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Academic writing

How to write in an evidenced based formal style

Proofreading: Things you need to know...

Proofreading takes time, so ensure you leave sufficient time to do it.

Proofreading is the process of detailed checking for mistakes and weak areas in your writing.  It can be difficult to identify errors and problems in your own work; it is therefore important to have an effective proofreading strategy.  This process is also likely to be more effective if you can take a break between finishing your work and proofreading it.  

1 Check for grammar, spelling, punctuation and typing  errors, as well as missing words: do not simply rely on a spell checker, for example.  Go through your work one sentence at a time, reading slowly and precisely to give yourself a better chance of noticing any mistakes.

2 Proofread for clarity and structure: read your work a sentence at a time, and then a paragraph at a time. Would it make sense to someone else? Does it make sense to you? Does it flow logically from one point to another? 

3 Some people find it easier to proofread a paper copy of their work, rather than reading only from a computer screen.

4 Reading out loud is a good strategy to test if what you have written makes sense and follows a logical structure. If the work 'sounds' wrong when you are reading it out aloud, it probably is wrong.  You may also like to use an online text reader or other digital tools.

5. Check your references: have you included citations for all of the sources you have used?  Are these in the correct format?  Is your reference list complete and correct?  


Reducing your word count

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University of Reading (2017) Effective proof reading.  (Accessed: 2 September 2019).