In the publishing industry there’s a standard process for reviewing new content as it comes in. A multiple tier process is one efficient way for proofreading. Typically in these types of positions there are multiple parties involved with different specialties. There’s the copywriter, proofreader, fact checker, and the editor. As an online student you may not have access to such a review process, instead you’ll have to wear all these different hats in order to churn out a respectable paper.
What’s the most efficient way to be be a great editor in your school papers?
Don’t Rely on Spell Check
This is great for an initial scan for typos, but should not be used for final review. The program doesn’t take into consideration homonyms, tense, or proper names. It’s painfully obvious to professors when a student doesn’t proofread and leaves it up to technology to do that work for them. You may get graded down for it as well. As a graduate student don’t let the technology within your word processing document make you look like a rookie.
Check Your Academic Sources
In a collegiate atmosphere sites like Wikipedia are frowned upon. If you do utilize a site like this to direct you to an academic source do NOT cite Wikipedia in your references list. Some instructors mark off for that inclusion alone. Make sure that your citations are in-line with the writing format designated by your professor. Forgetting to cite a source is something you don’t want to do, so be sure to read through for just your sources within the context of your paper.
Read it Out Loud
Find someone or something to read to. It can be your spouse, significant other, parents, best friend, furry best friend, or an empty room. Reading out loud can help you catch tense confusion, typos, or misplaced information.
Give Yourself a Day to Review
Don’t worry, this doesn’t involve eight hours of your time. Instead, you should designate a good 15-20 minutes per page when you proofread and review. It’s best to do this the day before the assignment is due so you have time to correct any major issues with the paper.
Instead of making a checklist of things you reviewed in your paper, I suggest reading through it more than once. After your day of review give it a few hours to breathe, like a nice wine, and then go back to it and read it once more. At that point you should enjoy what you’re hearing. You can always ask someone with great proofreading skills to read it as well, but if you’re pressed for time you don’t want to rush someone to help out. Keep yourself focused, but don’t neglect the final stages of development for your papers!
By J. Mason
Online Learning Tips Editor