Reviewing the First Draft

You will probably make your most extensive revisions as you read your first draft. Here are a few suggestions that can help you in reviewing the first draft.

  • If possible, allow some time between writing the first draft and reviewing it, so you can look at your first draft with fresh eyes.

  • Try reading your paper aloud to yourself. Sometimes your ear catches problems and errors your eye misses.

  • Ask someone you trust to read your draft and offer suggestions. And remember: You are looking for an honest, objective opinion, not praise. Evaluate your reader's suggestions carefully, and decide for yourself whether or not to act on them.

  • Remember that nothing is unchangeable. Until preparation of your final draft, you can change your paper's thesis, organization, emphasis, tone, and so on. A review of your first draft should not be limited to minor mechanical errors.

  • Use a revision checklist to make sure you've reviewed your draft thoroughly (see "Checklists for Improving Your First Draft").