Limits of Annotation

Annotating your thesis as part of viva prep can help create a more useful resource. Making things easier to find or easier to see can help your viva run smoothly.

There are so many options open to you: bookmarks, Post-it Notes, highlighter tabs, highlighter pens, pencil, ink, red pen, green pen, writing in the borders, the margins, the header and footer and between the lines…

And you can add short summaries, break down jargon, have sentences at the top and bottom of every page and colour code anything and everything you can think of…

But don’t.

There’s a limit of how much you can usefully add before your annotations become confusing. There’s a limit of how much you can add before it becomes a time-sink for you, rather than an effective use of your time.

So don’t do everything. Start with some limits. Explore what you might need. Make a list. Decide on how you will usefully add things.

Then do the work. Cross things off your list until you’re done.

Make a useful thesis by setting some limits on your annotation.