Clearing Out The Vague

Reading and re-reading your thesis in preparation for the viva could show passages that don’t quite make sense.

You could read a sentence and know what you meant, but also know that the sentence doesn’t communicate it fully. You may even find a paragraph that leaves you scratching your head…

what does this mean? What was I trying to say?

…and while you might not feel good about finding something unclear, you don’t have to feel too bad about it either. It’s unlikely you’ve found something that would disqualify your thesis or you. You just need to clear out the vague words before you meet your examiners.

You can’t submit a pre-corrected version of your thesis but you could:

  • Write a short note in the margin;
  • Stick a Post-it Note with corrected text over the passage;
  • Create a mind map about the topic;
  • Check your definitions and jargon;
  • Practise explaining the area with your friends.

There’s a lot you can do to make vague words more clear. Exploring is always better than just hoping your examiners won’t notice.