The Research Process Step 5: Editing and Proofreading

Now’s the Time to Let Your Inner Critic Shine!

Once your draft is done, now’s the time to get out the proverbial red pen and read it over and over for mistakes.

At this stage, I’m not talking about proofreading. It makes no sense to make sure every comma is in the right place in a sentence that shouldn’t even be in the paper.

No, we’re looking at content first of all.

Check your paper for the following:

·         A strong thesis

·         Body paragraphs that back up that thesis

·         Sources that strongly support your thesis (not just there to get the required number of sources in the paper J)

·         Sources are integrated into paper, not just dropped in.

·         Correct citations

·         Works cited page matches citations in text

·         Attention-grabbing introduction (On my first draft, I often write the most mediocre of introduction, knowing that some better idea will come to me later. And when I say mediocre, I mean bad:  “There are lots of Victorian women writers. Some of them wrote about work. Women writers often disguised their feminist message by forcing their female characters into jobs through being widows, orphans, or spinsters.”

·         A conclusion that bring the reader to a sense of completion

Then look at the following:

·         Check to see how the paper reads. (It helps to have someone else read this to find places hwere it sounds awkward or doesn’t make sense. These can be the hardest for you to discover about your own work. If you thought it sounded awkward, you probably wouldn’t have written it that way to begin with.

·         Go back over your source material. Make sure your quotations are formatted and cited properly. Double check paraphrases to make sure that you haven’t plagiarized.

·         Double check parenthetical citations to make sure their correct.

·         Check your works cited page to make sure all your sources are correct and formatted properly.

·         Proofread for spelling, punctuation, word choice (all the elements of usage and grammar).


Three NSCC helping hands:

·         Your instructor. Your instructor is probably your best least-used resource.

·         Smarthinking. ( This is an online tutorial service free to NSCC students. Professional tutors will look over your paper and provide feedback. Call the Learning Center (353-3551) for this year’s user name and password.

·         The Learning Center. Professional tutors are available to help with specific aspects of your paper.  They are not allowed to do wholesale proofreading. But they can help you with specific problems.

Now you’re ready to turn in your paper. And relax!


One thought on “The Research Process Step 5: Editing and Proofreading

  1. I must say I am excited to add your Research Process articles to my assignment description! I hope my students avail themselves of this advice during Summer semester. I find many points helpful, but specifically reminding students that their instructor is a useful resource 🙂

    Thanks you Faye!

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