Tips for handling committee revisions effectively

All the members of the committee have the right and the scope to suggest changes in your dissertation and that leaves you in a situation where you have to accommodate the revisions of four committee members in a satisfactory way in an approximately 150 page document. How can that be done? Here are some useful tips that can help:
1. Before starting with any of the changes, read all the comments well so that you know exactly what each committee member is saying and you can identify the patterns and similarities if any between the members. Compile all the common comments at one place and then decide which is the biggest issue with which you should start your changes.
2. There may be some suggestions and recommended revisions where you got to make a choice. There could be a situation where you have a conflicting advice from a committee member or there could be some disagreement with a committee member from your side. Know well that eventually it is your work and these choices would require you to make some active decisions about what you plan to do and how do you intend to justify it. It will require intellectual thinking from your side and enough confidence and evidence in case you have decided to not agree with the revision or suggestion given by the committee to justify your decision. All this needs to be done in a subtle tone.
3. Each and every revision that you have to do, put them in order of priority. The biggest and the most challenging revisions should be taken in first. These could be related to getting in more data, reorganising a chapter or adding in more literature review and so on. When you make each item a separate task and try to complete it one after the other, it becomes easier to accommodate all changes.
4. Always keep the meticulous changes for the last. These could be such as spelling, punctuation, labelling etc. even if you are tempted to do the easier task first, remember that you will have to repeat them again after having completed the bigger revisions so it is always better to keep them for the end and start with the bigger stuff first.

To impress your committee when submitting your work, it is always advisable to produce to them a list or a spreadsheet to tell them the revisions you have made. You can also add the justifications also in the same list, corresponding to each change. You can easily email this detail to the committee to let them be assured that you have taken them seriously and are a dedicated scholar.

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