So, you’ve got the first draft of your research paper. Now what?
Editing your research paper can be a daunting task. There’s a lot to think about when shaping your first thoughts into your final paper, and it’s easy to get lost in the process. Here are some essay-editing tips for dummies that will turn your rough draft into a finished masterpiece.
Normally, outlines are the first steps in the writing process. But a goal outline can be a helpful way to rethink and revise your work mid-way. Once you have the first draft of your paper completed, put it aside and create a goal outline. A goal outline is a rough sketch of what you want your paper to accomplish. It doesn’t have to be formal. It can be very loose and very short. Outline what you want your paper to say, and then outline how you think your paper should say it. This goal outline will help you look at your research paper in a fresh way, and it will also guide your editing process.
Now, compare the draft of your paper against your goal outline. Don’t get bogged down in details right now. Just focus on whether your paper accomplishes what you set out in the outline. Make sure your thesis statement effectively communicates your goal for the paper. Make sure each supporting paragraph develops your thesis in the way you describe in the outline. Make sure all of your evidence, quotes, and supporting details in each paragraph support the goals in your outline. Make sure your conclusion stays on-message and effectively sums up your ideas. By checking the paper this way against your goal outline, you make sure the paper is cohesive, organized, and well-planned.
When you’re satisfied with the content of your research paper, do a serious and thorough proofreading of your paper. Check for spelling errors, grammar errors and style errors. Make sure all citations and footnotes are properly formatted. Make sure your bibliography is correct and complete. Then, let someone else proofread your essay. You’ve spent a lot of time looking at the pages, and it’s easy to miss errors. A pair of fresh eyes may catch other mistakes.
Follow these quick tips, and you’ll land exactly the grade you want with your research paper.