Editing your assignment

Note taking (1)Editing your work

Always plan  time to read over what you have written before you submit it.

You should give yourself enough time to review your essay a day or so after you finish writing with a fresh eye. Then you will see any errors and make improvements.

Some strategies to help...

  • Check your grammar and punctuation. You should use a spell-checker AND your own eyes just to double check.
  • Proof read your writing in hard copy. Sometimes when you proof read on the screen, your eyes substitute the correct form and you miss many typos.
  • Read your work aloud! This can help you to hear how the writing sounds - what sounds good and what doesn't.
  • Check your referencing format consistency and the fine detail of your references, even if you're using a program like Endnote.

Editing Checklist

Have you...

Understood the topic
  • Answered what the question is asking you to do?
Abstract (if required)
  • Stated the problem or the question that you've addressed?
  • Provided your answer (your "thesis")?
  • Outlined your scope, focus, method and sources?
  • Identified your main reasons for your answer / main findings of your research
  • Stated your conclusion (with implications, if any)?
  • Set the context?
  • Narrowed the focus?
  • Stated a summary of your argument in a thesis statement?
  • Provided an overview of your writing?
  • Defined key terms?

In each paragraph

  • Given a summary sentence (topic sentence) which is clearly related to the thesis statement?
  • Ensured each paragraph develops one idea (not a mixture), and have you developed it fully?
  • Developed each point with explanation and/or evidence from the reading?
  • Used too many short paragraphs? Could you merge some by making categories with a topic sentence that link to the thesis statement?
  • Do any paragraphs need deleting?
  • Are the verb tenses appropriate?
  • Repeated key terms/concepts through the text?
  • Linked ideas between paragraphs?
  • Used a lot of "and" connectors - could you change some of them to give more variety?
Argument and evidence
  • Made generalisations which need to be more tentative?
  • Provided evidence to support your arguments?
  • Summarised/paraphrased the views of other in your own words, then referenced them in the text?
  • Summarised the major point of the essay?
  • Given the reader a clear understanding of the argument you have pursued?
  • Checked the referencing style suggested in the subject guide?
  • Used enough references?
  • Used paraphrasing appropriately (not copied out sections of the texts you have read)?
  • Put all direct quotations in inverted commas?
  • Varied the way you refer to sources?
  • Provided a reference list in alphabetical order and referencing format?
Presentation & Formatting
  • Checked with your subject outline for these requirements?
  • Included a cover sheet with all the information filled out, including writing the question you have answered out in full?
  • Double spaced your writing?
  • Used appropriate margins?
  • Used size 12 font?
  • Indicated where a new paragraph begins either by line spacing or indentation?

Further resources

The University of Wisconsin also has an excellent site for editing work with 12 common errors and useful resources.