9 Proofreading

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Proofreading is the final step to revising your work and should happen after thoroughly editing your writing. The goal of proofreading is to polish your writing; read through to catch any spelling, grammar, punctuation, and consistency of terms. If you find issues with flow, clarity, or wordiness, go back to the editing stage!

Sections in this Chapter


Steps to Proofreading

  1. Fresh eyes. Spend some time away from the document after you finish editing. It helps to have fresh eyes!
  2. Be aware. If you find yourself making many revisions, i.e. editing, either…
    → Stop! go back to the editing stage
    → Pause. You can’t keep changing things and editing forever. At some point, you must decide that you are done!
  3. Make a checklist. Think of common errors you may have made and make a checklist (acronyms, figure and table numbers, common misspellings like their/there, is/of, not/now.)
  4. Print it. Some people find it much easier to proofread a printed document. Use a larger font and double spacing.
  5. Imagine your reader. Start by reminding yourself of your audience and keep this context in mind.
  6. Read it backwards (right to left). This helps you override your brain’s tendency to “fill in” missing words and fix mistakes.
  7. Use spellchecker tools. Word and Grammarly are two free tools to catch spelling mistakes.
  8. Search for consistency. If you find an error, use the find and replace feature to look for the same mistake elsewhere.
  9. Define. Check that all acronyms, abbreviations, measurement units, and jargon are defined.
  10. Ask for help. Ask your friends, peers, and supervisor to proofread. Let them know what level of revision you are looking for.



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Principles of Scientific Communication Copyright © 2020 by Amanda Bongers and Donal Macartney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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