There are a number of ways and reasons to revise. Often, a draft will need some structural revision—changing the order of ideas or adding or deleting paragraphs. If you can't see the forest for the trees, if you sense that your paper doesn't flow, or if you think you don't have enough information or it's not in the right order, we recommend a topic-sentence reverse outline. (See the links for an NPS-specific one-page guideline on that technique.)
Once you arrive at a suitable structure, you will want to perform a different type of revision: editing, also known as "polishing," where you work to correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation while ensuring that you are being as clear and concise as possible.
For a more detailed overview and plenty of revising strategies, see our links.
- Handout (printable): "Revision in Business Writing," Purdue OWL
- Handout (printable): "Reorganizing Drafts," UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center
- Handout (printable): "Revising Drafts," UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center
- Handout (printable): "Reading Aloud," UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center
- Video (1:49): "Reading Aloud," UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center
- Video (12:13): "The Magic of Revision," TEDTalk by Obert Skye
- GWC one-sheet on reverse outlining: "Techniques for a Reverse Outline"
The following index makes searching for a specific topic easier and links to the appropriate place in the sequenced material. We think we have most of them, but please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we are missing something!