Revision as a Phase of the Writing Process

What Revision Is

There is no single definition of revising in academic writing. Some scholars consider it to be just another stage of the writing process. In fact, there are three of them, and revising is the final one, while the other two are prewriting and writing. Others treat revision as any changes made by an author to the draft with an aim of ensuring the text meets certain criteria, for example, the author's personal expectations or, which is more objective, professor's paper requirements.

How to Revise

Many students think of revising as of editing and proofreading. It means that in case of a necessity to revise, a student is likely to just improve grammar, correct punctuation, verify spellings, and refine some sentences. At the same time, revising requires more efforts and a higher degree of changes, in particular, rewriting of some passages, adding and deleting some sections, deepening research, replacing sources, introducing new ideas, etc.

How Students' Revising Skills Can Be Developed

There are a number of strategies that professors might apply in order to cultivate revising skills in their students. First, a professor should not make students spend more time on revising as it is useless, but he/she definitely needs to get involved. Second, guiding questions, not specific comments with the instructions of what to replace with what are indeed useful and lead to the desired outcome. The comments, in turn, are distracting and make students focus on a grade rather than the primary purpose of writing. So, questions or, for instance, writing activities targeted at elevating specific skills and solving concrete problems should be applied.

Furthermore, positive criticism, publication, and flexibility could help. Concentrating on good and well-articulated ideas could give a student a taste of what he/she does well and what is expected of him/her. Next, a publication of a work in a newspaper, magazine, blog, newsletter, etc., or its oral presentation motivates students to provide a more high-quality works because of the potential exposure and thus revise paper more thoroughly. A publication is an extremely helpful tool in this regard. Finally, the absence of rigid deadlines when it comes to revision is beneficial since it encourages students to increase the extent of the revision.

Applying Software for Revising

Even though revising might be a lot easier when the text-to-be-changed is in electronic format rather than written down in handwriting, there is no scientifically proven correlation between the quality of revision and the application of a computer. At the same time, a vast usage of computers indeed increases the instances of revising. Still, neither a computer in general nor specific software will assist a student in revising well and going beyond mere correcting of obvious mistakes unless he/she is guided by a teacher who talks not about problems in certain parts of the text but rather the paper as a whole. Such an approach prompts students to deal with papers holistically and thus reveals them the idea behind the writing process.