Academic Writing Tips: How To Edit A Research Paper

After all of the stress of researching and writing a paper, students still have to worry about the editing process. Even the best ideas will be obscured by tangled prose. To get the best grade on a paper, students must learn how to adequately edit and proofread what they have written.

Get Distance From the Project

If students have time, the best thing that they can do is get some distance from their writing. Over the course of days and weeks, they have become familiar with the topic. This familiarity may cause the student to skip over errors that they would have normally seen. To truly edit the document, students should put it aside for a few hours or days. Instead of editing straight away, they should go for a run and let their mind focus on something else.

Change How the Document Looks

To see the paper with fresh eyes, students need to make it appear unfamiliar. Short of having their memory erased, the best way to do this is to change the font. By switching the color, size or style of font, students make the document look completely different. This will allows them to see their writing anew and proofread it better.

Print It Out

While some people like editing on a computer, this technique does not work for everyone. If the computer is the issue, students should print out their paper and grab a red pen. Each person works best in a certain environment, so students should go somewhere that they can focus at. Once there, they can turn on some noise canceling headphones or music and start editing.

Structure and Content

The first thing students should consider is how well the argument is structured. This document should have a clear introduction and conclusion. The thesis of the paper should be supported by every paragraph. If a section of the file is irrelevant to the thesis, it should be erased. Students should edit their argument carefully to make sure that it has a logical sequence. In addition, they should make sure that the paper is written according to the requirements of the writing prompt.

Proofreading the Document

Once the general order and content of the paper is corrected, students are ready to proofread. They should start by reading the paper out loud. This will help them to spot grammar or phrasing issues. It will also force their mind to focus entirely on each word. By doing this, they can spot spelling errors and typos that they would have normally missed.