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I finished my thesis defense and my examiners recommended minor corrections, all of which are based in the lit review and results chapters. However, after they approved the corrections I made, I spotted mistakes they overlooked in my materials chapter. These mistakes were accidental and they included things like incorrect amounts of chemicals and ambiguous directions. These are things that I have intimate knowledge of. Before submitting to examiners, when I spotted overlooked mistakes in other results chapters, I only told my advisor and corrected them with his OK. I thought it would be embarrassing to confess to examiners that I had made silly mistakes when my destiny was in their hands. Why would anyone make an exam harder than it needs to be?

In hindsight, should I have told them about these mistakes I corrected even though they only specified corrections needed in other places? Correcting descriptions of methods I used isn't going to change my results. I've read online articles that recommend students not to change parts of thesis that examiners don't ask you to change. However is there a chance that I could get called out in the future, while perusing my thesis, for making changes that they did not approve?

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    "I thought it would be embarrassing to confess to examiners that I had made silly mistakes " I would have viewed it as a good professional attitude to have corrected them and added them to the list of corrections. We all make mistakes, it is no big deal, the best recipe for mistakes is thinking you don't make them or being unwilling to admit and correct them (which can put you off checking for them). Jan 23 at 15:59
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    Lol at the idea that your examiners are perusing your thesis in the future! (Not to mention that they would notice changes in amounts of chemicals!)
    – Dawn
    Jan 23 at 16:14
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    It's your responsibility to make sure that your work is correct.
    – Tom
    Jan 24 at 10:43

2 Answers 2

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Yes you should have sent them a summary of changes. No it’s not a big deal. They almost certainly wouldn’t have looked at it, and they’re very unlikely to have judged you badly for it anyway, everyone catches errors when they reread stuff.

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In a dissertation you are unlikely to be "called" in the future, assuming you made corrections and didn't add errors (unlikely). If your advisor is knowledgeable in your field and approves of what you did you should be fine.

It is likely that the examiners just missed some things that should have been fixed. It's good that you caught them. They aren't perfect, of course.

Note that the work is yours. It doesn't belong to your examiners.

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