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Who should I ask to proofread my MSc dissertation? Is proofreading required?

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There's no formal process that you are required to use for proofreading, but it's certainly required in the sense that your dissertation should not be full of typos.

You are the most important proofreader. You care the most and have special expertise on the specific topic you are writing about, and eliminating errors is your responsibility. However, it's worth getting assistance from someone else, since some errors can be tough for the author to spot.

You should not expect your advisor to do proofreading. It's possible that he/she will provide a list of typos, but that's really not the advisor's responsibility. Ultimately you'll benefit far more from higher-level advice about content and writing, so it's in your interest to provide drafts that you have already checked carefully.

One good way to arrange proofreading is to swap dissertations with a friend, with each of you looking over the other's draft. If you can't find anyone to do this, you could try asking friends or relatives to help you proofread, but you'll have to be careful not to let it become a burden for them.

I would not recommend trying to hire a proofreader, unless you have clear approval from your university for exactly what you plan to do. (If I heard that a student had hired someone to help proofread, I would worry that "proofreading" might be a euphemism for an inappropriate level of writing assistance.)

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  • Also I recommend reading the entire thing out loud (not all in one sitting, of course). You can catch a lot of mistakes this way. It's good to do this when you're nearly finished.
    – mhwombat
    Jun 4, 2016 at 22:21
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    My advisor was the best proofer I ever worked with. He was exacting but not mean about it. He proofed for Master's and PhD students both.
    – Bill Barth
    Jun 4, 2016 at 22:24
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    "You are the most important proofreader." - for orthographical or similar mistakes, I disagree with this exactly because, as you write, "some errors can be tough for the author to spot". I usually go as far as telling my students that "You are the least suitable proofreader for your own document. An author never sees his or her own typos." This is an exaggeration, but it serves its purpose in getting students to make the effort and convince someone of proofreading for them. Jun 4, 2016 at 22:33
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I'm now reading the Msc dissertation of a friend but being brutally honest in my comments which she happens to like. It does help that I once was an archaeology student myself. But I think that the more people who read your dissertation before you hand it in, the better. The process of writing up a dissertation isn't just about writing it all up. It's also about being able to form up your own opinon, being critical, being able to work together with other folks and work on your own at the same time.

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Easy and Rewarding Solution!: First, find a trust worthy class mate who DOES NOT do the simillar dissertation. Second, offer to read his/her dissetation, in exchange he/she read yours. Third, discuss each other dessertation after the reading is done. Fourth, fix your issues. Fifth: repeat if you have more time until you are confident with your dessertation.

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