Revision Survival Guide

Are you perplexed?

Perplex no more.  This revision guide will help you smooth, expand, and tighten your paper.  Be happy.  Be proud.  Success is at hand.

It's easy and painless.  You don't believe us?  Just relax and try the revision method we have here.
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Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.
The  University of  Oklahoma                                             

Revising your paper: 
Don't panic!  You can get help from the most unexpected sources...

Structural Revisions

  • Look at the basic structure of your paper.  Are you missing key sections? 
  • Pay careful attention to your first section.  Does it cover the material you have presented in the body of your paper and in the discussion?
  • Confused?  Refer back to the Writing Papers Survival Guide

Undeveloped Ideas Expansion
  • Read each section carefully
  • Where you find an unsubstantiated point, write in the margin "Need Evidence."
  • Where you find an unclear chain of ideas, or a clear exposition of antecedents or the evolution of your research problem, write "Need History of Ideas Backup"
  • Where you need to expand your explanation or definitions of terms, write, "Need Definitions or Clarification"
  • Where you need to develop a connection, insight, or conclusion, write "Expand My Own Thoughts Here !!!  Cool Stuff!!  My ideas!!"
  • Where you find yourself rather confused, write, "Clarify, Please!"

Repetition Elimination
  • Read each section carefully
  • Do you repeat phrases or words within a paragraph?  Circle these in red.
  • Do you repeat entire concepts or discussions from section to section?  Circle the repeated or redundant passages in red.
  • Do you use one example or source too much, and do you overlook others?  Note this on the side in the margin. 

Organizing and Repositioning Sections
  • Do your paragraphs flow?  Do they make sense logically? If not, indicate where they should be repositioned.
  • Are your points presented in a consistent manner?  Does your evolution of ideas flow in a chronological manner?
  • Do you need information from one section in order to understand another?  Be sure to put your foundations paragraphs before the ones that include conclusions or analyses dependent upon information in certain passages.

Grammar and Style
  • Read carefully for a) verb-subject agreement; b) sentence fragments; c) run-on sentences (comma splices).
  • Make certain your citations are correct.
  • Read carefully to assure yourself that your style and tone are consistent throughout.
  • Ask another person to read carefully and find copy-editing problems (spelling, typographical errors, inconsistencies) or tone / ethos problems.