1. Thesis Statement or Focus:
Make sure that your thesis statement is clear and focused. Ask yourself: Does it answer the main question of my paper? Does my thesis provide a roadmap for readers to follow throughout the essay?
2. Audience and Purpose:
Think about who you are writing for and why they should care about what you have to say. Consider if your language, tone, and content are appropriate for your audience.
Examine each body paragraph individually. Ensure that there is evidence to back up each point you make in the paragraph, or consider deleting it. Rewrite any sentences that do not effectively convey your ideas.
Look over the structure of your argument as a whole. Make sure that all of the paragraphs flow together logically and that the transitions between paragraphs make sense.
5. Sentence Structure:
Check your sentences to ensure they are clear and concise, without any unnecessary words. Make sure all of your points are complete thoughts.
6. Word Choice:
Look for opportunities to use more descriptive language or replace repetitive phrases with stronger words.
Review your punctuation to make sure it is correct, consistent, and appropriate for the type of document you are writing.
Lastly, check all of your spelling to ensure accuracy. Use a spellchecker if necessary.
9. Do Not Rush:
Editing can be tedious and time-consuming, but it is worth taking your time. The more time you take, the more mistakes you may catch.
10. Do Not Review Just Once:
Editing is an iterative process that requires multiple reviews. Even if you think your paper is complete after one review, set it aside and come back to it in a few days with fresh eyes.
11. Ask Others to Edit Your Work as Well:
A second (or third) pair of eyes can pick up on errors that you may have missed. Find someone who knows the subject matter and ask them to read over your document for accuracy.
12. Read Out Loud:
Read through your document aloud and listen for any areas that trip you up or sound strange.
13. Take a Break and Then Re-Read:
After taking a break, go back and read through your paper one last time. This will allow you to catch any mistakes that may have been missed in earlier reviews.