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Repetition of content in thesis: how to do it tactfully

Category : Editing
Date : April 25, 2016

A thesis is a long document and hence completing it poses a lot of challenges to the researcher. One of the main tasks that comes as a challenge to the researcher is that they feel that in an attempt to create such a lengthy document they have m to constantly repeat themselves and also in addition, all the findings and conclusions you draw, you got to connect them to the main argument of your thesis every time, hence the need and call to be repetitive. Some of the authors indulge in the task of repeating out of sheer urge to refrain from doing hard work. If you are one of those, perhaps this post isn’t meant for you. But if you feel the need for necessary repetition in your thesis and don’t know how to incorporate that then this is the place for you.

Even if positive repetition is acceptable, it surely does not mean that you have the scope and liberty to copy paste documents at different places in the chapter.

The right approach to think about repetition is to call it positive redundancy. We do that so, because even if the information appears redundant to you, it may not be the same for all others. Being so deeply involved in your research and knowing the details very well, you may feel that giving some information only one time is sufficient and there isn’t much need to repeat it again and again but wise and required repetition of relevant content at appropriate places is very useful for the readers as it is a way to reinforce your ideas in their mind. Remember that there is a difference in your and their level of expertise.

As a researcher, more so when you are writing your thesis, you must know that the objective of repeating ideas or concepts in a thesis is beyond just saying the same thing over and over again but it is that you are trying to build that connect between what you have found in your thesis and the framework of your thesis. It could also mean that you try and repeat important words, phrases at various places but not complete sentences, if not required.
It is easy to identify the requirement for repetition so that you don’t confuse between laziness and necessary repetition. Always think from the perspective of your reader. It must be logical reading for your reader which is informative and engaging at the same time.

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