Editing and Proofreading Academic Papers: A Short Guide

Article By Shefali Sundram

One of the most essential however tedious tasks while writing a paper is compiling a reference list. Whether it’s Chicago, MLA, or APA trying to wrap your head around, it’s a challenge that can baffle the best of us. But don’t worry, because we’re here with a list that will help you out with precisely that. How can a scholar correctly edit and proofread the reference section of a paper?

What is the difference between proofreading and editing?

The terms ‘proofreading’ and ‘editing’ are very often used interchangeably, however, in fact, there are important differences between the two. Proofreading specializes in correcting superficial mistakes in spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and formatting. Therefore, it generally happens at the end of the writing process as the last step before submitting a paper that is otherwise ready to be published. Editing examines how facts and ideas are presented. While editing consists of all steps involved in proofreading, the focal point is on making modifications that make an article easier to understand, better organized, and extra appropriate for the audience. Because editing is an important part of formulating a research argument, it takes place multiple times throughout the writing process.

Preliminary steps:

It wouldn’t be unexpected if you were the sort of student to scramble for your sources at the final moment. It’s an assured reason for general chaos, and that’s putting it graciously. This is why we are saying it’s essential to log your sources at the same time as you are reading them. The other factor you should have carried out before starting this herculean project is to note down what citation style you are intended to use for your paper.

Things to remember:  Despite the citation style you’re using, certain factors are generally used. The distinction typically lies in how these components are organized.

  • Name of the paper
  • Name of the author(s)
  • Date of publication
  • Name of the publication
  • Volume and problem of the publication
  • Page numbers of the journal/book (if applicable)
  • A URL/DOI (for virtual sources)

These are the components you are looking for at the same time as compiling your reference section.

Editing and proofreading

The reason for reviewing the references is to ensure that everything is mentioned correctly, however, it is added to make sure that you are referencing the right information. Therefore, this review needs to be carried out in three layers.

  1. Check if all of your in-text citations match up
  2. Check that you are citing exactly what you are claiming to cite.
  3.  Make sure all the components of your citation withinside the reference list are ordered correctly.

Reviewing in-textual content citations: Before you even start to examine the references/works mentioned/bibliography section, step one is to cross-check your in-textual content citations together with your list of references. Every in-textual content citation should correspond to access in the reference list.

Reviewing the cited material: It’s not sufficient that you have attributed the connection with the right paper. In addition to getting the paper written, you also need to make sure that the quote or the paraphrasing has been mentioned correctly. This way you need to specify the page number(s) of the paper as well. If you are paraphrasing or quoting the paper, add your in-textual content citation after your explanation. Keep in mind that in case you are citing the author inside your text, you only need to put the year of publication in parenthesis.

Reviewing the reference section: The reference section or the “bibliography” or “works cited” section, relying on the citation style is the final part of your paper. It lists all the works you have cited while studying and writing the paper. You could have realized by now that this section has to comply with a specific format. Once you have discovered the format which you need to use, you could use a citation device to generate your list of references. Once you have accomplished that, cross-reference your list with the format which you need to follow and fill out any missing details. 

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