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Proofreading: College Essay Examples

Proofreading is a vital part of ensuring that any form of writing, be it a research paper, email, essay, memo, or any other written document, is perfect (Sobolik, 1975). It is usually the final step that is taken before considering if a report is complete. Most essay writer people do not have formidable proofreading skills (Sobolik, 1975). There are many reasons why one needs to proofread a document and, more so, master the techniques of proofreading. The first reason is to ensure that the right message is communicated. The proofreader must ensure that the introduction of the documentary captures a clear message the paper intends to relay. In this instance, proofreading gives the writer or the editor the chance of rethinking the work done if it fails to verify what the writer is attempting to communicate. 

The second reason is to focus on surface errors, among them being grammatical mistakes, misspellings as well as punctuation. Proofreading ensures the eradication of errors in capitalization, grammar, numbering, and spelling errors.  Inconsistency in the format of a document, punctuation mistakes, misplaced words, and also failures in sentence structure are common (Healy, 1981). Proofreading helps ensure that the writer includes everything they wanted to. It also shows that the writer takes pride in their work and is devoted to making it as good as it can be. Proofreading is critical for any student who needs better grades.

Proofreading makes the publisher’s work easier. It could be frustrating for any writer to devote their utmost attention research and writing just for their work to be rejected by the publisher due to simple typos and errors which could have been eliminated through proofreading. A Curriculum Vitae (CV), for example, is an essential document since it is the gateway to getting one’s dream career. However good, one is in academic achievement, and an employer could disregard them merely due to errors in the CV, which could have been managed through proofreading. Failure to proofread a document can easily lead to miscommunicating the message. Research has been conducted concerning proofreading. Alice F. Healy, in her work, ‘’The effects of visual similarity on proofreading for misspellings,” research conducted at Yale University, focuses more on the importance of proofreading individually to correct misspellings (Healy, 1981).  Healy discusses the importance of phonetic representation of the text or rather what she referred to as the use of visual factors in proofreading. As writing continues to be robust and advanced, so is proofreading.

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Andrew F. Monk and Charles Hulme in their work,” Errors in proofreading: Evidence for the use of word shape in word recognition” research conducted in the University of York, they focused on how to carry out proofreading using either identification of words or letters (Monk & (Hulme, 1983). The two researchers indicate that skilled readers are more efficient in identifying words than non-words or even individual messages (Monk & (Hulme, 1983). As such, proofreaders are advised to use the most efficient method of proofreading to them to ensure that they give the best work possible.

In research conducted by David M. Reifer at California State University, he indicates that most people do not have the required or rather extensive proofreading skills at all educational levels (Riefer, 1991). There are efficient proofreading methods, but most students do not employ any special proofreading techniques or strategies. Reifer clarifies that proofreading should be carried out in a specific way, and without the proofreading skills which should be taught by educators, most students will always express inexperience (Sobolik, 1975). Proofreading, as described earlier, is vital for all stages of writers, be it academic to help get better grades or for publishing to help get more readers. Gayle A. Sobolik asserts this idea through his research ”It Pays to be Sure—Proofread,” which was done at California State University (Sobolik, 1975). The study narrows down some of the advantages accompanying proofreading work. According to Sobolik, one gets peace of mind by being sure that the work communicated is accurate (Sobolik, 1975). He also explains how proofreading saves time for the readers or any other person who gets the document, such as educators or publishers.

Proofreading helps writers gain a better relationship between themselves and the person reading the work since they are assured that a specific writer always provides accurate work.

A proofreader, therefore, needs to be attentive to tiny details in their work. They need to be patient and thorough to ensure they go through every detail and ensure that they are equipped with efficient proofreading skills. The proofreader should also master strategies of eliminating the Thermal Effect Power (TDP) effect, which can be done using a ruler to ensure each line is proofread. Backward reading can be described as a technique for checking the spelling, whereby one starts with the last word on the last page and works backward to the first word on the first page. Backward reading can also be adopted, but it is only valid when correcting spelling mistakes only. One should also seek a second proofreader to help conduct another proofreading exercise for perfection since two is better than one. An individual can also adopt a reading out loud strategy, which is according to Reifer’s (1993).

