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editing a thesis excerpt as a writing sample


NoMoreABD
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Hello everyone,

I'd like to get some of your wise advice concerning a thesis excerpt.

I'm submitting one chapter out of my thesis, which is translated into English. It's a chapter from the middle, and I chose it because it is written well and it's interesting. It has some references to other chapters, which I edited so they are understandable to someone who hasn't read the whole thing, so I think it's OK. It's still very obvious that it's something taken out of a larger academic work.

Here are my dilemmas:

Should I also include the table of contents for the whole thesis, so the reader can see what my thesis is about and the context of the sample chapter? I mean, it says "chapter 3: bla bla" in the headline so it seems weird not to have a list of all the chapters. Or should I just add a cover page or something explaining that? Or nothing at all - in which case I'll need to make a new table of contents just for this chapter (it's about 40 pages).

Also, I attached the whole bibliography as it appears in the thesis, so the reader can see what my sources were.

And I translated the front cover, with the name of the uni, my thesis adviser etc. Do you think it's the right thing to do, even though I'm submitting just one chapter?

Would highly appreciate any advice. If anyone's willing to take a look at it (you don't need to actually read the whole thing... just see what it looks like), that could be great!

Thanks

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Instead of a front cover and table of contents, I would suggest using a cover sheet that briefly describes the content of the other chapters of the paper, the main argument(s) that are made there, and an explanation of how the chapter you are submitting fits into that. An abstract of sorts for the thesis as a whole and this chapter in particular.

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Instead of a front cover and table of contents, I would suggest using a cover sheet that briefly describes the content of the other chapters of the paper, the main argument(s) that are made there, and an explanation of how the chapter you are submitting fits into that. An abstract of sorts for the thesis as a whole and this chapter in particular.

I'm following the same route as the OP and I've heard this advice a lot. But I have to say that adequately summarizing a 60 page thesis and contextualizing a 10-15 page extract so as to render it comprehensible is easier said than done, especially "briefly." I doubt I could do so in less than 2-3 pages.

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I'm following the same route as the OP and I've heard this advice a lot. But I have to say that adequately summarizing a 60 page thesis and contextualizing a 10-15 page extract so as to render it comprehensible is easier said than done, especially "briefly." I doubt I could do so in less than 2-3 pages.

Easier said than done, yet a required skill in academia.

As a researcher you often have to summarize your work e.g. in 100 words for an abstract in the beginning of a paper, or in 500 word for a conference abstract, or several one-sentence punchlines for a (readable) poster, and so on. You also have to learn to synthesize the main take-away points from a paper in order to be able to teach it properly. Even very detailed papers usually have no more than 2-3 important main points, supported by a reasonable number of arguments. A thesis will also have an extensive lit review section; I am sure that one could distill a one-paragraph main point, although I understand that it may be difficult.

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Thanks guys.

I think the abstract is a very good idea. After all, It's really not necessary that they understand every little detail of all the ideas in my thesis. I just need the context for the excerpt which in itself proves my writing skills. I plan to describe very, VERY, briefly the main argument of each chapter, and explain in this context the structure of the chapter I'm sending.

Thanks for the advice

although now I have more work to do.......

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