Unit 9

Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should have:

University requirements check

Activity 1

Answer each of the following questions.

  1. Is your graduation thesis between four and six pages?
  2. Did you include your student number?
  3. Did you include the name of your supervisor?
  4. For MSWord and OpenOffice users, are the page settings and font correct?
  5. For LaTeX users, did you select the correct document class?

If you answered "no" to any question, you need to revise your thesis.

Fact check

Fake news

Activity 2

Check the truth value of each sentence in your thesis.

A systematic low-tech way is to write T after sentences that are true, F after sentences that are false and a question mark (?) after sentences that may be true.

If you have any false sentences, these need to be rewritten. If you have any sentences that may be true. consider:

Some supervisors are willing to check for factual accuracy, why not see if your supervisor is willing. Factual accuracy is paramount (= really important).


Activity 3

Use at least one spellchecker on all the text of your thesis.

The following is a list of popular spellcheckers. Students writing their theses in standard text processors, such as Microsoft word have easy access to spellcheckers. Students writing in LaTeX need to use an external spellchckers. This is most easily done by copying the text from the pdf version.

Grammar check

Activity 4

Use at least one grammar checker on your thesis.

Run a grammar checker on your thesis. Do not simply accept every result, though. For each result, conside whether the gramamr checker result is a true positive (and so accept it) or a false positive (and so reject it).

Common error check

Activity 5

This detector will highlight any errors related to accuracy, brevity, clarity, objectivity and formality that were discovered in a corpus of short computer science research articles and graduation theses.

Copy and paste your thesis into the error detector. Act on any advice. Error Detector.

This tool can find many typical errors made by University of Aizu students. Your focus for the next month should be on writing the content and not worrying about minor errors. Near the end of the course, we can focus on reducing the five types of errors. Your new motto: content first, grammar last.

Language feature check

If it quacks like a duck, it is a duck. If it reads like a thesis, it is a thesis. You want your thesis to stand out because the content stands out, not because your language is inappropriate.

chilli pepper standing out

Activity 6

Check whether your thesis adheres to expected language conventions.

Graduation theses and short research articles in the field of computer science have many similarities in terms of language usage. As a student or an early-career researcher, the general advice is adhere to those conventions. Your aim, therefore, is to write a thesis that reads like a thesis.

Some of these conventions include:

Copy and paste your thesis into the feature detector. Act on any advice. Feature detector.

Typesetting in LaTeX

Activity 7

Check that you have followed the advice provided in the Typesetting instructions.

The typesetting instruction guide was written by Professor Julián Villegas to help students in the University of Aizu format their graduation thesis appropriately using LaTex. Many common errors are addressed. If you are writing your thesis in LaTeX, you are strongly advised to check that you have not made any of the mistakes detailed in the guide.

The guide, however, does not only provide valuable advice on some of the common errors that students make in LaTeX, but also provides advice on both language and formatting images.

Proofreading and proof-listening

Activity 8

Proofread your thesis, get someone else to proofread your thesis, and proof-listen to your thesis.

  1. Read the whole thesis, and check the logical structure. Does each of your claims or conclusions have supporting evidence? Is the evidence reliable?
  2. Read each paragraph again. Check for coherence. Does each sentence connect or support the previous sentences?
  3. Three very common grammatical errors are: verb tense, subject-verb agreement and using singular rather than plural nouns. Read each sentence checking only for aubject-verb agreement. Find each verb and check the tense. The most common mistake is using present tense instead of past tense to describe completed actions or states. Find the verb with a tense (finite verb). For verbs in present tenses, check the verb agrees with the subject. Search your text for (a, an, this, that, each, every, another). Check that the noun following these words should be singular. If you are referring to only one duck, then "a duck" is fine, but if you are referring to more than one change the noun to "ducks" and doublecheck the verb.
Proofreading by a critical reader

Ask peers, seniors, professors, relatives who can read English and anyone else you might help you.

The more feedback you receive the better. Remembr though, that not all advice you receive is useful or actionable. Always take care to thank each reader for sacrificing their time to help you!


Use a text-to-speech reader to listen to your thesis.

It is difficult to proofread a document that you have altered so many times. Our brains naturally skip words and remember earlier versions. The speech synthesis engine built into Google translate is one of many speech engines that you can use.

Writing activity

Activity 9

Finish your thesis, submit it to your professor, and submit an identical copy to your Thesis Writing professor.

Unit review

Answer these questions.

  • Dpes the thesis adhere to the university requirements
  • Is it factually correct?
  • Did you spellcheck it?
  • Did you use a grammar checker?
  • Did you use the computer science common error checker?
  • Did you check the language features
  • Did you proof-listen to your thesis?

Motivate me

“Once I have finished, I will reward myself by.......” – You