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How do I edit, revise and proofread my research paper?

Last Updated: Dec 01, 2016  |  2849 Views

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Revising your paper is not a one step process. You will need to revise and make changes several times to achieve a well-crafted and polished assignment. Revising will not only lead to a higher grade but it also helps make you a better writer.

Revision is more than making a few changes and correcting your typos. You may need to rewrite and reorganize paragraphs or even your entire paper. After you've written your first draft you want to go back and read it over.

  • Have you given enough evidence to support your thesis statement?
  • Do you need to define terms in your paper?
  • Have you added information that does not support your thesis or is just unnecessary?
  • Did you follow your outline? Does this still seem like a logical order to present your argument?
  • Do you have a strong introduction and conclusion?

Once you've completely revised the first draft re-read your paper.  Does your paper still make sense after all your revisions?



Now you can start editing your paper.  This is where you can fix all your minor problems, such as deleting a word or a sentence.  You are making your paper readable, concise and interesting.



Proofreading involved more than just using the spell check on your computer. You need to sit down and critically read your paper.  Be on the lookout for punctuation errors, spelling errors, subject-verb agreement, its/it's confusion, their/there confusion, etc. It can be difficult to see your errors after reading your paper several times.

It helps to slow down and read every word out loud. If you find yourself losing focus, take a quick break and start again. It may also help to print a hard copy of your paper rather than reading off the computer screen.



One of the best ways to ensure that you have a concise, readable and interesting paper is to let someone else read it.  Another set of eyes will not only find small proofreading errors but they can also tell you if the paper is logical. If your friend doesn't understand the point you are trying to convey your instructor probably won't either.

Another useful technique to catch any problems is to complete your paper and set it aside for a day or two. The paper that you thought was perfect may need a slight revision or another proofread. Re-read your paper and ask yourself these questions:

  • Did I meet the requirements of the assignment?
  • Did I say what I intended to say?
  • What are the strengths of my paper?
  • What are the weaknesses of my paper?


Based on Revision Cultivating a Critical Eye / Dartmouth College

Answered by Colleen McLeanBookmark and Share

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