In order to read a research document and correct mistakes effectively, a plan must be developed. This plan is a combination of several strategies. The combination and usage of these strategies depends on the person that is proofreading the document. Every one seems to use a different set of strategies, depending on which are the most effective for them. The best strategies are selected by using all of them and checking which ones the person find to be most effective. Presented below are some of the more common strategies.
Read word by word.
This helps to slow down and increase focus on every single word. It also helps to read aloud so that you can hear how the words sound together, which would make it easier to catch words or phrases that sound strange and are therefore most likely incorrect.
Read sentence by sentence.
If you have your work on a Microsoft Word file, it is easy to separate your work into sentences. This way, you can focus on each sentence and check it for any spelling, punctuation, or grammar mistakes. If your work is printed, then you can use a ruler to separate each line so that you can use this strategy for a hard copy as well.
Proofread for one type of error at a time.
This is an excellent strategy to use for larger documents. By using this method, you can easily focus on a certain type of mistake all the way through your document, and correcting any found mistakes. This allows you to only focus on one specific type at a time, making it easier to spot errors. You can start by, for example, correcting only spelling mistakes. Next you can move on to grammar mistakes. Finally, go through your work to find punctuation mistakes.
Do not rely on automatic software.
Never rely on software that corrects spelling or grammar. This is a very common mistake many people make. Software will never catch errors such as writing “to” instead of “too”. Software will not know that you intended to your “too”, and the word “to” is correct in terms of spelling, so it will not flag that as a mistake, whereas a human reader would flag that as an error.
Read your work backwards.
This may sound strange, but is actually very effective, especially when checking for spelling. Start from the very last word on the very last page, and work all the way up until you get to the top. This way, the grammar and punctuation would not seem to make any sense, but spelling mistakes would easily be found, because you are only focused on catching those types of mistakes. This strategy is recommended to be used when checking your work for spelling only.
Circle all punctuation marks.
This strategy is intended to be used when checking your work for punctuation. If done correctly, you can easily focus on all of the circled entities and therefore easily find mistakes in terms of punctuation.
Check to see which strategies are right for you and apply them to your proofreading.