The focus while writing a research paper, is usually the content. As such, the need to proofread the document is often ignored by most of the researchers. Proofreading is the final step before submission of the document and ensures that the document is free from any sort of grammatical-errors, spelling-errors, punctuation-errors, typography-errors, sentence errors, and word-usage errors.Let’s understand the scope of proofreading in a little detail. Proofreading includes checking for:
- Grammatical errors like wrong tense or mixing two tenses in a single statement, or mistake in subject/verb agreement. For example using ‘one of the most common forms of business are’ instead of ‘one of the most common forms of business is’. Also mistakes in pronoun/case agreement like wrong use of ‘I’ and ‘me’, ‘who’ and ‘whom’ etc.
- Spelling errors like writing ‘diffrence’ instead of ‘difference’; ‘refrence’ instead of ‘reference’; ‘arival’ instead of ‘arrival’; ‘beleive’ instead of ‘believe’ etc.
- Punctuation errors like unnecessary use of comma, using semi colon instead of comma, wrong use of apostrophe. For example like writing ‘area’s’ instead of ‘areas’, using exclamation marks instead of full stop etc.
- Typography and formatting errors like using double spaces between words, misaligned margins, inconsistent fonts and bullet styles, misaligned columns or rows in a table etc.
- Word-usage errors like using ‘there’ instead of ‘their’, ‘affect’ instead of ‘effect’, ‘imply’ instead of ‘infer’, ‘between’ instead of ‘among’, ‘amid’ instead of ‘amidst’ etc.
- Sentence errors can change the meaning of the research paper in all. In a research paper meeting the objectives is crucial. And reader should understand clearly what the author is trying to specify. Some times the sentences are not placed correctly to make sense. Whereas in some cases sentences may contradict other statements in the paper.
The importance of proofreading is now very clear with above discussion. Therefore the next question is whether the researcher himself proofread or one should hire external proofreader.
Well, an external proofreader is often a better option. This is because you get your document reviewed by an expert. The researcher usually do not have a detailed knowledge of above-mentioned areas and therefore even after editing, the document contains several errors. Mostly it is observed that scholars remove spelling errors and typography errors while proofreading the document themselves. However fail to rectify punctuation errors and word-usage errors. This happens largely because while typing computer highlights the wrong spellings by default. However a computer cannot detect wrong usage of words.
Thus, a proofreader can be of great help here. Moreover, hiring the services of an external proofreader helps you to get a second opinion on your research paper. Proofreading is done by experts of the subjects and they have fair idea of the kind of content needed for a topic. Thus, a professional proofreader may help you to improve the content also. An expert proofreader can help you detect any flaws during editing also. Since proofreading is the last step before submission, quality of proofreading often makes the difference in your academic grades and scores.