Once you have written your research paper, you are not yet finished. The most often neglected and forgotten step is undoubtedly editing and proofreading. ‘Neglected’ is the right word, as it is not forgotten. We all are aware of the fact that we should edit more, but having put in a lot of effort into writing the paper, in the end we shirk away from putting in more effort to edit and proofread our work; also editing and proofreading is not as fun as the other steps.
We are also aware that we could have written a better paper and done a better job, if only we had edited more.
Editing can be hard because we don’t know how to do it and have not gotten enough practice that would make it easy. The more you edit, the better you get at it, especially if you practice the tips that follow:
Editing a research paper is a lot more than proofing and type checking; it’s about analyzing whether you are getting across the message that you had established in your outline, and it’s about refining and tweaking elements to get you even closer to that goal.
Editing is not about hacking apart your paper and changing everything when it doesn’t work perfectly and fall into place. There are times when it is necessary to start from scratch, however doing so without re-outlining and only editing will make your paper less refined and sophisticated and more premature and shortsighted as compared to your earlier drafts.
The questions you have to ask yourself are that did you manage to achieve the original vision that you had for your research paper? How did it turn out?
Once you are done editing and proofreading your own work, opt for peer review, because you will not be able to find all your errors and typos by yourself. It is important to have at least one other person proofread your research paper. If you have time, get various people to review your work so that you can get varied opinions.