Time management is crucial as you approach the editing and revising process. You'll do your best work if you're able to step away from the assignment for at least a day so that you come back to it with a fresh approach.
As you begin reviewing your work, ask yourself the following questions...
Read back over the assignment instructions. Review any rubrics provided so that you are aware of the grading criteria for the activity (if they are available). Revisit peer and instructor feedback on previous assignments, and note the errors you've made. Keep these in mind as you review your work.
Audience is typically a decision you make during the brainstorming process, but it's a good idea to review the essay with your audience in mind.
Your formatting, whether that includes title page, paragraph indents, or citation, is probably the easiest thing to correct as you begin to review your work because you can locate many errors just by skimming and comparing to any examples provided to you with the assignment instructions. It'll also be one of the first things your instructor notices when grading.
When you edit your work, you are looking for the following:
Try these techniques as you edit your work:
Sometimes we "hear" errors that our eyes tend to skip over, especially if we've read through something multiple times. Read slowly to catch issues that your computer's software will not catch for you. Listen to your voice as you read, and take a closer look at the areas of your document where you stumble over words. Those areas might need further attention.
It seems counter-intuitive to start reading your essay from the last sentence to the first sentence, but it does help you to separate what you'll be doing in revision, which deals more with ideas, from what you need to do while editing, which is focusing on structure. If you take it one sentence at a time, you are more likely to catch issues because it will force you to slow down.
Studies have proven that there is a disconnect in a writer's brain when text is not visible on a computer screen. Once you start scrolling, you may lose the context of whatever it is you're trying to say. Work on paper during the editing and revision process to avoid these technological disconnects. By doing this, you'll likely also eliminate other technology distractions.
Similar to the task of reading aloud to yourself, you may "hear" issues before you ever see them as you edit. Listen to someone else read your work aloud, and pay attention to those areas where they seem to struggle. These might be areas to review further as you continue to refine your assignment.
Even if not required for an assignment, ask someone to do a real peer review on your work. Provide them with specific issues that you want them to look for, or questions that you want them to answer, as they look over your work. These questions can cover both editing and revision issues. Our Peer Review guide provides you with some helpful tips for reviewers and creators.
Software settings are not infallible and should not be relied on solely for your editing and revision techniques. However, they do have some bonus features that can be helpful to use in conjunction with other techniques listed on this guide. We recommend these tutorials, which cover Office products, Google Docs, and various Tiffin University licensed resources:
As you begin revision, you may want examine each segment of your essay individually for key attributes. Ask yourself: