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Writing a Paper: Revising


You might think of revising and proofreading as interchangeable, but in fact, they are different:

Revision means to look again. After you write your draft, look at it again to improve your ideas, evidence, and organization. By revising (also known as rewriting or changing) parts of your writing, you can produce a higher quality document. Revision happens more than once in the same draft. Read your draft a few times to make some changes, and then look at the changed version again to make additional changes. Repeat this process until you feel confident that your paper has focused ideas, strong evidence, and an effective organization.

Thus, revision will occur throughout the writing process, while proofreading occurs once you are confident that your paper's ideas, support, and organization are strong. The following pages include tips and examples for effective revising. Use these ideas as you revise your writing.

Revision Checklist

Checklists make effective reminders for future assignments. After submitting the final draft of her paper, the student reflected on her writing skills and created this personalized checklist. As you can see, she plans on improving the introduction and paragraph structure in her next paper. Use this as a model for a checklist of your own.

Writing Checklist

1. Introduction
  • End with thesis statement
  • Flow from broad to narrow
2. Paragraphs
  • Only one big idea per paragraph
  • Use formal scholarly voice—no casual wording
  • Specific research-based details rather than vague explanations
  • Integrate quotes by using own words before/after

Proofreading Checklist

1. Run Grammarly and use Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary
  • Pay close attention to noun/pronoun agreement. Reminder: singular nouns = singular pronouns, plural nouns = plural pronouns
  • Check spelling of difficult words and proper nouns (author names)
2. Scan document to make sure all sources of information are credited
3. Scan document for proper formatting, including title page, running head, page numbers, and spacing

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