Top Tips for Effective Proofreading

It is very easy when you are reading your document to not see any errors you have made.  You may have been writing for days or weeks and everything looks fine.  Here are a few proofreading strategies you can use before you send your work to a third party, such as your supervisor, or a journal.

  1. Try to make sure you have used appropriate words, language and punctuation. If you are needing to reference published material such as journal articles or book chapters, ensure when proofreading you have used the correct referencing style of your university or the journal publisher in your in-text referencing and end reference list.
  2. Rather than starting at the beginning, proofread your work from the end and work backwards. This will ensure you are looking at the surface elements of your work rather than merely looking at the meaning of what you have written.
  3. You can, of course, use the spell check function on your computer when proofreading, but this is not always 100% reliable.
  4. Think about the errors that you might usually make in your writing and check for these first.
  5. Read through your work more than once. You want to make sure you have done the best job possible during the proofreading stage!
  6. It is important to give yourself as much time as you can to proofread your work and try not to put yourself under unnecessary pressure. Of course, this is easier said than done sometimes, especially of you are a procrastinator!  Look at your work when you are not tired, choosing a time of the day when you are most attentive and will not make any additional mistakes.
  7. Ask a trusted person to look at your work. Do not be embarrassed to show your work to others – they will be pleased to help you if they can, and proofreading with a second pair of eyes can be very effective!

For details of Business Friend’s Proofreading Service, please see Proofreading Services.