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Library Service Blog

Editing and proofreading your dissertation

by Kirsty Hemsworth on 2022-08-20T07:00:00+01:00 | Comments

If your dissertation deadline is drawing near, make sure that you allow enough time to add the finishing touches to your work.  The following steps will help to ensure that you’ve covered all the essentials for your dissertation and can format your work professionally so that your tutors will find it easy to read and mark:

A red biro is resting against a printed essay, which has been annotated using the pen.

  1. Double-check that you’ve covered everything in the brief and marking criteria.  Also check your dissertation guidance or your module handbook for any instructions about the cover page, or formatting instructions such as a particular font size.
  2. Confirm that your argument is clear. Ask yourself:
  • Does your introduction say what you are planning to cover, and do you summarise the implications at the end?
  • Does each paragraph cover one distinct topic in detail?
  • Do you use signposting phrases to move from one section to the next?

  1. Use Studiosity to obtain written feedback on your work – but allow at least 48 hrs at busy times of year. 
  2. Check your referencing using the Referencing Guide.  You can check the guidance for common questions such as secondary referencing (when you are citing something someone else has cited).

  1. If you need to create a contents page, first ensure that you’ve made consistent use of styles. Then you’ll be able to use the References menu item to Insert your Table of Contents.

    For a dissertation, it can be appropriate to add automatic numbering to the heading styles. For more guidance see our Report Writing Guide, and in addition see the e-learning and eBooks listed there.


  1. Turn your attention to proofreading in more depth – see our Proofreading guide for tips: 
  • Use Microsoft Word to read your work aloud to you to ensure that your argument is clear, and your sentences make sense.
  • Use the Find functionality (use the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+F) to search for words you need to check – you might do this because you know that you tend to spell particular words incorrectly, or because you want to check you have been correct and consistent in the formatting.

For a big project, there can be a lot of irritating final steps! Using the tools highlighted above can make the process of polishing your work easier, and using the linked resources can show you how to work smarter as you do so.

If you’re not sure whether individual things listed above are necessary for your assignment, then either consult your tutor, or talk to one of our Academic Skills Advisers at a Library Virtual Drop-In.  For more in depth tips about your Digital Skills, see sessions and resources available at Digital Skills | Word


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