Prior to submitting an academic research paper, thesis, dissertation, manuscript or essay or any other piece of written communication for publication, it is quite critical that the document is subject to proofreading. A document can only be considered fit for submission or publication if it has been proofread in-depth.
There have been instances when research scholars, students and even people from the corporate domain who were vying for that coveted contract losing out due to their documents not being proofread. Often in their hurry to finish the writing part or maybe even to meet a deadline, scholars, students and corporate executives just send the document without proofreading. As a result, the errors in the language, grammar or sentence formation go unnoticed. In either case, it is a disaster. Papers of research scholars and students are rejected while corporates lose out on a business opportunity.
Proofreading is not rocket science. It is simple and any person with a good grasp of language is qualified enough to proofread a document. It has become relatively easy today as there are many professional organizations that provide proofreading services at a nominal cost. Nonetheless, for those of you who believe in proofreading their own documents, we would like to offer some tips.
If you intend to identify mistakes in your own research papers or documents, it is imperative that you concentrate. Simply said, you need to avoid any kind of distraction or the scope for a possible interruption. A great way would be to switch off all your electronic devices; mobile phones, laptops, gaming consoles or television.
Though it might appear easy to proofread your paper on screen as it helps you to make changes immediately but taking a print of your paper and then proofreading it is more effective. Read the printed copy out aloud as it helps you to hear any inherent errors in the document which might usually escape your eyes.
There are several words that are spelt or pronounced similarly but the meaning of these might vary according to the context it is being used in. Common errors that arise due to homonyms would include erroneously using ‘were instead of where, principle instead of principal or vice versa’. Making mistakes of such kind can lead to disaster as it alters the whole meaning of the sentence. So, lookout for homonyms.
In their hurry to finish their papers, research scholars, students or anybody involved in authoring a document tend to jumble ‘their and they’re, your and you’re, its and it’s’ and several other similar words. If there is anything that can reduce the scope and validity of your written document, it would be errors of such kind. Another point that is worth mentioning here is that the apostrophe is never used to make plurals.
But this is not all, the most important part of proofreading would be to read the document very carefully and slowly to understand whether the message you are trying to convey is being communicated. In case the introduction section of your paper does not clearly project the objective of your paper or if there is incongruity in the paragraphs that follow the introduction, it would require a rewrite.