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Grammatically Speaking Undergoing Editing: Helpful Hints

Now that many of you are in the process of writing your summer research projects, it is important to address one of the most essential elements of writing: editing. In order to produce a truly polished work, you must examine and revise your paper many times; thus, editing is not a one-time activity but an ongoing process. The following suggestions will aid you in progressing through the revision stage of your research.

Check Spelling and Grammar: Be sure to have a dictionary and thesaurus on hand as you write and revise, DO NOT rely solely on spell check.

Check your Verb Tense: Do not switch back and forth between several tenses. Select one tense (preferably past or present perfect), and make sure you stay within your chosen tense.

Check the Organization of your Paper: Make certain that each paragraph examines a specific topic and that the information you include is not too broad. Additionally, make sure sentence and paragraph fluency is established.

Check the Format of your Paper: Every discipline has a specific writing style to which they adhere. Whether you are writing in APA- or MLA-format, be sure to have a copy of the style guide available as a reference.

Avoid Wordiness: Make certain that your ideas and sentences are concise and to the point. If you find yourself getting lost in a sentence, remember, simplicity is the key.

Avoid Overusing the Passive Voice: Frequently using “be” verbs, such as “is” and “are,” creates passiveness that detracts from your paper. When possible, try to replace the passive “be” verbs with active verbs, which will add variety to your sentences.

Top 20 Acceptance Factors for Graduate Admission

Dr. Patricia Keith-Spiegel, Director of the Center for the Teaching of Integrity at Ball State University surveyed 158 faculty active in the graduate student selection process. Grades, test scores, and letters of recommendations were factored out, and faculty were asked to rank other factors of importance. Below, the top 20 factors are listed in order of importance:

1. Applicant is listed as a senior author of a research article published in a refereed scholarly journal.

  • 2.

    Applicant is sole author on a paper at a major regional association convention.

  • 3.

    Applicant has a letter from a mentor with whom he/she has done considerable work.

  • 4.

    Applicant has a letter from his/her professor who is well-known and respected [in the discipline.]

  • 5.

    Applicant’s personal statement reveals a sustained and focused interest in an area appropriate to the program.

  • 6.

    Applicant has earned a junior authorship on a research article published in a refereed scholarly journal.

  • 7.

    Applicant is in the top 5 % of the graduating class (overall GPA standing).

  • 8.

    Applicant writes very well.

  • 9.

    Applicant includes a research paper (independent study project) in submitted application package that is relevant to the program focus.

10. Application materials indicate that the applicant paid considerable attention to assessing a “match” of his/her interests and the intended program.

  • 11.

    Applicant is the sole author of a paper presented at an undergraduate research conference.

  • 12.

    Applicant was a research assistant as an undergraduate.

  • 13.

    Applicant is a “self-starter” (according to recommendations).


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