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Thesis Review


The phrase "thesis review" can signify two distinct actions, and students who must perform thesis reviews should carefully determine which action is necessary.

First, a thesis review can be one's examination of his or her own thesis before progressing to the thesis defense. Students who are making such thesis reviews should read the text several times in order to gain an impeccable familiarity with it, and they should also reread the most important research sources, particularly the prominent, well-respected ones with which their theses disagreed. They may also ask their major professors to flag the weak areas in the text so that they may mentally reiterate their arguments; the experts on the thesis defense panel will probably question those weak areas, and one can buttress the weak areas his or her arguments simply by remembering to think through them a second time.

Second, a thesis review can be one's act of analyzing and critique someone else's thesis, an act very similar to a literature review. Major professors and thesis defense panels perform this act with every thesis they encounter, although they may do it mentally rather than in written form; however, students who have found archived theses on similar subjects to their own may find it useful to write some thesis reviews of those works, whether or not they formally submit them as part of the thesis project. The practice of analyzing and critiquing someone else's work on the chosen subject can dramatically improve one's own thinking and clarify one's own arguments. Therefore, students whose major professors require thesis reviews of archived materials may find it to be a highly beneficial exercise rather than a superfluous task.

In order to write the best thesis reviews of others' work, students should read the thesis carefully and make note of all strengths and weaknesses, which include inaccurate research or flaws in logic. If several years have passed between the thesis's writing and its review, the student may note that new research renders the thesis's conclusion irrelevant or, on the other hand, confirms the conclusion.


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