Chapter Thirteen: The Writing Process


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revision is a rethinking and reorganizing of your research paper at a macro level. Revisions are different from proofreading, in which you clean up smaller things like any errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

A revisions involves a big picture review of two things


Content refers to your

Elements of Research Contents

  • topic
  • research question
  • thesis statement
  • theory
  • method
  • major supporting arguments

Reread your work and determine whether you made the best choices in each of these categories. Gather feedback from others, especially experts in the discipline. Sometimes revision leads to a total rethinking of the research project with a new topic and research question. No matter how far down the wrong road you go, it’s always a good idea to turn around.


Form refers to the chosen structure of your paper, the order of presentation, logical connections, use of examples, etc.

Researchers typically organize their presentation using one or more of the modes of writing. These modes include

Writing Modes

  • Cause and effect
  • Process analysis
  • Case study
  • Comparison/contrast
  • Classification and division
  • Definition
  • Analysis
  • Argumentation
  • Narrative
  • Description

If sections of your writing seem disorganized, try using one of these modes to help get your ideas into shape. To learn more about modes, visit Modes of Writing by Jonna Schwartz.

During revision, consider whether you need to move paragraphs, add or remove examples, eliminate redundancies, provide transitions between paragraphs, strengthen your conclusion, etc.

Professional writers often go through many revisions before they are ready to submit their work for publication. Publishers then review the work and may accept it as is, reject it, or accept with revisions. Accept with revisions is a common outcome; the publisher will specify what needs to be revised, with the understanding that the paper will be published if the requested changes are made.

Harvard Link:

  1. Revising the Draft

Writing Commons Links:

  1. Revision
  2. Revise for Substantive Prose


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Strategies for Conducting Literary Research Copyright © 2021 by Barry Mauer & John Venecek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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