Basic do's and don'ts of editing a research paper

Your paper is written! Hours of grueling research and typing are finally behind you. You’re done and free! Well, not so fast. Now that essay needs to be edited to make sure it is absolutely perfect. You put all this time in; you don’t want to lose points for silly mistakes in spelling, grammar or typing. What can you do to ensure your paper is the best it can be? Here are some simple dos and don’ts to follow for your paper to have success.

  • DO run spell check and grammar check. It sounds simple, but so many people rely simply on the helpful green and red underlines the program puts in. These checks are not meant to catch all typing mistakes, such as the wrong form of the word “which”. Run the check and read the outcomes carefully.
  • DO have someone else read your paper. This could be a parent, a sibling, a friend or another teacher. Find someone you trust who will give you honest, detailed feedback. A fresh set of eyes will see what your eyes can’t always see.
  • DON’T wait until the last minute to edit. The process takes time, so give yourself a few days to get it done. Walk away from your paper for a day or two. Read, listen to music, watch TV or take a walk. Do anything other than think about your writing. Then, come back and read it again, with a clear head. You would be surprised what mistakes you can catch when you take a step back.
  • DON’T forget to use the thesaurus. This helpful little tool can help you replace commonly used words within your paper, and diversify your vocabulary. Using varying terminology will keep your essay interesting to the reader. As a bonus, it makes you look like a more intelligent and competent individual.
  • DON’T be afraid of change. When editing your paper, the feedback you receive may require some serious rewriting. This could be a simple sentence to an entire paragraph. Trust the feedback, and the person who gave it, and make the revisions. Try not to get attached to what you have written, especially if it’s not working.

Your paper is a reflection of your knowledge, hard work and time. Make sure it is something that you are proud of, from the very first letter to the last period.

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