Christie Jones is a PhD candidate at Cornell University. She edited it her dissertation four times without making any substantial improvement regarding writing and its layout presentation. Negative feedbacks and rejections made her more worried about the delayed final submission and the further proceedings. Reducing redundancy, maintaining the logical flow of writing and giving the sufficient knowledge or descriptions were challenging her more and more every day. The persisting problems in dissertations and unfruitful attempts resulted fatigued her. What did she do then? Did she give up on her dissertation or did she give dissertation editing another chance? Christie in this interview reveals a lot about how it feels when you have to become a critic of your own.
1. Hey Christie, have you finished preparing your dissertation for the final submission?
Not for the final submission, but yes I’m done with finalizing dissertation with my PhD advisor. I will submit it to the committee within two weeks.
2. We see students roving hither and thither seeking advisor’s consent over the research work. Have you faced something like this for your dissertation?
This is a universal PhD problem, I think, then how would I stay unchallenged by it. My dissertation writing phase went well with not many troubles. I don’t mean it was easy to write, but I managed to do that with advisor’s assistance. The struggle began when I was asked to edit the entire document on my own. Despite editing it four times by pulling all-nighters, I received the worst of feedbacks on grammar, logical reasoning, formatting and other crucial aspects of writing style and composition. So, yeah it was a painful experience for me too because I don’t think anyone would have suffered more than me while editing dissertation.
3. You said you edited your dissertation four times, but how did you realize that even then, it wasn’t comprehensible?
After repeated editing, you gain a sense of confidence or power like you have struggled hard and now you made progress. But this wasn’t a case with me. Advisor raised some drastic questions when he read my 4th draft such as why exactly you tried to convey through your literature review chapter? What is the conclusion that you have drawn from the research? Try to summarize the introduction chapter or simply bring out your thesis statement. These were the questions that made me sick since I wasn’t prepared for such situation or I had never revised or edited my dissertation considering these factors. Being so anxious, I burst out “why would you ask that when you know everything about my research work?” and then he rebuked that those are only a few of the weak points easily scannable in my writing, and editing.