3 Dirty Secrets About The Revision Process

The revision process is one that is shrouded in mystery for many doctoral students. As academics, we’ve heard horror stories of students revising chapters so many times that ultimately their work is unrecognizable to them. It doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re entering the revision process or want to prepare yourself, knowing the following secrets will help you avoid this common, yet frustrating, hurdle to graduation.

Secret #1 Good Advisors don’t want to see the first draft of your chapter.

You’ve spent days upon days glued to your desk, grinding out what you think is a solid chapter. You reread it to make sure the chapter isn't riddled with typos. With relief, you send the chapter to your advisor via email and cross your fingers while you wait for feedback.

When you finally get a response, you read the dreaded words you were trying desperately to avoid, "This draft needs a considerable amount of more work. "

How could this be?

It's simple really.

Good advisors expect their students to take 2 extra, but critical, steps before submitting each dissertation chapter. Students who know and take those extra steps non-verbally indicate they take pride in their work, have been paying attention to academic writing norms, and, most importantly, they deeply value their advisor's time. The Dissertation Lab app provides insight on how to execute those 2 steps like a pro, and how to remediate the situation if you've already mistakenly sent a first draft.

Secret #2 Toxic advisors use the revision process to academically haze graduate students.

When dealing with advisors during the revision process, direct feedback (sometimes it stings, but it’s needed!) and late feedback are par for the course. However, when revision feedback is consistently vague, employs circular logic, fails to teach you how to solve your problem, is downright insulting, and makes you revisit a chapter more than twice, the revision process has become a form of academic hazing. Academic hazing is a fairly common occurrence on the doctoral level, but it is rarely spoken about because students fear the repercussions that could impact their careers if they spoke out. Academic hazing happens for a myriad of reasons, such as:

  • Hazing happened to the professor, so they feel hazing is a critical part of inducting graduate students to the academy.

  • The professor does not know how to teach writing within their discipline, so they use hazing to deflect from their inability as a teacher.

  • The professor dislikes or holds bias against a student, so they intentionally create barriers to that students' graduation.

  • The professor wants to reshape the chapter to suit their own research perspective.

  • The professor stands to lose cheap labor if their TA or lab assistant graduates, so they make it difficult for the student to leave.

Academic hazing is emotionally damaging for even the most thick-skinned student. However, there are a host of strategies within The Dissertation Lab app you can use to mitigate the damage toxic professors employ during this critical time.

Secret # 3 You can avoid endless revisions altogether.

There's always that one unforgettable student who, to the chagrin of their cohort mates, breezes through their dissertation with glowing feedback from their advisors and minimal revisions.

How do they do it?

It's easier than it looks.

These students undergo a methodical, collaborative process with each member of their committee as they write their dissertation. Students who experience minimal revisions begin this step-by-step strategy before they even begin writing the first sentences of their chapters.

Want more insight on how successful students avoid prolonged and painful chapter revisions? Then you need the Dissertation Lab app. Download it today and try it free for 3 days! Good luck with your revisions!

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