Tips for Effective Graduate Writing: How to Edit Your Final Masterpiece
Hello and welcome back! My name is Dr. Cheryl Lentz, owner of The Refractive Thinker® Press. Today our focus for Tips for Effective Graduate Writing is on your final editing process, how to edit your final masterpiece.
We begin first with the simple steps first.
(1) Please run and review Spell Check. I am amazed at how many students miss this simple yet important step. Hint: Simply set up Microsoft Word to automatically indicate incorrect spelling as you go along
(2) Please be sure that your writing is all in the same font. APA format requires: Times New Roman, 12 pitch, throughout your paper
(3) Please review Title page for all required information [see APA Sample title page]
(4) Please review your Titles and subheadings to ensure proper format [see Table 3.1 under 3.03 Levels of Heading on p. 62 of the APA Manual, 6th edition]
(5) Please be sure that a title is included again on your first page of text
(6) Please review paragraph indents to ensure that each paragraph offers an indent as required
(7) Please be sure that your paper is double spaced throughout your writing
(8) Please review all quotes for (a) beginning and ending quote marks, (b) as well as to ensure that all page (p. 1) or paragraph (para. 1) numbers are included. *Remember that quotes of 40 words or more have a special format [indent, no quote marks, punctuation after quote, not citation]
(9) Please be sure that your Title page, Abstract, and References all have their own separate page
(10) Please do not edit your paper at the same sitting. I highly recommend editing the following day if possible. If not, be sure to walk away for at least an hour or more before returning to your paper. You would be amazed at how much our brain thinks words are there that are not physically written on the page. We need to reset our own computer to ensure that we catch the little things.
(11) Please be sure to read your paper out loud. This is a great technique to catch many awkward sentences and odd grammar. Sometimes our writing does sound different in our head than once we commit to paper.
(12) Lastly, let me invite you to submit your paper through your respective universities’ grammar checker, either automated or a live editor, and your respective universities Plagiarism Checker. These are often free services that are invaluable. Think of your university as having hired you your very own Writing Coach. While typically, these computer resources are about 85% accurate (after all these are still computers!), please be sure to use them as it has been my experience that students who do, typically earn grades that are 15-20% higher than students who do not.
Dr. Cheryl Lentz