Why is it important to proofread your research paper?

By on October 10, 2011

Proofreading may be simply defined as the reading of a research paper or an essay in order to detect any sort of grammatical, lingual, or statistical errors. Also, it is important to proofread and the paper to detect errors with regard to the content of the research paper. Proofreading is the final and essential step that must be taken before the submission of any research paper.

Importance of proofreading in research papers

Proofreading is important for the following reasons:

  • If you do not proofread and do not make sure that you have eliminated every error possible then your research work will not look at its best.
  • While the originality and organization of your research work are the most important facets of any research paper you write, the way you present your ideas in your paper says a lot about the kind of care that has gone into your writing.
  • Your research paper should be not only neat but also readable in terms of how well you have formatted and placed your content.
  • Good research papers (not only well written but also well edited and formatted) tend to reflect an individual’s thinking through their writing to the readers of the paper.

How does one proofread a paper?

Firstly, follow any instructions given by your professor.

Following are the guidelines one can follow in order to avoid overlooking errors and typographical mistakes:

  • Double-space your or single space as per the university requirements.
  • Use a common font in a size that can be easily read. For example, Times New Roman 12 points (as per your university or college guidelines).
  • Limit yourself to one or two fonts for the entire research paper. You can use italics or bold as appropriate. Change font sizes to indicate heads and subheads.
  • Set page margins at approximately 1 inch. (as per your university or college guidelines)
  • Number your pages, except for the first one.
  • Check your paper for spelling and grammar mistakes. Pay special attention to your use of its/it’s, their/there/they’re, you’re/your and other homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings). You may also want to use a computerized spell-check program. Don’t rely on a spell-checker alone. It misses many types of mistakes. A spell-checker may catch a misspelt word, but may not highlight a misused word, especially if it’s a homophone.
  • Be sure each sentence is a complete one. Reading your sentence aloud and out of its context can help you identify fragments, run-ons and wordy constructions.
  • Another helpful strategy is to have a friend read your paper. Another set of eyes may pick up something you missed.

Once this part of the proofreading of the document, the overview editing is complete. Even the grammatical mistakes have been rectified. It is very important to verify the sources mentioned in the document. In addition, the researcher should ensure that the style of formatting and referencing is adhering to the standard referencing style that has been recommended.

After all, a poorly written paper cannot communicate its message to the reader.