- Writing usually undergoes several drafts before completion.
- As well as advancing, retreating helps to revisit and get feedback (Murray and Moore, 2006, p. 37).
- You might develop ideas, make better links, reorder, cut information.
- Proofreading is the final stage to make sure the text is error free; check grammar, spelling and punctuation with Grammarly.
Techniques for editing
- Decide whether you prefer to read from the screen or a printed copy
- Read aloud to check readability. Ask: ‘Can you read each sentence without stumbling or running out of breath?’ (Trimble, 2010, p. 78).
- Find a ‘critical friend’. Can they read it without confusion?
- Additionally, add your own comments, highlight or make notes about areas to develop/condense.
- Download the editing checklist below to help you.
Areas to check
- Initially, revise content and structure as these are the foundations of your argument.
- Secondly, consider how you communicate this information (style).
- Leave time to proofread errors as these can detract from your message (SPaG).
- Lastly, check the appearance (format).
- Use the video and questions below to aid editing.
- Q: Has reliable evidence been used?
- Q: Is all the information relevant?
- Q: How have you shown your engagement with the evidence?
- Q: Are the paragraphs ordered logically?
- Q: Does the writing avoid repetition?
- Q: Have you avoided overly long or short (couple of sentences) paragraphs?
- Tip: zoom out of the page to see the whole structure.
- Q: Have you used a suitable style for the task?
- Reports/essays follow a traditional academic style: no shortened words or slang and use of third person (he/she/it).
- Q: Have you been precise and concise?
- Avoid unnecessary adjectives e.g. e.g. ‘In Berger’s (1972) notable and seminal work, Ways of Seeing ‘. Check your writing’s concision with Helen Sword’s online tool: The writer’s diet.
- Q: Have you remained objective and avoided bias?
- Avoid use of heightening adverbs such as ‘very’, ‘really’, ‘extremely’.
4. SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar)
- Q: Have typos and errors been avoided?
- Look at this guide to commonly misspelt words.
- Learn about common punctuation and sentence errors with Bristol University’s (2019) grammar exercises.
- Q: Does the document follow correct formatting for font, spacing and Harvard referencing?
- Q: Have longer quotations been indented from the margin?
Over or under word count?
|Look for small paragraphs (one or two sentences) to develop with evidence and/or analysis.||Condense language at sentence level.|
|Return to your research to find additional topics to discuss.||Make bigger decisions at content level. |
Check for repetition.
Prioritise key points, examples and evidence.
Consider shortening lengthy quotations with ellipsis (…) or paraphrasing.
The following sources were consulted:
- Francis, P. (2016) Inspiring writing in art and design: taking a line for a write. Bristol: Intellect Ltd.
- Harvey, M. (2013) The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing. 2nd Edition. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.
- Moore, S. and Murray, R. (2006) The handbook of academic writing: a fresh approach. Maidenhead: Open University.
- Strunk, W. and White, E. B. (2000) The elements of style. 4th edn. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
- Sword, H. (2016) The writer’s diet: a guide to fit prose. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
- Trimble, J. (2010) Writing with style: conversations on the art of writing. 2nd edn. London: Pearson Education.
Find information on style, grammar and punctuation: https://tinyurl.com/t7rnojt