How Journalists Can Approach Research Paper Editing

It’s been said that even the best writers need to have an editor help them find the mistakes that are in their copy. Programs like Grammarly make that process more manageable, but AI and automated spelling and grammar checkers aren’t 100% perfect.

It would be best if you still had human eyes look at written content to ensure that it is edited correctly.

When you’re writing a research paper, several steps are necessary to follow to reduce the number of errors that are in the composition. If you were writing about climate change business opportunities, presenting incorrect information to a business consortium could affect your credibility for a lifetime. 

Although every editing approach is a little different, it helps to start at the top and then work your way down.

6 Steps to Follow When Editing a Research Paper

  1. You must verify every factual assertion that’s made in the research paper. Double-check every name and reference, even if you “know” that they are correct. This step includes dates, numbers, and any other sourced information.
  2. Verify all of the mathematics included in the research paper. This step consists of any percentages or averages included. If you did any conversions during the composition phase of this piece, then check your units. Review your terminology and statistics.
  3. Verify comments and information made about organizations or individuals when making assertions. Don’t be satisfied with sending them an email. It is up to you as a journalist to exercise due diligence.
  4. Read through your research paper from beginning to end by vocalizing it. Do the words flow logically and easily? Does the conclusion you reach make sense given the facts that get presented? If you leave readers with unanswered questions, then the piece will not make its intended impact.
  5. Go through the piece one more time to look for typos and errors that were missed during the first reading. It helps to use an index card so that you can look at the content line-by-line to ensure accuracy.
  6. If you used parentheses in your research paper, then review them for consistency and correctness. When you see an open one, then skip forward to ensure there’s also a closed one. Then you’ll want to make sure that quotes are in pairs and that your periods are on the inside of the final quotation mark.

When you’ve gone through all of these steps, then have a trusted friend or colleague read a printed final draft of your research paper. Have them mark up the copy. Then you can verify the changes and enter them yourself.