See It in Practice
Here, you’ll see two video casts. In the first video, our student writer shows how she engaged in some content revision of her paper. In the second video, you’ll see how our student writer edited her paper, questioning the spell checker and grammar checker during the process.
Thankfully, I did a pretty good job following the steps in the research writing process because I was able to take a few days off from my work before I began revision. This allowed me to go back and see some issues I was having in my writing.
Revision is an easy step to skip. I know that very well. In the past, once I drafted, I would generally just move ahead to editing. But I learned from the Online Writing Lab that I need to think about revising my content before I edit if I want to have a stronger paper.
As I worked on revision I looked for issues related to organization, clarity, development, and focus. I also looked at my tone to make sure I was appropriate since that was one of the issues I thought I might have.
I found some issues here, which I have highlighted for you.
<walks through revisions highlighted>
The first issue I noticed was in my introduction. I was making a transition from talking about teachers to going back to talking about the student I had mentioned early on. But, I do not provide a very solid transition, so this is something that I will need to change.
I also notice here my tone is too informal. This is something I was worried about, so I paid close attention to it. And, that is something that will need to be changed because that tone is not really formal enough for an academic paper.
As I scroll, I noticed that I also marked some citation issues, which are related more to editing. But I noticed them while I was revising, so I went ahead and made the notes.
But, then, here in the middle, I have another sentence that is just too informal. This is something, again, that will need to be revised.
Of course, once I make these changes, I will want to go back and read my paper again to see if there are other revision issues I need to address before I begin editing.
I am now ready to begin my editing process. You will notice I have finished revisions, and I have begun my efforts to polish my paper. I cannot show you my entire editing process for my whole paper in this short video, so I chose to focus on just the first paragraph.
The first thing I’m going to do is run the spell check and grammar check, as this is an important part of the editing process. Of course, it is important to remember that spell checkers and grammar checkers do not catch everything, so what I have done is I have highlighted some errors that I know are errors in this paragraph that I saw from my own editing. I am going to see if the spell check and the grammar check pick up on them.
I notice that the first thing it picks up on is I have a misspelled word, so that’s a very good catch. I’m talking about a school principal, so I’ll make this change.
<selects correct word>
Okay, and that is all that it caught. So I know there are some things that it missed. I am going to have to go back through and look at those things carefully.
The first thing I notice is there is an error here with “no Child Left Behind.” <points to “no”> This should, of course, be capitalized since that’s the name of the act.
I also notice that I am missing a comma here between “that” and “if” <points to this area in the paper> because “if she wants to move ahead to the next grade” is extra information that should be set off with commas.
Also, down here, I realize I have a verb tense shift. <points to “realized”> I have been writing in present tense, and, suddenly, I change to past tense. So I will make that change.
Finally, here is an error that I make a lot. <points to “defiantly”> A lot of times when I’m typing, I mean to type “definitely,” but the spell check changes it to “defiantly.” This is something that I need to be very much aware of, and I need to make this change here because that definitely changes the meaning of my sentence.
So, those are the things that I caught. I will now continue editing. Of course, it is important to remember that editing takes more than one pass, and it does take a lot of time and patience.