The Barbershop Approach to Editing my Thesis

This morning, as I read over the draft version of my Honours thesis with only 3 weeks to go until submission, i continue to feel anxious. I feel like the effort I have put into my Honours year, as well as my personal development as a researcher, is evident in the work. But I know that I have significantly exceeded the wordcount and have to work some miracles in order to cut my thesis down to size.

To do this, I need to remain objective, so as not to lose sight of the central things that I really want to communicate to my readers.. the things that make the thesis interesting to read, and the things that make it ‘work’.

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One of the case studies in my thesis is concerned with the American progressive rock band, Coheed and Cambria, who have released a discography consisting entirely of concept albums.

As it stands at the moment – I feel as though my thesis could be likened to the hair of Coheed and Cambria’s lead singer and chief songwriter, Claudio Sanchez:


It’s really cool! But………

I do feel like my thesis makes a statement. It is rather unique and i am of course, personally attached to it. But in all seriousness, It would greatly benefit from a serious trim, as there is just too much of it!

To put things into ‘hair terms’ – it is currently too wooly, thick and scruffy: and in need of some close attention with the scissors and razor.. I need to try and stop seeing the editing process as a “battle” and embody the mindset of a barber – treating every chapter as a gentleman and giving each the neat and tidy haircut they deserve: assuring they get their money’s worth.

Once I have served all of these clients, and the snipped hair has been swept up and thrown in the dustbin, I hope that the end result of my thesis will be like one giant MOHAWK: held up tidily with plenty of gel (references and interesting personal views), minimal frays and strays (unclear or unsupported arguments) – and with even distribution of perfectly cut hair extending from the forehead to the upper back (with the central threads of my argument evident to my readers from start to finish).


That is correct – i would like my thesis to resemble the haircut of this little badass

Is the amount of studying I am doing driving me crazy? I think so…


About simonwoodhonours

Simon Wood (Honours in Media and Communication) is an RMIT student whose specialist discipline is in the 'contemporary music industry'. For his honours study in 2013, Simon will be researching the ‘concept album’, and its significance within the contemporary music industry.
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