How do I know when I'm finished?

Once you've finished your paper, you should aim to leave time for:

  • Revisions: Look at the entire assignment to see where your reasoning may not be well thought out. You may need to add, delete or reword entire paragraphs or sections of the assignment.
  • Editing: Look for minor problems, such as awkward or confusing sentences that can be fixed by deleting or changing a word or sentence. You are making sure that the reader will find your paper clear, readable, and interesting.
  • Proofreading: Look for mistakes like punctuations, grammar, or spelling errors.

To help with this, consider printing out the paper, reading it out loud, and asking someone else to go over it.

Once you've revised, edited and proofread, take a break – an hour or a day or two – to get a fresh perspective. Then, ask yourself these questions:

Did I fulfill the assignment?

Re-read the instructions your professor gave you for the assignment and evaluate whether you addressed all the requirements.

Did I say what I intended to say?

Think carefully about what you said and didn't say and ask yourself: Is it clear? Do I need to define my terms? Did I articulate my arguments clearly? Did I make adequate transitions between my ideas? Is my logic solid?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of my assignment?

Make a list of what you think you’ve done well and not so well. Here's a checklist you can use to analyze your paper in this way:

Introduction

Does it set context? Does it define key terms? Does it situate your argument in an ongoing conversation?

Structure

Make an outline of your paper. Does the outline make sense? Are there gaps in the logic? Is each point relevant, and equally developed?

Paragraphs

Are they coherent? Are there good transitions between paragraphs?

Argument and Logic

Have you presented an argument or is your paper a summary of the issue or a series of observations? Is your argument convincing? Have you supplied ample evidence for each of your supporting points?

Conclusion

Does it sum up your main point? Does it leave the reader with something to think about?

Find out more!

For more information, check out the document "Revising Your Paper" from the University of Washington's Odegaard Writing & Research Center, on which this section is based.

eye-fill 194Created with Sketch. Tip!

The Writing Assistance Program at the Student Success Centre is a free service for Concordia students who want to improve their writing skills or who need assistance with written assignments. Don't hesitate to make an appointment if you need help with your writing.

page last updated on: Friday 13 October 2017
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