delete words that are superfluous in the sentence. Example below:
"The FiO2 and FeO2 values where detailed have been determined via mass spectrometry. This involves large equipment to be utilised with limited availability in many establishments. Mass spectrometry may be subjected to interference from water vapour build up in the expired gas and anaesthetic gases used. Newer, portable FiO2 meters are routinely used for cardiopulmonary bypass which makes this methodology accessible. " (n=60)
"Portable FiO2 meters were used for FiO2 and FeO2 measurements rather than a mass spectrometer as it is large, subject to interference from water vapour and unavailable in many establishments (n=30)"
Generally, discussions and intros tend to be over worded so maybe concentrate on these areas. It is feasible but it does take some time and concentration. Do what you can in this week!
Well done on assembling your thesis together.
My suggestions are similar to the others. I would definitly look at your lit review as very often info is repeated there. I would also have a look at the introduction to each chapter. Maybe you could signpost more clearly what's to come rather than elaborating on anything in the introduction, which you probably elaborate on anyway in the body of the chapter.
Finally at a sentence level, you are likely to save two or three words if you change from the passive to the active voice in many sentences. I was also advised long ago to do a 'which-hunt' and a 'that-hunt' as many of these can be eliminated altogether or at the very least, reduced. A lot of people have two 'thats' in sentences and generally one of these is superfluous. These extra 'thats' tend to slip in especially if the sentence is long.
Good luck with it (up)
Hello and thanks everyone! Your suggestions will be definitely put into place. I am just concerned about the deadline, but at the end of the day I can only do my best in the time that I have.
Ailicec the word limit is 100,000, so I aim to reduced it to 95,000 at least. Appendices are included unfortunately, and I have already cut them to death, so that's not an option. Dunni73 and Ady, what you say is very true. I fear that there will be also stuff that is not that relevant, and when you start to cut pieces here and there the result may not be that coherent. I will post again if another panic attack occur anyway.
Thank you all!
======= Date Modified 27 Feb 2011 19:03:27 =======
Thanks Bilbo. Your comments are always spotted on and very helpful. I have a great admiration for you and all you have achieved in spite of the problems. Your determination is a great example for everyone here (I know, it's not related to the thread, but I wanted to say it).
I think that you are right. It makes sense to see what my sup thinks of it, before I make major amendments. Some days I feel very positive and others I feel that it is a pile of rubbish and that I will be awarded an MRub at best (Master of Rubbish).;-)
======= Date Modified 28 Feb 2011 00:57:40 =======
I had this problem on both my masters and my PhD submissions; both of which I passed.
On my masters thesis (word limit 20,000; actual size 27,000) and my PhD thesis (word limit 100,000; actual size 118,000) I claimed on my declaration forms that I had kept to the word limit. For example, I declared my PhD to be 98,720 words long; I remember this as it is my date of birth mixed up a bit. The question of word limit never came up at my viva so I never actually had to lie out loud if you know what I mean. My discipline was philosophy and the two universities involved were London and Cambridge; for both I did not have to submit a digital copy. I should add that my PhD had extensive (30+ pages) of lists of abbreviations used and bibliography and I reasoned that because of these it would be very hard for my examiners to work out exactly how big my thesis was.
Hello, thanks for this. I was slightly overworded in my Masters thesis too, but now unfortunately, I have to submit a digital copy for the PhD. So I suppose that the word count can be checked from that if they want to. On the positive side, I have two Appendices with tables, so the way I understand the University guidelines, those should not be included in the word count.
At this stage I probably prefer to be overworded than to be here struggling to reach the requirements anyway, but obviously this may also mean more work after my supervisor's comments, and I am fully aware that quantity does not always equate to quality.
I would stick with what you have already - it is very likely that your supervisor will ask you to make some final changes anyway, and this will may include chopping bits out. At the last stage my supervisor chopped out 6,000 words from mine (I was so desperate to hand it in and get rid of it by then that I didn't care!). But even if he/she doesn't then your examiners won't notice I'm sure :)
Hi Charls, thank you. I am going through the whole thesis just now and I only remove repetitions or things that are going against my original argument, but i will wait to hear my supervisor's comments to do anything more drastic.
Did you already submit your thesis? I wish I was at that stage, but hopefully this will happen soon - I am so tired of it!
I am trying to finalise the bibliography and it is taking ages!
The best source for how to edit ( and get rid of extra words and edit for clarity without losing your meaning) is the Bryan Garner, Legal Writing in Plain English. I know you are not in the legal field, but even so, this book's editing tips and quick instructions on how to immediately begin to edit make it eassssssssyyyyyyyyypeasssyyyyyyyyyyy to edit anything.
======= Date Modified 02 Mar 2011 21:34:38 =======
Well done Charls! I am sure that the approval is only a formality and you will soon be Dr Charls. This is fantastic. I wish I was at that stage, although I understand that you might want to get on with your life and focus on something different.
I try to think that I can only eat the elephant with really small bites, so I am trying to finalise this revised version in the hope that is going to be the last!
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