Revising, editing, and proofreading in academic writing

A common writing mistake is not leaving enough time to revise, edit, or proofread. Another problem is to fixate on grammar errors at the expense of necessary changes to content, argument, or organization. Instead, revise strategically!

  • Start with higher-order concerns (HOCs) like purpose, audience, development (including source integration), organization, and paragraph structure. In some cases, sentence structure may be a higher-order concern if lack of clarity interferes with meaning.
  • Lower-order concerns (LOCs) usually include issues with sentence structure, word choice/vocabulary, and grammatical correctness.
  • Finally, don't forget to proofread for punctuation, spelling, and mechanics--including correct citation format.   

The City College of New York provides a fuller explanation of HOCs and LOCs, including some examples. 

The following resources are chosen to help you edit and proofread your own work more effectively and with greater confidence.

Grammar refresher

“Self-help” editing tools

For EAL writers

See English as an additional language (EAL) resources: Help & support for English language learners.