Revising and Editing

After writing the first draft, you have a lot of your ideas out there, but they may not be expressed in the most complete and clear way possible. Go back to your writing and revise. The word "revision" actually means to re-look ("vision") at the essay again. Look at the essay as a whole by focusing on ideas and content. Look specifically at the suitability of the writing for your purpose, as well as the logic and clarity of the ideas and the organization.

Try asking the following questions:

  • Have I responded to the assignment? What is my purpose for this essay? Does the essay accomplish the purpose of the assignment?
  • What should I rethink? Was my position clear? Did I provide enough analysis to convince my readers? Have I addressed differing points of view?

  • How is my tone? Was I too overbearing or too firm? Do I need qualifiers? Is the tone appropriate for the audience?

  • Is the thesis logical and clearly stated?
  • Does each paragraph have just one main idea?
  • Are all details logically connected to each other in each paragraph?
  • Does each paragraph directly support or expand on the thesis?
  • What should I keep? What is most effective?

  • What should I change? Are parts of my essay confusing? Do I need to explain my ideas more fully?

  • What should I add? Where do I need more details, examples, and other evidence to support my point?

  • Has all extra information that does not relate to the thesis been removed? What could I get rid of? Did I use irrelevant details? Was I repetitive?

  • Does the conclusion proceed naturally from the rest of the essay? Does my conclusion show the significance of my essay?

Try one of these revision techniques:

  • Make a plan of how you will address key claims you have identified as most important in each reading.
  • Construct a thesis statement that reflects the purpose of the assignment.
  • Write an outline to organize your ideas.