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Self-Editing: Self-Editing Strategies: Revision

Self-Editing Strategies: Revision

Critically analyzing their own writing allows students to reflect on what they have already written. Important goals for revision include (a) addressing program requirements for the degree, (b) following faculty instructions and appropriately incorporating their suggestions for revision, and (c) making sure the draft accurately conveys the writer’s intended meaning to a general reader:

  • Following degree requirements. Does the draft include everything it needs to include?
    • Follow the appropriate guide or checklist to ensure the draft includes all necessary information
    • Note in the margins what the checklist or guide requires for each section of the document. 
    • Highlight the passages in the draft that address each requirement for that section.
  • Addressing faculty feedback. Will the chairperson/committee/URR be satisfied with changes based on their comments?
    • Read over all comments and make a list of the things overseeing faculty wants addressed.
    • Note in the margins each time the issue or pattern of error appears in the draft.
    • Look back over the document and strategize how best to address faculty concerns.
    • Keep in mind that the chairperson/committee/URR will not comment on every instance of something that needs to be revised. Instead, they may point out an example or two of the issue and assume that the writer will look for and continue making these revisions throughout the manuscript. 
  • Summarizing each paragraph and explaining its purpose clearly. Does the draft say what the writer intended it to say?
    • Paragraph organization strategies such as the MEAL plan can help determine what is missing from existing body paragraphs in the draft, such as topic sentences or transitions.
    • In each body paragraph, note the passages that contain the main idea, evidence, analysis, and lead out to the next point. One strategy for notation is to highlight each of these four parts in different colors.
    • Add and adjust so the paragraph follows the MEAL plan (such as adding or moving a topic sentence).
    • Create an outline based on the main ideas in your revised paragraphs to visualize what you wrote.
    • Use the SMRTguide on Reverse Outlining and Using the MEAL Plan to Revise.

See the following links for additional revision and proofreading strategies: