Writing the final version Once the first draft has been completed and major revisions such as the reordering, division or exclusion of chapters have taken place, a new phase in writing can begin. This editing stage may still involve making substantial changes that will affect chapter content, such as: seeing whether the same or similar ideas are unintentionally repeated in different parts of the text and taking appropriate action looking for unexplained contradictions in different parts of the text and deciding whether you need to justify or remove them cutting entire paragraphs or chapter sections that seem to create unnecessary digressions from your main arguments At the other extreme, there will be more detailed changes that need to be made in your text. These are the types of changes that Murray (2002) refers to when she draws a distinction between editing and ‘polishing’ a text: This is the time for revisions so fine that they do not seem worth making. It all begins to seem a bit pedantic, with more attention to the correctness of grammar and punctuation than to the research and your contribution. This is as it should be. Understanding the differences between the different types of editing is a necessary part of the writing process. Arguably, ‘polishing’ or proofreading a text should come at the very end, once other aspects of editing have been completed. Before this final stage, it is advisable to work through a series of other checklists that you can use as clear points of reference when you re-read your first draft. Editing checklists are a useful tool as part of the process of monitoring progress in writing: when you are aiming to improve your writing through editing, you will need to break this process down, as there are so many different aspects of writing that can be problematic.
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