Assignment: Revise paper 2. Your revised paper should again be 6–7 double-spaced pages, using standard margins and a 12-point font.
Due date: Friday of Week 11
Revision means to see again, to take a fresh look at the overall product, and to improve the work in a substantial way. The standards for the revision are higher than for the original paper. Only making superficial revisions—such as fixing typos or adding occasional sentences in response to particular comments from the instructors—will not improve your grade. Rather, to improve your grade, you should re-think your paper from top to bottom. These guidelines should help.
Steps for this revision:
- What is the thesis? Clarify it, if necessary. Avoid overgeneralization or a thesis that merely states the obvious. What can you say about this material that gives the reader new insight?
- Is there a clear introduction? Does it state the thesis and give a sense of the structure of the paper? Delete any waffly, redundant, or unnecessary parts.
- Can you, in a single line, identify how each paragraph contributes to the overall thesis? If any paragraph has two or more significant contributions, split it into multiple paragraphs. If a single point is pursued in several paragraphs, combine them. If any paragraph contains merely additional, unnecessary material, delete it.
- Organization: What is the argument of the paper; how is that argument structured? Is there a way to make the argument stronger? Consider rearranging sections, paragraphs, or sentences to make the essay’s argument more effective. Identify additional points that need to be addressed, and points that can be deleted.
- Transitions: Once the organization is settled, ensure that the flow of the paper is clear, and that each paragraph fits smoothly into the paper.
- Evidence: Are the points backed up with evidence? Is every key piece of evidence addressed, and every point at least illustrated? Is everything cited accurately? Note where additional evidence would strengthen the essay, or where the evidence given is not a good match for the point being made.
- Logic and analysis: Does the essay make the most of its evidence? Is it fully interpreted? Do the interpretations convince you, or is there illogic, an absence of analysis, or other problems?
- Tone: Is the tone appropriate? Is it too stiff? Too casual? What phrases or words would you change?
- Sentence level check: Are any sentences unclear? Mark them, and try to clarify. Remove weak phrases, chop out any extra words, reduce long sentences into more brief ones, and make sure there are no sentence fragments.
- Conclusion: Is it strong? Does it restate the thesis and make a stronger claim than the introduction does?
- Check spelling and grammar (commas, semicolons, ellipses, quotations, the works).
- Check footnotes and bibliography: are they in the correct format?
- Read the essay again—backwards, if necessary—to make sure everything makes sense and that no words are missing.
- Make sure each sentence has a subject, and that subjects and verbs agree with each other.
- Check the verb tenses of each sentence, and make sure they don’t change randomly.