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Self-Editing: Self-Editing a Doctoral Capstone Manuscript

Self-Editing a Doctoral Capstone Manuscript

Some students may be used to self-editing shorter papers and smaller assignments in a more linear way—that means reading over once or twice, addressing each issue as it comes up, and completing the process once they reach the end of the document.

However, the different chapters and sections of the doctoral capstone go through many, many versions, with small and large changes to make at different stages. Writers well prepared for the self-editing task ahead should be ready for a more iterative process, meaning they will have to go over the same passages more than once to self-edit for different things.

Part of self-editing is learning to prioritize and plan what to focus on in the document.

  • decide on a handful of things to focus on in each round of revision, moving from big picture to small picture
  • divide the draft into pieces, revising in shorter sections first

Address one thing at a time, not everything at once. Read through sections/chapters multiple times, each time focusing on one of these areas listed:

  • following degree and program requirements (PhD dissertation guides and checklists)
  • addressing feedback
  • clarifying and developing ideas
  • correcting grammar, syntax, and APA style
  • polishing and double-checking