As both a professional editor and a writer, I’ll admit it: A research paper is an ordeal. A lot of time goes into ensuring that an academic piece of writing is not just able to be submitted, but is successful.  You’ve taken the time to research your topic, outline your piece, and write the work in its entirety, but you’re still not done with your task.  A successful piece of academic writing must have successful editing. When the typing is done, the scrutinizing must begin. This article will give you tips to academic editing success.

First and foremost, utilize your software’s spell and grammar checks. Nothing looks shoddier in an academic paper than misspellings. You’ve worked too hard to let a few errors pull down the quality of your writing. It’s in front of you and it’s free, so use it!

Second, academic editing requires a style guide. Every academic paper conforms to some set of guidelines. Utilize the required style guide (e.g., APA, Chicago, MLA, Harvard, Turabian, etc.); guidelines are given to you for a reason.  This involves checking the formatting of your abstract, your paper’s headings, page numbering, text, in-text citations, references/bibliography, and any appendices that may need to be attached.  All of this must be checked against the required style. Additionally, some style guides, such as APA, have specific formatting for tables and figures that must be followed.  Admittedly, it’s difficult to sift through these phone-book sized style guides for answers; however, have no fear! At your fingertips is a writer/editor’s greatest resource: the Internet!  Simply log on and use a search engine to find your style guide, or ask a style-guide specific question. For example, if you Google, “In APA style, how do I format the tables?” up pops multiple references/answers, and some contain actual pictures of tables from which you may copy the formatting.

A big problem in academic editing is usually found in the form of the references and in-text citations and their adherence to the style guide. It is difficult to scrutinize each reference and make sure that you’ve included both the appropriate information and the appropriate formatting. If you’re overwhelmed, why not contact a professional editor? A professional editor can help ensure that your references are perfect before your submission. There is more to your bibliography than just alphabetizing!

Additionally, in academic work, a professional academic editor can help you determine if your paper has the correct organizational order to make your argument, if you have enough citation in your text, and if you’ve properly defended your point(s). A professional academic editor can help you sharpen your introduction and your conclusion so that your message is clear and concise.Remember: Utilize your software’s spelling and grammar check and compare your paper to the assigned style guide. When in doubt, hire a professional academic editor to assist you. The editors at First Editing are always available to help.

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