DukeWrites Discusses Revision Strategies

Have you every wondered how you might improve your revision strategies?  Today, DukeWrites tackles this topic by providing some common strategies for revising academic writing.  Below you will find a list of possible ways you might revise, and some resources for further reading.

1. Read your paper aloud.  Oftentimes, a writer finds mistakes when s/he reads the paper aloud that are otherwise overlooked.  Make sure you pay careful attention to the words you have written.  Occasionally writers read something the way they think it appears on the page, when, in reality, the text is different.  This often happens when writers accidentally leave out an article or an “s” for making a word plural.

2. Make sure the skeleton of the paper is strong.  The skeleton can be thought of as the most basic parts of the paper: the opening, the body paragraphs, and the closing.  If those are in place, be make sure the opening and closing paragraphs are clear and adequately frame the material you discuss in the body.  It is critical the opening has a clearly stated main claim and the closing pulls everything together.  The closing should also explain the main claim’s significance.

3. Read over your topic sentences, making sure each one is strong and argument-driven.  Make sure the sentences in each paragraph clearly relate to the topic sentence.

4.  If possible, set aside your paper after you are finished drafting it.  Reread it after a couple of hours (or days, if possible).  Accept that writing is a process and that your first draft may need substantial revising.  Allot enough time for revisions.

5.  Seek an outside reader’s feedback.  Even though your reader may not be familiar with your subject matter, the outside reader should still be able to follow the main thrust of your paper.

6.  Edit your sentences for clarity and conciseness.

The Duke Writing Studio has an array of helpful resources.  Some of them that explain the topics discussed in this post include:

General Revision Strategies: http://uwp.duke.edu/uploads/assets/revision.pdf

Opening Paragraphs: http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/introductions.html

Closing Paragraphs: http://uwp.duke.edu/uploads/assets/conclusions.pdf

Paragraph Structure: http://uwp.duke.edu/uploads/assets/meal_plan.pdf

Clarity and Conciseness: http://uwp.duke.edu/uploads/assets/clarity_conciseness.pdf

Getting Feedback: http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/feedback.html

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