How NOT to do a PhD #7: Until It’s Perfect

In the last few weeks of my PhD I had some invaluable advice from my supervisor and others who were on the other side of their PhD. It was this: don’t wait until it’s perfect to submit, it’s never going to be. My supervisor told me that her PhD had an unfinished sentence in it when it was submitted. One particular comment I liked was from @JulieGittoes who was a fount of PhD inspiration for me at the time. I may be paraphrasing slightly:

Nothing is perfect this side of the eschaton.

I accepted that the PhD will still have errors when it’s submitted. But I could do my best to make sure it was as good as it could be. Thankfully I had a lot of help on that, with three keen proofreaders and a tech-savvy late-night helper. Even so, they managed to find different errors, and so I hope most of the little things were sorted.

Even so, none of them discovered two sentences that were literally repeated across two paragraphs word for word (some sort of copy and paste booboo) that almost made it into the final draft. I discovered these around 9pm on the night I had agreed to send it for printing (yes, again, an agreed deadline made it much easier for me because of the way I work).

After all of this proof-reading, @linz_d87 was helping me out converting it to pdf format around 9pm on THE AGREED DAY. In the process, previously unhyperlinked websites changed themselves back into hyperlinks and other little things happened. Several versions later she discovered a footnote-line on p47 without any footnotes. At this point, I thought it was probably a small enough formatting error to go through, but nevertheless she persevered and fixed it for me. This led to more fixes being needed with chapter headings and so forth.

One of my proofreaders had only made it half-way through by deadline day, and she said she was going to carry on reading out of interest. I made one request: don’t tell me where the errors are just after I’ve submitted it! On the day I had it bound (more about which in a later post), my husband read it: again, it was too soon to hear about any errors!

I’m confident there will be some typos in there, and probably some bigger stuff, but at the minute I don’t know about them, and I’m prepared to fix whatever comes up in following the viva. I am confident that I don’t have a typo on my first page, though.

Opn Laptop With Work Book, iPhone And Pen On Wooden Desk

image courtesy of stokpic

One comment

  1. […] PhD – The visa delay was good for one reason, at least. That is, I had time to complete my PhD and submit it. In fact, I submitted in May a week before our visa was granted. Without this delay, I think it would have  been nearer the end of 2016 before I submitted it. I had to travel back to the UK in the September holiday for my viva, but it was a good opportunity to catch up with friends and family (and to realise that there wasn’t much else I missed about North East England). I was delighted to have it passed without corrections, and I graduated in December (another return trip to the UK). I wrote a series of posts about How NOT to do a PhD, the last of which you can read here. […]

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