A dissertation is an apex of your university studies, which is why it is of utmost importance to avoid any mistakes, no matter how small they are. Quality proofreading and editing is key to getting the best results. However, few students can organise this activity in the most productive and efficient manner. As a professional provider of academic editing services, we have compiled a list of our top 10 proofreading tips.
Our Top Proofreading Tips
1. Break it down
Despite the traditional ‘leave enough time’ recommendation given by everyone and their uncle, few students actually have sufficient time left for in-depth proofreading before the submission. We would advise you to do this work in chunks as you proceed with individual chapters.
2. Use Software
Our second proofreading tip is to utilise free software. Many free tools such as Grammarly can recognise 80-90% of all basic grammatical errors with minimal effort on your part.
3. Use Templates
Create a custom document template with all lists, tables, text segments, and figures having the format matching your university requirements.
4. Take Breaks
Proofreading in chunks also has the benefit of maximising your effective attention span. Trying to analyse a 100-page document in one sitting is not a winning strategy. Take breaks whenever you feel tired.
5. Seek additional support
With 90% certainty, your fellow students are also struggling with the same proofreading challenges. So, why not seek additional support? If your texts have any readability issues, you can find them together and eliminate them. Alternatively, if your friends are too busy to help, you can seek support from a professional editing and proofreading service.
6. Choose Your Proofreading Style
While digital editing remains the best option for the majority of students, reading a printed version can also be a valuable practice. While it may not provide any benefits in terms of better concentration, you can take it to the nearest cafe and enjoy a darn good coffee while still being 100% productive.
7. Run Plagiarism Checks
If your university provides this opportunity, check your draft for plagiarism early on. This is one of the greatest threats that may have the most devastating consequences for your dissertation.
8. Check the Homonyms
Even quality automated spellcheckers in MS Word and Grammarly tend to overlook the semantic component of some word pairs such as ‘there – their’ and ‘compliment – complement’. Keep this in mind when you proofread your draft manually.
9. Do not Mix Editing with Proofreading
If you encounter a problem with work organisation or some inconsistency of your arguments, stop your proofreading and switch to editing your draft. The same goes for adding more references or quotes. Single-tasking is the key to maintaining 100% concentration and finding all problems in your final draft.
10. Be Consistent
During your previous writing, you could omit some capitalisation, hyphenation or university style requirements to not lose your creative insights. Now is the time to get it all together and sort things out. It is always a good idea to revise any university guides on formatting and style before proofreading your dissertation to have a quality reference for any emerging questions.