Anglistisches Seminar Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Siegel der Universität Heidelberg

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Revising Stages: Polishing Your Work

Once you have a draft of your paper, it is time to revise and edit it. You have a text; now you need to test its effectiveness at conveying your argument.  To do this, you first need to ensure that the point of each paragraph is clear and that its relationship to your thesis is apparent to the reader.  One way to test this is to “reverse outline” your paper, which means to create a new outline based on the actual paper you wrote, the way you would if you were taking notes on a secondary source.  Such a reverse outline can help you identify redundancies, missing transitions or tangents and give you a sense of how your argument flows. Another trick is to read just the topic sentences of each paragraph and see whether they convey the gist of your argument.  Replace vague or bland topic sentences  (like “Now I will consider the relationship between the protagonist and his wife”) with more concrete, relevant ones (like “Jim’s relationship to his wife is troubled because he does not feel comfortable admitting weakness to her.”  Finally, if at all possible, put this version of your paper away for a day or two so you can look at it with fresh eyes.

As soon as you are happy with the basic shape of your argument, do a close reading of your text to find typographical errors, grammar and style mistakes and punctuation problems.  This is easiest to do on a hard copy of the paper.  If possible, make an appointment at the Writing Resources Center or ask a friend to read over your paper as well; chances are good that any passages they find awkward, unclear or unconvincing are the same ones your instructor will find awkward, unclear or unconvincing!

Letzte Änderung: Föhr am 07.August 2015
Verantwortlich: Föhr