What is revising in writing? How do you go about doing it, and what are your goals? Here, we’ll focus on the meaning of revision and the best approaches to this task.
The best way to provide a revision definition in writing is to consider the word’s origin. It literally means to see again. When you revise your document, you look it over again with the goal of making it better. Revising definition doesn’t include proofreading or editing. Instead, it includes steps such as:
- Adding or removing quotes or other text and strengthen arguments.
- Resequencing the points you make.
- Adding or removing research sources.
- Including new arguments or removing others.
- Rewording entire passages.
Essentially, the major focus of revision is to make the paper better. Of course, ‘better’ depends upon the details of the assignment.
When Should You Revise Your Paper?
The revision stage of writing usually happens after you have completed your first draft. It is the initial step that you take when you begin the process of turning that rough draft into your final copy. Revising your paper allows you to improve its content before you focus on more cosmetic and functional concerns through editing and proofreading.
What Does Revision Mean?
When you modify a document to increase its effectiveness, you revise it for:
- Appropriateness for the audience
- Adherence to the assignment rubric
- Use of sources
- Arguments and quotes
- Sequence and structure of arguments
- Thesis statement
Of course, the specific steps you’ll have to take will depend on how satisfied you are with your first draft.
How Do You Know if Your Paper Needs Revision?
For successful students, the revision rate is virtually 100%. In other words, every paper needs at least some revising. By taking this important step, you help to ensure that your paper is convincing, cogent, and a pleasure to read.
If you’re still unsure if you need to revise a paper you’ve been working on, start with a 24-hour break. Put your paper aside for a day. Don’t look at it. Then, read it again. This will help you approach your paper with a slightly different perspective. As you read it, consider your target audience. You’re the expert here, but are they? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my thesis strong, and does the paper I’ve written support it?
- Will readers think that I’ve chosen credible research sources?
- Do I have enough quotes from experts to support my arguments?
- Have I used the best quotes that suit my goals?
- Does every paragraph have a clear argument that is supported by relevant facts?
- Are there any new or different arguments that would be more effective?
- Have I overcome any communication barriers that could be an issue for my audience?
What Are the Steps for a Successful Revision?
Now that we’ve answered the question, ‘What does it mean to revise a piece of writing?’, let’s get into the details of making it happen. Specifically, how do you go about revising a standard paper that’s been written in English.
Every paper is a bit different, so you’ll have to customize your approach to revision in English. Still, the following steps make an excellent outline:
Get Some Feedback on Your Draft
So, what does it mean to revise an essay draft? It means getting some fresh perspective on your work. But even after you’ve taken a bit of a break, it’s possible that you are too enamored of your own arguments to be objective. If possible, pass your writing off to a peer for review. Ideally, this will be someone from your class or a study group. You really need somebody who knows what is the difference between revising and proofreading and possesses some knowledge of your topic to determine if your sources and arguments are on point.
Of course, this shouldn’t be a one way conversation. It’s important to speak with your reviewer about what you are trying to accomplish. That way, they are in the best position to give you their informed opinion.
Isolate Your Supporting Points
Now, move onto the next step with the peer comments in mind. Think of this as a gut check for your arguments. What you’re going to do here is take the supporting point out of every paragraph. Now, look at each of these points critically in order to determine:
- How well each one supports your thesis.
- If each point is sequenced to build on your overall argument.
- Whether or not the evidence and sources properly support each argument.
This is the time to move and change your supporting points and to make modifications to any quotes and sources you’ve chosen.
Revisit Your Thesis
Now, consider whether your thesis is okay as it is. Does it still match the arguments you are making? Is it possible that your research has revealed something different from what you were expecting? If so, now is the time to rework this.
Make Sure Your Introduction and Conclusion Are Strong
Take a closer look at your intro and conclusion, based on the other changes you’ve made. Does your introductory ‘hook’ still introduce the topic effectively? Does it segue into your thesis statement? What about your transition to the first supporting paragraph?
Your conclusion is one of the most important elements of your paper. Keep in mind that you don’t want to summarize here. Instead, your approach should be to synthesize the data you’ve presented. Show how all of your individual arguments work together and prove your thesis.
Check Your Flow
For this last step, read your writing out loud. This will really allow understanding how your writing sounds to other people. If it reads as if it’s stilted, stuffy, or awkward, you’ll want some changes. Keep your audience in mind during this step. Remember that your job is to convince them and communicate with them in a way that they understand.
Sometimes, you’ll find changes need to be made down to the level of a sentence. You may even find yourself asking, ‘what is the correct way to revise the punctuation in the sentence’ as you work to find the right style and phrasing.
How to Revise a Paper: Mistakes and Pitfalls
Keep in mind that the revision synonym is not editing or proofreading. That will help you avoid one of the more common mistakes in this process. That’s focusing too much on spelling, grammar, and mechanics. Here are a few other mistakes:
- Failing to be objective
- Attempting to revise large works in one sitting
- Not taking language barriers into consideration (e.g., revision in Spanish)
- Revising where you don’t need because of overthinking things
Help from Revision Websites
There may be some instances where a lack of time or even basic understanding of what does editing mean in the writing process makes it difficult to revise your own paper. In that case, you might want to hire a writing reviser. This is a professional who can review your paper, and suggest changes to improve it.
The trick here is finding someone you can help. That’s where we come in. Our reviews will help you to determine which revision service is in your budget, safe to use, and competent.
Posted by Chris M.