Helpful Secrets To Improve Your Research Paper Editing Skills


Most students will dread the writing of a research paper, but often it's the editing that takes more work. What you might not realize is that writing the first draft and doing all the research is great, but it's only the first step. The editing is where your real skill shows through, because any bad writing can be turned into a masterpiece with good editing. No matter how rough your first draft, and how disorganized your notes and research, you can make a fantastic paper out of it with these secrets to good editing.

How to Edit a Research Paper

Follow these steps in any order you like, depending on the needs of your research paper. For the best results, do all of them, but it's completely up to you.

  1. Always have your notes, research, guidelines, and other materials handy. Make sure you stay organized and know where everything is before you sit down to edit.
  2. Double check the instructions from your teacher - it's a good idea to reread through each requirement you need and mentally check it off if you've included it. Even small things like exact word count and formatting can really raise or lower your grade.
  3. Use your word processor's spelling and grammar checker and then print out your paper for a physical copy to proofread. You will miss mistakes on your computer screen; it makes a big difference having it on paper to read.
  4. Read each sentence one by one from the end of your paper to the beginning. Reading them backwards like this takes every sentence out of context and allows you to see errors you otherwise overlooked. Once you've had your paper in your mind so much while writing it, you tend to skip over mistakes because your brain knows what is supposed to be there, but for the benefit of your teacher you need to find and eliminate those occurrences.
  5. The next thing you should do is get an opinion from a friend. This is the best thing you can do for your paper, and if you can only do one of these editing secrets, do this one. Have them read it and tell you if any parts were boring, or confusing, or if they found a spelling error. Having another perspective is essential to the success of your research paper.