Academic copy editing tips

okay I’m Bev violet and I am an assistant research professor and a lecturer at the University of nebraska-lincoln in the English department I’ve also been an academic copy editor for about 25 years I’d like to talk a little bit about some tips and tricks and things to look for when you’re doing an academic copy at it first of all the thing that you need to know is it’s got to be a holistic piece with a beginning in the middle and an ending you have to be able to identify these sections you also need to think about an academic piece in terms of an argument Oh academic writing even if it’s a grant proposal but usually I’m talking about dissertations or monographs these are pieces of argument that interpret other works other pieces of evidence and in a particular way so what you’re looking for in the introduction is a statement that summarizes not only the topic but the argument the the debatable point really in the piece and then when you’re faced with a number of disorganized paragraphs the ways that you can think about reorganizing them or making suggestions for reorganization you don’t actually go in and make any changes you make comments obviously about the kinds of things that can be improved but what I look for is a topic sentence first of all at the beginning of each paragraph that summarizes or leads into the single argument or sub point in that paragraph so each paragraph should have its own idea its own sub point and within that paragraph you usually will find evidence that supports that sub point and an explanation of the sub point and how that relates to the overall argument and some kind of connection than between the introduction and then the first point and then it naturally will move to the second point with some kind of transition sentence so the transition sentence that you usually are looking for connects the paragraphs together and will usually refer towards our hint at the next point that’s going to be made or refer back to the point that’s just being made and then it makes the next point and so on and so on so each paragraph really has its own structure of point proof discussion transition point proof discussion transition if you think of it that way it will help those paragraphs become more organized and logical and this is the way that you can develop the argument throughout the paper in a natural flowing kind of way and then when you get to the conclusion it’s almost like it inverse pyramid so if you think about the introduction as narrowing down from a wide topic towards a statement of argument you can flip that triangle upside down by thinking of the thesis statement first and then broadening out from the argument back into a connection with other topics or a real-world experience you might have in your conclusion the answer to the question so what why is this important to know once you’ve gone through this argument all the way through and proving it it’s really the the connection to why you started in the first place and I think just having this kind of a structure throughout even a very long book if you can find a flow a pathway through that that it’s logical and builds from one piece to the next peak to the next peak you’ll have a better overall piece of work and I think that pretty much can apply those general principles can be applied to short academic pieces as well as very long ones

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