English Ministry CCGC

Online Adviser For Composing Your Research paper

Editing Tips to Make a Solid Research Paper


When I was in graduate school for English, I gradually developed a system to the perfection of research papers that can work for anyone. It’s a three-to four-step process, but it promises you the best essay possible.

Read Through and Proofreading Step One

First, you’ll want to do a simple read through after a spelling and grammar check. Does the paper have any glaring errors, missing words, or comma faults you can spot onscreen –if so, correct these before moving on and resave your document with the title of your page as the name of your file. This will be important as we go along, so that you can eventually name your file Final, Polished “title of paper.”

Now, print out that corrected (so far) essay for step two.

Step Two: The Red (Or Orange, Green, Blue, or Purple) Pen Stage

Now, get a brightly colored pen in a color that gets your attention. I like red for all kinds of reasons, as a teacher and a writer, because it’s bold, vibrant, and an energizing color for me.

You’ll need complete quiet for this stage so that you can hear the essay and any changes you’re thinking on if read aloud.

Now, sit down with page one turned up on a table and the rest nearby or on your lap.

Now, read paragraph one slowly. If you feel it would help slow you down enough to catch errors or listen for “clunky:” phrasings or “off-sounding” areas, then read your paper aloud. Reading aloud is a trick of all doctoral students who want their paper to hear and read well. We know from reading so many poems and refined short stories, that stories should sound as well in voice as they read on paper. So we pay attention to voice. You should too.

Mark anything suggestions to yourself on the page. To add in sentences, simply draw a line to the margins where you write down what this sentence should read when revised.

Now go rewrite paragraph one on your computer or laptop, and do not just retype, think about perfecting as you type. You may want to make flourishes beyond what you have on your pencil/pen-marked draft.

Repeat this with all your paragraphs, perfecting each one as you go.

By the end of this process, you’ll have a whole new document.

Now, the final polish.

The Final Polish-Perfection Stage

Now, print out your draft. Take it with you outside or somewhere you can walk around and read aloud without observation. Take a pen with you “just in case” you find small errors. Reading aloud accomplishes two things. It helps you hear the voice and tone of your paper, helping you to achieve an eloquent flow in your prose, and it helps slow down the eye by hearing as opposing seeing errors at this point. See, eventually, your brain will begin to know, more and more, your sentences by heart and the eye will automatically “fill in” words that might have been skipped. Reading aloud slows you down to catch final flaw issues like commas and other minor punctuation details.

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