How to edit an academic essay: a professional guide

If you want to know how to edit an academic essay first take some time to look over the topics below and see if you find anything interesting. You never know where inspiration and creativity may strike:

  • Should leaders be held to moral obligations?
  • How can future mass shootings be prevented?
  • Should guns be allowed on college campuses?
  • Do armed guards patrolling schools leave students feeling safer?
  • At what point should juvenile offenders be given a life in prison sentence?

Once you have picked your topic and have finished writing the first draft you need to take some time to revise and edit your paper so that the final draft is ready for submission.

Revising and Editing

Revising offers you the opportunity to preview your work from the standpoint of the reader. Revisions are more thorough than proofreading, and they can transform an otherwise mediocre initial draft into an excellent final piece. It is more work than mere editing but it will lead to true satisfaction when all is said and done.

While you are revising and editing, follow the steps below:

Revisions might mean shifting the entire reasoning in your paper, or adding sentences or paragraphs, moving existing paragraphs around, etc... Before you handle the details of your language, you want to make sure you presented your ideas in a clear and forceful manner. Read over the questions below and make notes in your paper as you do so.

  1. First, you want to make sure you fulfilled your assignment. Review the instruction sheet and revise the paper to make sure it adheres to the following:
  2. Did you perform the thinking that was expected? (for example, argue, explore, compare, analyze...)
  3. Did you write the genre of document that was required? (for example, critique, research report, essay...)
  4. Did you use concepts and methods discussed in your class? Do not steer away from using theoretical terms you learned in class. Look over your topic sentences to see the sequence of information you emphasized in your paper and make sure you did not just list information.
  5. Did you provide adequate evidence for the argument you made? Your reader needs to know why your ideas are important. One good way to check this is to see where your paragraphs take you after the topic sentence. Look out for areas where you repeat general ideas.
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