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        Editing and Proofreading Academic Papers: A Short Guide

        • calenderAug 18, 2020
        • calender 5 min read

        One of the most important but tedious tasks while writing a paper is compiling a reference list. Whether it’s Chicago, MLA or APA you are trying to wrap your head around, it’s a task that can baffle the best of us. But don’t worry, because we’re here to help you out with exactly that. How can a student effectively edit and proofread the reference section of a paper? Let’s find out. 


        Preliminary steps: 

        It wouldn’t be surprising if you were the sort of student to scramble for your sources at the last moment. It’s guaranteed cause for total chaos, and that’s putting it graciously. This is why we say it’s important to log your sources while you are studying them. 

        You can choose to do this however you may wish to, but you can also take our advice on the matter. 

        The other thing you should have done before beginning this herculean task is to note down what citation style you are supposed to use in your paper. 


        Things to remember: 

        Despite the citation style you’re using, there are certain elements that are commonly used.The difference usually lies in how these components are organized. 

        • Name of the paper 
        • Name of the author(s)
        • Date of publication
        • Name of the publication
        • Volume and issue of the publication
        • Page numbers of the journal/book (if applicable)
        • A URL/DOI (for digital sources)


        These are the components you are looking for while compiling your reference section. 

        We have already written about the specifics of each format, including Chicago, APA and MLA styles, so you can go check them out as well. We are not going to dwell on it now. 


        Editing and proofreading 

        The purpose of reviewing the references is to make sure that everything is cited correctly, but it also to ensure that you are referencing the correct information. Therefore, this reviewing should be done in three layers. 

        1. Check if all your in-text citations match up 
        2. Check that you are citing exactly what you are claiming to cite. 
        3.  Make sure all the components of your citation in the reference list are ordered correctly. 


        1. Reviewing in-text citations: Before you even begin to look at the references/works cited/bibliography section, the first step is to cross-check your in-text citations with your list of references. Every in-text citation must correspond to an entry in the reference list.
        2. Reviewing the cited material: It’s not enough that you have attributed the reference to the right paper. In addition to getting the paper written, you also have to ensure that the quote or the paraphrasing has been cited correctly.This means that you have to specify the page number(s) of the paper as well. If you are paraphrasing or quoting the paper, add your in-text citation after your explanation. Keep in mind that if you are mentioning the author within your text, you only have to put the year of publication in parenthesis.
        3. Reviewing the reference section: The reference section (or the “bibliography” or “works cited” section, depending on the citation style) is the last part of your paper. It is a list of all the works you have referred to while studying and writing the paper.  You will have realised by now that this section has to follow a particular format. Once you have figured out the format that you need to use, you can use a citation machine to generate your list of references. Once you have done that, cross-reference your list with the format that you need to follow and fill out any missing details.  


        So there you have it. An easy guide to get you started on refining your reference section and making sure that your citations are in order. Editing and proofreading your reference list is the most effective way to eliminate plagiarism in your paper. By reviewing it, you also end up checking if your arguments are in place and if they align with the literature you are citing, referencing and deriving from. 

        Hope this was a helpful guide into academic writing’s most difficult task. Don’t forget to follow PaperTrue for more tips about writing, editing and proofreading academic papers.

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