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Bullets

Bullets emphasise key ideas and help the reader extract those ideas quickly. Bullets free the writer from having to indicate relationships, order, sequence, and all those other methods we use to expand our ideas in the development of an argument. We thus restrict ourselves when we use bullets.

Limit any sequence of bullet points to the essential few AND limit the number of times you use bullet points in a thesis. If you are constantly writing in point form, you are not expanding, explaining, making complex links, or indicating relationships as you can in ordinary prose.

If you are using bullets, make sure this is the best way to express what you have to say, and word each point succinctly.

Bullet points must be conceptually parallel and grammatically parallel. To be conceptually parallel, the bulleted items must be discrete, non-overlapping ideas at the same level of specificity.

Click on the highlighted text to see the comments.

Example:

PhD candidates must:

  • complete and submit enrolment documentation
  • pay any associated fees and charges
  • complete and submit an annual progress report

What's wrong with the following bullet list?

Disadvantages

In order to provide services, each layer should have:

  • An interface defines the basic operation
  • A protocol is defined as an agreement between the communication parties.

Comments

Disadvantages

In order to provide services, each layer should have:

  • an interface defining the basic operation
  • a protocol, defined as an agreement between the communication parties

OR

Disadvantages

In order to provide services, each layer should:

  • have an interface which defines the basic operation
  • have a protocol which is defined as an agreement between the communication parties
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