Once you have written your first draft, the writing stage is all about editing: i.e. making what you have written better. This can involve deleting a lot of what you have already written but it is still less daunting than staring at the empty screen.

You can edit your draft on several different levels.

Content

Have you really answered the question? Are you persuading the reader of your answer or just informing them of what you have read? Check out our page on Developing Your Own Argument for more help.

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Overall Structure

  • Do you have a clear introduction, main body and conclusion?
  • Is your main argument clearly stated in your introduction?
  • Is it clear how each paragraph adds to your argument?
  • Are paragraphs in a logical sequence?
  • Is your conclusion an obvious summary of your arguments?
  • Paragraph structure
  • Are you using PEEL paragraph structure?
  1. P = Point (topic sentence)
  2. E = Evidence/Example (info from other sources)
  3. E = Explanation (critical analysis)
  4. L = Link (to the next paragraph)

Does every paragraph have at least the first three? Highlight them in different colours to check.

Clarity

Is the meaning of everything clear and concise?

Are you using enough ‘signposting’ to make your argument clear to your reader? We have our own signposting web page and here is another good resource on using signposting sentences from De Montford University Signposting sentences.

Style

  • Are you writing academically?
  • Are you complicating things unnecessarily?
  • Are you using academic caution (Links to an external site.)? (Links to an external site.)
  • Are you using academic writing style?
  • Is it in the right ‘person’?
  • Citations and references
  • Do you have an entry in your reference list for every citation in your essay (search for each one to make sure).
  • Are you referencing correctly? Go to our Referencing pages to make sure.