References should be done with a citation manager, preferably Zotero. Even for the first draft.
Figures should be numbered using the system. Even for the first draft.
For thesis proposals, figures should be in the Word document.
For thesis drafts, figures should be in PDF files (one per figure), made from Adobe Illustrator, posted to Dropbox. Figure captions should be in the Word document.
I will typically make a ton of comments on a first draft. This is normal: don't freak out.
Files should be names something like "RB_Thesis Proposal v1.docx"
I will make comments and send back a file named something like "RB_Thesis Proposal v1_DMH.docx"
Your next draft would be named something like "RB_Thesis Proposal v2.docx"
Save all the drafts you send out and receive. You may need to go back and look at an earlier draft for some reason.
When you receive a commented draft from me:
In Review mode in Word, turn off Track Changes.
Go through each text change and think about the difference between your language and mine. This is your document; all my changes should be seen as suggestions. You are free to ignore my suggestions. Either accept or reject each change.
Now turn Track Changes back on, and examine each comment. Do not delete the comments, but make changes to address them. Your changes will show up as clearly marked revisions (if you have "Final Showing Markup" selected in Tracking). (When I get the next version of the document, I will delete those comments you've addressed satisfactorily.)
Read the whole thing again.
Give it to a peer to read and comment on. Fix any problems they find.
Send me the next draft.
Be sure to re-cast text that you take from proposals into the correct tense. You are now writing about something that has been completed.
Dave's Writing-Related Pet Peeves
Don't write "based off" or "based off of". That is slang. Write "based on".
Don't write "cm" when you mean "length", and similarly, don't write "weight percent" when you mean "abundance". (As in, "The wt. % of Fe is greater than Mg in garnet."