A thesis review is one of the final steps in the writing of a long document known as a thesis. Theses are prepared by undergraduate seniors and by master's and doctoral pupils. Undergraduate theses are commonly referred to as senior theses, since they are composed by college seniors. Graduate theses are referred to as either master's theses or doctoral theses, depending on whether master's or doctoral students are writing them. Thesis reviews are implemented before a student submits his or her thesis to his or her thesis committee and department for grading so that the pupil can have a last round of feedback before completing the final draft. Thesis reviews are typically done in partnership with the student's primary thesis advisor.
Typically, a thesis review will take place after a thesis advisor has read a completed thesis draft. The thesis review serves as a kind of "last-chance" meeting, in that it is the student's last opportunity to seek guidance from the advisor before submitting the final document to the university. However, a thesis review is still an informal meeting in which the pupil can speak freely about the project and solicit advice on how to improve it. It is nothing like the thesis defense—a formal meeting of the student and the entire thesis committee in which the student is asked questions about the thesis and its methodology.
To get the most out of a thesis review, a student should come prepared with questions. The thesis writer will always be more familiar with the thesis than the advisor, and will be more intimately aware of its strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, it is often up to the writer to ask for the type of feedback he or she wants. In a thesis review, the writer should begin the meeting by asking questions about how to improve what he or she believes to be the most significant weaknesses of the text. These issues should be discussed first, as content issues are always most important. After these have been addressed, the writer should ask the advisor to closely examine the formatting of the document to determine if it follows the university's guidelines. All universities issue strict criteria about the formatting of documents such as theses and dissertations, and incorrect formatting can result in a delay in thesis approval. Finally, before leaving thesis reviews, learners should ask their advisors about details of the thesis defense so that he or she can have an idea of how to prepare.
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