Editing: The right way to make your research paper ready-to-publish
“Everyone needs an editor.” – Tim Foote
A research paper written in any field of study expresses the ideas of an author clearly. The quality of your research alone cannot help you publish your paper in a renowned journal. Although your research idea could be novel and unique, your paper can be rejected on the grounds of substandard language quality. Other than common grammatical and typographical errors, sentence structure, verb usage, and vocabulary also affect the language quality. Editing is part of the publishing cycle that involves correcting errors to make sentences more comprehensible and readable to the readers. Editing is performed to make sure the text is cohesive, error-free, and logical.
Difference between writing and editing
Writing involves developing and presenting new content in different sections, whereas editing involves critiquing it in terms of order, logic, and readability.
Where to begin?
A research paper is composed of different sections such as an introduction, methods, and literature review. Start by reviewing the overall structure of your paper. Check whether or not the title informs the readers about the central theme of your paper. If not, try inserting relevant keywords to form a short and meaningful sentence. Check the main headings and sub-headings of each section first, then edit section by section.
What to do next?
Prepare an editing checklist to track the progress after completing the final draft. Each section of the paper should inform the readers about the research development. For example, the introduction section of your paper describes the aims and objectives of your research. Edit this section to make it more interesting and informative. Similarly, the result section should discuss the evidence to support your thesis. Format your paper by following the guidelines provided by the journal.
Important points to keep in mind while editing your paper
- Your thesis statement should be no longer than 4–5 sentences
- Write in active voice
- Use strong verbs to convey your message
- Eliminate redundant words
- Avoid using too many adverbs or adjectives
- Use a spell checker while drafting the paper
- Check your paper for contextually correct use of verb tenses.
You can increase the total number of words by identifying the sections that require more information. Remember you cannot maintain a consistent word count throughout the paper. In certain sections, you may need to explain the concept briefly, while in the introduction and methodology you may need to elaborate further.
How to add relevant content in your paper?
- Read what you have written and note down the main ideas. Elaborate on those ideas and construct paragraphs based on the same concepts.
- Provide rationales and the prospects of your research through signposting and summaries. Signposting informs the audience about the research argument provided in the paper. This section explores the “what” and “why” of your research. You can also use it to indicate the beginning of the next paragraph.
Why editing your paper is necessary?
Good impression: Publishers receive hundreds of submissions every day. Editing is necessary if you want your manuscript to make it free of language errors.
Effective communication: A well-edited manuscript would help you communicate the message effectively to your target readers. Editing will help you improve the quality of your content. Express your ideas more clearly by improving the verbosity and sentence structure.