The Importance of Proofreading

Proofreading is an important part of the essay/report writing process. Without successful proofreading, your work can have errors of tenses, word endings, repetitive words and/or which may not flow logically.

Here is an outline of how to successfully proofread your work, There are three main areas to focus on:

  1. Flow

  2. Clarity

  3. Accuracy

Flow

Flow is all about smoothly and easily presenting your different points and ideas, and how they run between each other.

Flow is achieved through:

  • A logical and ordered argument (methodical, step by step in the right order, not disjointed or leaping from topic to topic)
  • Goog paragraph structure (one idea per paragraph)
  • Good linking between paragraphs (link back to the previous paragraphs, where they share similarities)
  • Good sentence structure (not too long/short/complex, do they stand alone and make sense?)
  • Your introduction has a clear research question/aim/mission statement. Revisit AFTER you've written the whole essay.
  • Your conclusion has a final thought section (which ties into your introduction) and some future work ideas, what you could have done better.

Clarity

How easy is your work to understand, and how well have you indentified the main ideas of the question?

To make your essay clear:

  • All ideas/opinions should be supported with evidence (no assumptions made)
  • Take care when using 'they said' or 'he did this' e.t.c (make sure it's clear who you're referring to)
  • All ideas should be presented in a clear and logical way (lacking ambiguity, explaining all key words. theories, sources)
  • The question will have been fully understood and fully answered/addressed

Accuracy

Accurate work has:

  • No spelling errors
  • Correct referencing both in text and in bibliography/reference sections
  • No grammatical errors (too much, lack of punctuation, the wrong punctuation)
  • Correct use of tone and past/present tense throughout
  • Been proofread by friends, family, teachers e.t.c

The best way to guarantee accuracy is to:

  • Allow time in between finishing and proofreading work
  • Read work aloud (this allows you to hear if the writing flows or sounds disjointed
  • Change the layout of the document (Change font, size, colour and re-read allowing things to feel fresh)
  • Try printing out and highlighting your work (colour code different ideas to check for consistency and repetition)
  • Keep reading and re-reading your work; the more you read, the better your work will be
  • Give your work to others; it's the best way to have a fresh pair of eyes on your work and it's a good way to build up your confidence; any criticism is always helpful!