The proofreader should ensure that before proofreading their work, they have the most efficient proofreading strategy at hand, be it silent or loud strategy, either teamwork or individual proofreading and reading backwards. The proofreader should choose the most suitable methods for them to allow them to perform a good job, which will help produce a final copy that is perfect and advantageous to them.

Methods

Participants

The research study consisted of XXXXX and were selected using XXX. No incentives were offered to participants in this study. The participants were sampled from XXX in order to have a fair representation of the population. Majority of the individuals are native English speakers that have acquired knowledge of the English language. All participants were treated according to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (American Psychological Association, 2002).  

Materials

Two sets of booklets were used consisting of 4 materials: The booklet contained the informed consent form and demographic information sheet while the second booklet contained general instructions, and four passages. The consent form had a list of instructions and the code of conduct governing the research process. The respondent was supposed read through and sign it if they agreed to take part in the survey. The demographic information sheet contained information on ethnicity and proficiency in English. In the second booklet, there were instructions whether to read aloud or silently.

Two sets of booklets were made available to the subject. The participant may get a booklet which requires either reading aloud or silent reading. The handout of the experiment contained: 1. Informed consent; 2. Demographic information, level of English proficiency; 3. General instructions; and 4. and a Debriefing statement.

Procedure

The participants were guided to a quiet controlled environment. The participants were first given the consent form to read and sign to confirm their participation in the experiment. Two of the testing passages were to be read quietly and recognize the incorrect spellings and given instructions to encircle them. The other two were to be read aloud and instructed to encircle misspelled words. Each passage containing instructions for that specific entry. At the completion of the experiment, they were debriefed and thanked for their participating in the experiment.  

Design and Data Analysis

The quantitative approach was used for data analysis. The independent variable was … with two levels: ______ and _____. The analysis was done to give the following output: descriptive statistics, model summary, t-tests, p-values, analysis of variance, regression coefficients, mean and standard deviations. The final results were presented in tables and charts.

This study, an experiment was conducted within the subject design. The independent variable was to read the passages provided during testing to check for spelling errors, which performed on two levels: while reading the passages aloud, and while reading them silently. The dependent variable was the amount of skill spelling errors detected.

Results

A correlated t-test was conducted, and it showed no significant mean differences in the sample study between males and females. With the t-test, the sampels that were aloud had a mean of 10.1668, a Std. deviation of 3.82662, and an Std. error mean at .22588. The silent category had a mean of 10.1377, an Std. deviation of 4.17107, and the Std. error mean at .24621. In the paired samples test, the aloud-silent category had a mean of .02908, an Std. deviation of 3.42591, an Std. error mean at .200222. The lower end was at -.36895, and the upper end was at .42712.

The male participants had a 48.4 percent frequency of the errors, compared to the females, which exhibited a 51.6 percent frequency of the errors. The total number of errors reported were 287, which the males comprising 139 of those and the females comprising 148. The mean age of the participants was 29.82, with the youngest being 18 years old and the oldest being 65 years old.

Native English speakers had a 70.7 percent frequency of the errors. Among those who spoke English very fluently, there was a 19.9 percent frequency of the errors. Of those who spoke English fluently, but not very fluently, there was a 2.8 percent frequency of the errors. Those who spoke English but not fluently exhibited a 5.9 percent frequency of the errors.

When looking at the subjects’ ethnicities, Asians and Asian Americans made up 8.4 percent of the error frequency, African Americans were at 9.4 percent, Caucasians were at 20.9 percent, Hispanics or Latinos were at 58.2 percent, Native Americans were at 1.7 percent, and other nationalities were at 1.4 percent.

References

American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of

Conduct.Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Healy, A. F. (1981). The effects of visual similarity on proofreading for misspellings. Memory & Cognition, 9(5), 453-460. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03202339

Monk, A. F., & Hulme, C. (1983). Errors in proofreading: Evidence for the use of word shape in word recognition. Memory & Cognition, 11(1), 16-23. doi:10.3758/BF03197657

Riefer, D. M. (1991). Behavior Engineering Proposals: 4 Is ‘Backwards Reading’ an Effective Proofreading Strategy? Perceptual and Motor Skills, 73(3). doi:10.2466/pms.1991.73.3.767

Sobolik, G. A. (1975). It Pays to Be Sure—Proofread! The Journal of Business Education, 50(5), 188-189. doi:10.1080/00219444.1975.10533196

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Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.
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