Finding of the week #326

The (Hopefully) Last Weekend

During my ongoing literature review I often discover interesting facts about things I’ve never thought about. Sometimes I can connect these facts with my own observations: The result is mostly a completely new idea why things are as they are. Maybe these ideas are new to you, too. Therefore I’ll share my new science based knowledge with you!

This week: This time, I think about my last few lessons learned while writing my PhD thesis.

It seems as if I have finally reached the end of the thesis writing process. After one and a half months of polishing the text, there are not many things left to be done. Just a few hours ago, I finished the third proofreading cycle during which I only found minor issues and minor potentials for improvement. I even received nice feedback from a friend who stated that my conclusion is great and that I finally should submit it. Yet, there were still a few lessons learned.

Stay true to yourself. As I gave a couple of colleagues access to my manusscript, I also received some critical feedback this week. In particular, my colleague’s feedback addressed two points of my thesis where I was not sure how to add the needed information at best. After long considerations, I decided for an option that seemed to provide the best compromise. However, after having received some feedback – he was the only one who complained about it – I was thinking about my approach again. After evaluating the pros and cons, I decided to stick with my approach. In the end, it is my thesis and feedback often is a subjective opinion. It can give some inspirations for improvement, but it can also achieve the opposite. Sometimes, it is good to evaluate the implementation of feedback and to deliberately decide against it.

Be the one who makes the final call. As the PhD thesis will be graded by two to three independent reviewers, it is very hard to write an ideal thesis. There is always room for improvement, but the potential improvements depend on the individual perspectives. As discussed above, asking several other people can result in various kinds of feedback. In this way, it is better to simply follow the rules of scientific writing, carefully evaluate feedback and subsequently polish the thesis until a state of satisfaction is reached. The only one who really has to be happy with the thesis is the author.

Be bold? This actually is one of my last few issues with my thesis. How bold can I am? Currently, I think about how far I can go with giving my thesis a bit of a personal touch. Adding a personal note can be interpreted as taking research not serious. However, it is also my work and thus it can reflect a bit of my personality as long as this does not interfere with a clear scientific presentation of the results. Sometimes, it is good to distinguish oneself from the rest by doing something unique (?).

If all goes well and I do not receive any critical feedback until the start of next week, this will be my last entry before submitting the thesis. Keep your fingers crossed!