It was Mark Twain who stated that God first made idiots for practice, and then followed it with the creation of proofreaders. In spite of this crass comment, Twain himself was no fool to the difficulty of proofreading. This is especially true of research papers. Being able to properly proofread requires time and effort, but these tips should help you improve your writing without the use of professionals and ensure your research paper is properly proofread.
Let the text sit for a few days before you dive in with proofreading. This cannot be stressed enough. After a day days of composing your paper, you will be in a place to return and see it for what it truly is.
2. Look for a single problem at a time
Don’t look for all of the problems at once. Concentrate on one problem at a time, and each time you read through the paper, focus on a new problem. For example: start with sentence structure. The second time you read over the paper, look for word choice. The third time, search for spelling. The fourth time, look for punctuation. If you are looking for one thing at a time, you are more likely to find it.
3. Fact Check
A research paper includes quite a bit of data. It is imperative that during your proofreading process you double check all figures and facts, as well as any names. Don’t just look for correct formatting and spelling, look for accurate information.
4. Print it
Review a tangible copy, one that you hold in your hand. Search through it line by line. Reading a hard copy may expose errors that you failed to see on a computer screen.
5. Read it out loud
You will hear problems that you may not have seen when you read your text out loud. It may be best to have a friend read it out loud either to themselves or to you, or in some cases, to read with an accent so that your mind hears it differently. Don’t let your words become muffled under your breath as you read; take the time to slowly read the text out loud as if you were presenting it. This can help expose a missing word that your brain knew was supposed to be there, but never really saw in print. It can also expose things such as faulty verb endings.
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