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Masters Discussion Forum

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This Category:   PostgraduateForum.com > Masters Dissertations


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Masters dissertation query


User: helebon - 01 August 2017 08:27

I'm writing my 20 thousand word thesis at present for my MRes. I've seen my supervisor twice, the rest of the contact has been by email. I have a deadline of the end of Sept.

My supervisor said they can take a look at it at some point though they are very busy. I wonder at what point in time would be most beneficial to email it over? Nearer my submission date (such as 2 weeks before) as it would be better in terms of being proof read by myself and my argument and structure. Or sooner. If I email it too soon it will not show the best of my abilities. I've made this mistake before. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.

User: chickpea - 01 August 2017 09:14

I'd be tempted to ask your supervisor when's best for them. I'm just thinking it would be a shame to email it over at a time when they're taking annual leave or at a conference or something, which tends to be fairly common at this time of year.

User: helebon - 01 August 2017 09:34

Thanks. Yes, they say 3 weeks before the deadline is better for them but also ok to email it later but it may take longer to respond. I wonder if I email it 3 weeks before the deadline then they will focus on spelling errors, the structure of sentences and paragraphs rather than the content itself. For example, have I covered all important sections and if my argument is strong enough.

From what I have been reading it's best to write the introduction when all other sections are completed. The other thing is I don't want to sit around wasting time doing nothing, waiting for the feedback. I will carry on editing my thesis. So by the time I get the feedback I may have improved the thesis quite a bit. thanks.

User: Tudor_Queen - 01 August 2017 11:50

Absolutely - this is really tricky as I've sent my work over before when it was still in an early phase and it was a nightmare to then improve it independently at the same time as trying to address their comments (you feel that you can't change what you now think is crap because they've already seen it and may not have raised it as an issue).

So I would suggest definitely send it over only when it is ready to be sent over (ie. when you've exhausted all your own knowledge and ability!). Get it done as quickly as possible and send it to them as if it is the final piece of work that you are submitting. Then the feedback you receive will be most useful.

If you worry that timing will be a problem, then it is perfectly acceptable to ask them how long they would like to have it for so that you can factor in time to address their comments before submission. They'll probably appreciate agreeing on a proper timeline as given their already busy schedule. Mine usually has it for 2 weeks give a day or two.

In a nutshell, my advice (from a horrible previous experience!) definitely go for later rather than sooner if you want the most useful feedback. Unless of course you are stuck now and could really do with the input to get you going. Also try to agree on a date to send it and a date to expect it back so that it fits in with your deadline.

Good luck!

User: Pjlu - 01 August 2017 11:57

Hi Helebon, my thoughts would be to send it to the supervisor 3 weeks before due date, as their request and try to work on minor things in the meantime as you have indicated in your second post. Revising and checking references, polishing up stuff that needs to be fixed. This last part of the process tends to be a part where your control is limited. You can't control how long it will take your supervisor, you can't control how they will read it and what they will focus on.

It can be frustrating having to wait around but sometimes it is just what happens. I'm currently doing just this as my second supervisor reads and checks my thesis prior to sign off. It is a little later than I would like it to be but not much can be done and I know she won't sign off on anything until she has gone through it and indicated any last minutes changes she wants me to make before submission. Good luck with it all :)

User: TreeofLife - 01 August 2017 11:58

Why don't you send over the bits you've done and then ask for specific feedback? Highlight bits you're unsure about and ask them to focus on that. You're right, the closer you get to the deadline, the less likely they are to give you a lot of feedback because they know you won't have much more time to make the changes so there is no point.

User: helebon - 02 August 2017 19:32

Thanks for the responses.

User: BonsaiClouds - 03 August 2017 14:21

Quote From helebon:
Thanks. Yes, they say 3 weeks before the deadline is better for them but also ok to email it later but it may take longer to respond. I wonder if I email it 3 weeks before the deadline then they will focus on spelling errors, the structure of sentences and paragraphs rather than the content itself. For example, have I covered all important sections and if my argument is strong enough.

From what I have been reading it's best to write the introduction when all other sections are completed. The other thing is I don't want to sit around wasting time doing nothing, waiting for the feedback. I will carry on editing my thesis. So by the time I get the feedback I may have improved the thesis quite a bit. thanks.

If that's your concern, then again, it doesn't hurt to ask! Maybe when you send it along, include in the email a few questions - "does my argument make sense in X section?", "do you think my argument in X section is going in the right direction?", "am I missing out any key theorists you can think of?". Ultimately, proofreading for spelling and grammar isn't the best use of their time - anyone can do that, like a parent for instance.

If in doubt, just ask. Your supervisor is there to help you. Or should be, at least.

As for the introduction, I like to write the introduction first as it helps me warm up into the writing. However, I always come back to it at the end and usually end up rewriting it completely. No harm in writing something just to ease your mind into the topic.

User: Pjlu - 04 August 2017 12:45

The only caveat I would add to this though BonsaiClouds is that some supervisors will take a particular focus when they read your work, despite what you ask for from them. You can have any number of conversations with them about what you would like them to support you with and you will still get what you get.

My second supervisor, for example, can't help herself-her focus will always fall straight away on any proof mistake or typo or formatting and presentation issue. She has a mind like an editor. She is an absolute guru on APA 5 (but hadn't updated into 6 last time we discussed things). So, for example, she is finishing reading 'the beast' (my pet name for the thesis), and I know, I just know, all the feedback will be on presentation. And I suspect there will be some APA 5 versus APA 6 issues (I'm using 6 and I am not going back to 5 so we may have to agree to disagree on that one).

Not every supervisor is like this and you are right, you need to ask, and if you don't ask, chances are you won't get. Good questions btw. Cheers, I'm now going back into a netflix binge, while I wait ...and wait...and wait...it's got to be sometime soon now surely. Hope things are going well for you Helebon.

User: BonsaiClouds - 04 August 2017 13:48

Quote From Pjlu:
The only caveat I would add to this though BonsaiClouds is that some supervisors will take a particular focus when they read your work, despite what you ask for from them. You can have any number of conversations with them about what you would like them to support you with and you will still get what you get.

My second supervisor, for example, can't help herself-her focus will always fall straight away on any proof mistake or typo or formatting and presentation issue. She has a mind like an editor. She is an absolute guru on APA 5 (but hadn't updated into 6 last time we discussed things). So, for example, she is finishing reading 'the beast' (my pet name for the thesis), and I know, I just know, all the feedback will be on presentation. And I suspect there will be some APA 5 versus APA 6 issues (I'm using 6 and I am not going back to 5 so we may have to agree to disagree on that one).

Not every supervisor is like this and you are right, you need to ask, and if you don't ask, chances are you won't get. Good questions btw. Cheers, I'm now going back into a netflix binge, while I wait ...and wait...and wait...it's got to be sometime soon now surely. Hope things are going well for you Helebon.

Of course - it depends on the supervisor. You can't force them to give you the feedback you want. What I'm saying is it doesn't hurt to ask.




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