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Academic Writing: Editing

Academic Skills


Editing is engaging in the actual rewriting of content. It involves the structure of your work overall and the text, and the Academic Style (e.g. references, line spacing, layout, headings are all consistent).

​Why should you Edit?

  • You do not want to throw away marks
  • Errors will distract the reader from the content and flow
  • An assignment that has been proofread and edited can show that the creator has taken time to present their work in a professional manner.

Tips for Editing

Editing is working on your draft in order to try and improve it. You may have to go through your work several times, checking for different things each time.

Try to print your work out as this makes it easier to see the overall structure of your assignment and you can then reorder it if necessary.





What should you edit for?

You should edit your draft work in order to improve it. This may require you to go through it several times editing for different things. For example:

  • Meaning - Does it make sense? Is your argument clear?
  • Structure - Have you used the appropriate structure? See Assignment Tool Kit for classic structures of essays, reports, and dissertations. Do your Paragraphs flow? See Basic paragraph structure for help. Do you link your ideas together? See a list of Transitional/Linking Words, which can help you. Are your sentences in the best order? Try reordering sentences and read aloud to see, if the flow is better. See Grammar and punctuation for guidance on what makes a proper sentence.
  • References used - Are you using the correct referencing style for your course? Are you using appropriate sources? See the Referencing guide to check you have written and set them out correctly.
  • Style - Is your text easy to read? Are you using the appropriate terminology? Remember there are different styles of academic writing - descriptive, argumentative/analytical, evaluative/analytical, personal/reflective, drawing on the writer's own experience. You are likely to use a mix but be careful not to overuse descriptive.
  • Presentation - Is your work presented neatly and in the correct format? You can check in your course handbook for fonts, font size, layout and whether a front page is required.



  • To help make a Checklist of specific things you want to check for. This should include points on Content like does the text answer the central question(s) posed? Is the main argument clear to follow? Structuring should include points on 'is each paragraph well structured'? Is it clear how each paragraph links to the others and is the order appropriate?  For an example of a Checklist see below. If you don't know where to start then looking back at past assignment feedback might help you, for example, it might say 'Poorly structured' so you know that this needs to be checked. You could also contact your Academic Skills Advisor who can look at a few pages of your work and help you start a checklist or teach you how to use one of the reading tools below.

Texthelp Read&Write

  • If you are at University of Suffolk, then you can use the text-to-speak software Texthelp Read&Write that is available on all the computers see guide below.This text-to-speak software will run over anything that you have up on your screen, so it is not just useful for proofreading. For example, web pages, ebooks, email, and presentations.  The toolbar has tabs called 'Sounds Like, and Verb Checker,' which can aid editing work. It will also read your work to you, so it can aid you to see if it flows and is structured in a logical order. A beginners guide to using Texthelp is available here and each tab on the toolbar has a tutorial video available on YouTube. Your Academic Skills Adviser can also teach you how to use this software in a one to one session or group or your whole course. We also run regular workshops in Learning Service on Texthelp.
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1:1 bookable appointments can be made with your Academic Skills Advisers for your subject area.

Students from Ipswich can book two appointments per week (if you are a student from the Learning Network, please contact your library) - 

  • up to 1 hour with an Academic Skills Advisor

Appointments are scheduled in 30 minute slots.  

Schedule an Appointment