Academic Writing Complete Guide

Purpose and Audience of this Guide
Why read academic articles?
Essay Writing
Report Writing
Oral Presentations
Finding Sources
Good Academic Scholarship
Understanding Feedback
Exam preparation and Techniques


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Editing services

Every time you complete the writing process of an academic paper, you are supposed to review what you have written. This can be a hard assessment since you have spent too much time working on your text. However, this is a very crucial step in the creation of an effective paper. Many people think that editing only entails checking for grammar and spelling mistakes. This is the wrong impression and approach, to say the least. Editing goes beyond simple mistakes to address inconsistencies in the overall structure of your document.

For you to ensure that you are communicating what you intended in your document, you are to present ideas logically. As such, you need to consider the following aspects:

  • Ensure that what you have written fits the assignment, both in content and format
  • Your thesis statement is clear
  • They are adequate background information on the topic
  • Every information links with the thesis statement
  • Ensure that everything you present is well supported by relevant facts and examples
  • Ensure that you have used reliable and credible academic sources to support your ideas
  • Ensure that you have paraphrased all the sources more than how you have quoted
  • Ensure that you have used the right format of citation and referencing
  • Ascertain the conclusions summarizes the information in your paper or if there is more to talk about
  • Find out if the tone is professional and straightforward throughout the paper

The above points only present a checklist for your editing process. As revision occurs throughout the entire writing process, it entails rethinking, the overall structure, focus, thesis, and support. Editing is just a process of rewriting your draft and making it correct. The correctness, in this case, refers to grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, style, word choice, which are important in making sure that the reader does not struggle to read your text.

Types of editing

There are several types of editing that the student or any other writer can pay attention to. They include the following:

  • Substantive editing This is a very intensive form of editing. The entire document is evaluated to seek problems that relate to the structure, organization, coherence, and logical consistency. You can add or remove the sentence that you deem irrelevant. You can also rewrite and rearrange your paragraphs, condense or expand them. You can move blocks of text from one section to the next.
  • Copy editing
    In this type of editing, the focus ion on grammatical mistakes, style, repetition, word usage, and jargon.
  • Proofreading
    This is the lightest form of editing which focusses on minor errors. Some of these minor errors include verb tense, use of numerals and words such and 5 or “five”. It also focusses on capitalization punctuation and errors of spelling.

The difference between editing and proofreading

Many a time editing and proofreading have been confused to mean the same thing. Sometimes they have been used interchangeably but there are differences that exist between the two important stages of writing.

When it comes to proofreading, the editor corrects superficial; errors like grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax as well as formatting. This usually occurs at the end of the writing process as a final step before the assignment is submitted to the professor or before the work is published.

On the other hand, editing delves deep into the way the ideas and information have been presented. Editing includes all the aspects of proofreading with the aim of making the paper easy to read as well as understandable. Editing also touches on the organization of the paper to make it more suitable for the audience. Editing is an essential part of the writing process and as such, it occurs multiple times.

Strategies for editing your paper

If you are editing your paper, you are simply identifying different mistakes that are typical of your own writing. It is better to know the type of errors that you make during most of your writing. As such, you will be able to have an easy moment editing your piece. You then develop strategies that you will apply when you are looking for mistakes in your document. Some of the editing strategies that you can apply include:


  • Reading your paper aloud
    This technique allows you to listen for errors and you will be able to correct any mistake that you hear. Pay close attention to incomplete phrases, sentence ideas as well as other things that sound awkward.

    Every time you notice a mistake, you have to stop and correct it. This includes punctuation, spelling, as well as the sentence structure. You have to move through your paper at a reasonable pace while reading. This strategy will also enable you to check for readability of some places that sound awkward or anything that is not clear. You can give yourself some break in between the reading aloud process. This will also enable you to identify the mistakes once you return to the work with a fresh perspective.
  • Read one sentence at a time
    You can use a clean sheet of paper to cover the lines below and above the sentence that you are reading. Read the sentence carefully and see if it sounds and looks correct. Ascertain that it says what you intended it to say. You can continue doing this for the rest of the entire document.
  • Look for a pattern of errors
    Every writer has a pattern of mistakes that can be associated with his writing style. In other words, these mistakes are typical of the way one writes all his papers. For instance, if you have a tendency of forgetting commas, check for them. If you have difficulties in writing your transitions, look for transitions. A tutor can also enhance your editing skills and you will not have difficulties in editing.
  • Know the grammar and rules of punctuation
    Be aware of the rules of grammar and punctuation and pay attention to those that you are not familiar with. If you have a handbook or handout, keep them close while you write. They are essential referrals especially if you have queries in the writing process.
  • Do away with words that lessen the impact of your document
    Most of the editing demands you to pay attention to the words in a sentence that make the best composition. You can try to change the construction of a sentence and delete words that are used often and are unnecessary. Edit them out to maintain the intended impact of the paper.
  • Grab the reader’s attention
    Establish if a sentence or a paragraph grab your attention. If it does not, then it is not supposed to be there. Long and unwinding sentences have to be edited, however much time you spent writing them. The idea of editing is to make your document succinct.
  • Refrain from editing your voice
    Do not lose your tone due to over-editing and if you have outsourced editing services, ensure that they understand your voice. If you are the one doing it, you can take some time off between the stages of editing to remind yourself of the main characteristics of your voice that makes it unique from the rest. This uniqueness must not be interfered with during editing.
  • Eliminate clichés
    Edit out any phrases you have heard or read often. If you want to have a crucial meaning in your text, you have many ways of achieving it. You can formulate your own metaphor or new phrase. The objective is to own the writing.

Levels of editing

  • Content level
    You have to ensure that you have met everything that is required of you in the assignment. Ensure that your claims are correct and find out if you have a sensible argument as well as consistent. This should be evidenced by the way you have supported your argument using relevant examples and evidence. Editing enables you to ascertain that the entire paper aligns with the requirements of the assignment at the content level.
  • Overall structure
    You need to check on the overall structure of your document. Ensure that your introduction and conclusion are appropriate. Ascertain that your thesis statement id clears in the introduction and check the clarity of every paragraph. Find out if your paragraphs follow a logical order and check on their transitions. You can achieve this by making a reverse outline after you are done with the first draft.
  • Paragraph structure
    Ascertain of the paragraphs have clear topic sentences. Check to see if each of them has discussed a single idea that relates to the central argument of your document.
  • Clarity
    Ascertain that you have defined all the important terms that are unclear to the audience. Ensure that their meaning is clear enough as well as the sentences in which they appear. Ensure that every pronoun is clear in what they are referring to.
  • Style
    Check to see if you have used the appropriate tone, gendered language, and words that are incorrectly assumed to apply to a specific gender.
  • Citations
    Ensure that you have cited all the quotes, summaries, paraphrases, and ideas from other sources as well as the correct citation and referencing.

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