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How to Teach Research Papers - Revision/Editing

Updated on February 27, 2013

The Final Step

We have come so far in the research paper process and it is finally time to move on to the last step. This is one of the most difficult steps for students because when they have finished a project they want to wash their hands of it and move on. Unfortunately, without revision and editing, the final product may not be as strong as they had hoped it to be.


There are so many ways to approach revision and editing. I like to do peer editing and I like to create checklists. Make a list of the expectations of the assignment and have the peers go through and read the list and the paper and see what matches up. Encourage students to be constructive in their feedback.

With a project that is this large, it would be beneficial to break down the revision and editing checklists into steps. More steps equals more people's eyes on the paper which helps to catch mistakes. Perhaps have one student check parenthetical citations and match them to the works cited. Another checklist would be to have students look at the organization of the information. Another would have students check how the information has been presented, looking at skills like sentence fluency and word choice. Finally, there should be a step for proofreading and editing, looking for errors in mechanics.

Do one checklist a day and have students switch papers. Then, give students time to make changes before another checklist is given. It may take a week to go through and revise the essays, but the more time spent on this step, the better quality the work that is given in the end.


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