Edit and revise sound scientific paper is a crucial step in the writing process. This often takes at least as long as the production of the first disorganized, so be sure to allow plenty of time for a thorough review.
The most effective approach to reviewing an essay is to move from the general to the specific:
- Start by looking at the big picture: does your essay achieve its overall goal and flow in a logical order?
- Then, dive into each paragraph: do all the sentences contribute to the point of the paragraph, and do all your points fit together perfectly?
- Finally, polish the details: your grammar is it precise, your punctuation perfect and your meaning perfectly clear?
It makes no sense to perfect a sentence if the whole paragraph will be cut later, and it makes no sense to focus on a paragraph if the whole section needs to be reworked.
For these reasons, work from the general to the specific: start by looking at the general purpose and organization of your text, and don't worry about the details just yet.
Double-check your homework sheet and any feedback you received to make sure you've covered each point of instruction. In other words, confirm that the trial accomplishes all the tasks it needs to accomplish.
Then go back to your thesis statement. Does each paragraph of the essay have a clear purpose that advances your argument? If there are sections that are irrelevant or whose connection to the thesis is uncertain, consider cutting or revising them to clarify your points.
Next, check the logical organization. Consider the order of paragraphs and sections and think about the type of information you give there. Ask yourself:
- Do you define terms, theories and concepts before you use them?
- Do you provide all the basic information needed before going into details?
- Does the argument build logically from point to point?
- Does each paragraph clearly relate to what precedes it?
Make sure each paragraph has a clear topic sentence that sums up what it is about. Then try copying and pasting these thematic phrases into a new document in the order they appear in the article.
This allows you to see the order of sections and paragraphs in your article at a glance, giving you an idea of your entire article at once. You can also play around with the order of these thematic phrases to try out alternate arrangements.
If certain thematic sentences seem too similar, ask yourself if one of the paragraphs is redundant or if its specific contribution needs to be clarified. If the connection between paragraphs is unclear, use transition sentences to reinforce your structure.
Finally, use your intuition. If a paragraph or section feels out of place, even if you don't know why, it probably does. Think for a moment and try to get a second opinion. Work out organizational issues as best you can before moving on to more specific writing issues.
Next, you want to make sure the content of each paragraph is as strong as possible, making sure every sentence is relevant and necessary:
- Make sure each sentence helps support the topic sentence.
- Check for redundancies – if a sentence repeats something you've already said, cut it.
Check for inconsistencies in content.
- Do any of your statements seem to contradict each other? If so, resolve the disagreement and cut if necessary.
Refine the shape
Once you're happy with the general form and content of your essay, it's time to focus on fine-tuning at the sentence level, making sure you've spoken clearly and fluently.
You are now less concerned with what you say than with how you say it. Try to simplify, condense and clarify each sentence, making it as easy as possible for your reader to understand what you mean.
- Try to avoid complex sentence construction – be as direct and simple as possible.
- If you have a lot of very long sentences, break some of them up into shorter ones.
- If you have a lot of very short sentences that seem jerky, combine some of them using conjunctions or semicolons.
- Make sure you have used the appropriate transition words to show the links between the different points.
- Cut every unnecessary word.
- Avoid any complex word where a simpler one will do.
- Pay attention to typos and grammatical errors.