Revising Your Paper
of Contents | PDF
Self Revision | Revision after peer critique
| Final Revisions |
| How to Make Effective Comments
Review Form | Group
Strategy for Response to Peer Reviews |
by the Author(s)
Revision of your writing is an on-going
process from the time you begin until the final copy is submitted.
A strategy that works for many people is to write out an initial
draft in total without substantial revision and then let it sit
for a day. Come back to it then and begin revising your paper
working from a global perspective (overall
organization) to paragraph content and organization
and finally down to sentence level line editing.
Implicit in these instructions
is the assumption that you are checking the content for scientific
correctness and accuracy.
- check the sequence of ideas/background/content
in each section for logical progression (your topic sentences
should do this).
- check for a strong relationship of ideas
between the Introduction (what we knew before our study)
and the Discussion (how our study changes or supports our
- check that each paragraph has a coherent
topic sentence, most often as the lead sentence.
- in each paragraph do the other sentences
support the topic sentence?
- check the transitions between paragraphs
to ensure they are logical and smooth.
- LINE EDITING
- check for consistent and correct
use of terminology.
- can you change a passive verb construction
to an active verb?
- eliminate superfluous lead phrases
(Once that was done, ..).
- remove all colloquial language.
- check for redundancy (i.e., places
where you repeat what you have said elsewhere).
- read each senetence closely for clarity
and brevity. Can you say the same thing with fewer words?
- READ THE PAPER ALOUD to find those quirky sentences that you wrote
while still half asleep - if doesn't sound correct when spoken
aloud, it will read even more oddly.
- check that all of your sources are
cited correctly in the text.
- check the numbering sequence of your
tables and figures.
- check the Literature Cited for
completeness and correct format.
- check the line spacing between headings
and text, and Tables and Figures and text.
- check the page breaks to make
sure you do not split tables or figures.
- are the authors' names spelled
- run spell check on the document to find
typographical errors and read carefully for spelling
and grammatical errors.
- check your main headings and subheadings
for proper case and placement.
After Peer Critique
After reading carefully the comments and
suggestions to improve your paper, discuss them with the reviewer
(when possible) to get clarification or to argue your point,
if you should disagree. In general, you will make the changes
as suggested by the reviewer unless you have good, and
justifiable, reasons not to.
Once you are clear on the changes to be
made, approach the revision using the same global, paragraph,
line editing strategy.
If possible, have your reviewer examine
the paper again (cookies help!) one last time. For PI courses,
this is the opportunity for co-authors to check the final draft
to make sure it satisfies their expectations. If all the changes
have been made to everyone's satisfaction, make one last check
of overall appearance of the document to catch recalcitrant page