The process of writing
- Writing usually undergoes several drafts before completion.
- As well as advancing, it helps to revisit and get feedback on writing (Murray and Moore, 2006, p. 37).
- During the writing process, you might develop ideas, make better links, reorder or even cut information.
- The final stages include proofreading (checking for errors) and formatting.
Areas to consider
It is important to include only relevant points, reliable evidence and your comment on this evidence.
- Q: Has reliable evidence been used to support every paragraph?
- Q: Is all the information relevant to the assignment?
- Q: Have you remembered to comment on your textual and visual evidence?
The structure should be organised in a logical manner to aid a reader.
- Q: Have you followed the paragraph structure of Point, Evidence, Comment, Conclude?
- Q: Have you avoided paragraphs that are only 1 or 2 sentences long?
- Q: Does each point lead on clearly from one another?
- Q: Does the writing avoid repetition?
- You will need to pick a style that is suitable for the assignment.
- For example, an essay might use the third rather than first person (I) for a removed tone.
- Reflective writing can include first person as it discusses personal practice.
- Q: Have you used a suitable style for the task?
- 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)
Making sure that your work is error free will show professionalism and improve readability.
- Q: Have typos and errors been avoided?
- Q: Have you used British not American English spellings?
- Q: Have you correctly spelt all author’s surnames?
You will need to check for any specific formatting guidance on your VLE.
- Q: Does the document follow correct formatting for font (usually sans serif, size 11), line spacing (usually 1.5) and margins?
- Q: Does it use the library’s guidance on Harvard referencing and using images?
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.
Creating a logical structure
- Reverse outlining is a technique to use once you have a draft.
- It helps you to check your structure.
- Follow the steps below.
- Number the paragraphs
- Identify the topic of each paragraph
- Come up with a key phrase or title for each paragraph
- Write out a separate list of these paragraphs away from your writing
- Consider whether the order seems logical and avoids repetition.
- Reorganise the text according to a revised outline.
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:
- Cayley, R. (2011) Reverse outlines. Available at: Reverse Outlines | Explorations of Style (Accessed: 17 December 2021).
- 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
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