Before you submit a text

You’ve finished writing the final word of your paper and everything seems to be finished. But, as you can probably guess, there’s usually a catch, and things can get complicated. There’s a rule called the Pareto principle. This says that for 20% of our time, we’ll carry out 80% of the work on a certain task. The remaining 80% of our time, however, is consumed by creating 20% of the finishing touches. 

If you’re what’s called a “finisher”, you probably won’t mind this much. But, for everyone else, it means more than a few sleepless nights and typing things into the computer that aren’t exactly fun. Ok – so let’s say the moment you finish your final thesis, the score isn’t 80:20 but more like 20:80 – even so, you should always leave time for the things that should be done during final editing.  

In this module, we’ll attempt to list a certain list of things that you shouldn’t forget to do before submitting a shorter or longer paper.  

  1. References – have you really supported everything with sources? Have you perhaps forgotten a bit of someone else’s idea or a text by someone that you still need to cite? It pays to be very careful in this area, as the borderline between plagiarism and a simple mistake can be relatively thin.  
  2. Does the citation norm fit the norm? This point is linked to the previous one – are all citations listed uniformly in the whole work? Have you forgotten a bit somewhere that needs to be completed or modified? Citation managers can be a great help in doing this – either one directly inWord, or Zotero, which is free of charge.  
  3. Do you have everything in your bibliography? Is there anything extra that doesn’t belong? Either one could be a problem. In earlier times, literature that you perceived as recommended or suitable for the topic in general was listed. Today we only cite literature that we’ve truly used.  
  4. Does your text fulfill the requirements? Try to check the character count (is it enough?), the method in which you’ve used cited literature (do you have a minimum number of resources), and also text formatting to make sure you’ve done things the way you were supposed to. Sometimes even a small mistake can harm you greatly.  
  5. Be careful of spelling and grammar. The quality of language is often seen as one of the fundamental signs of the quality of a text or the lack thereof. We highly recommend that you carry out your own careful check and also have someone else read it.  
  6. And once this person starts reading – try to talk with them about how the reading went, whether they understood everything, and how they managed to grasp things. We also often suffer from something called “writer’s blinders”. We don’t see our mistakes or illogical steps, but someone else can often point them out to us. If your mother or classmate doesn’t understand something, it’s quite probable that you haven’t written it well. Rewrite it. 
  7. Visualize – tables, graphs and maps can be helpful in understanding many things. Even Word can insert diagrams with cycles or the depiction of processes. If you manage to add these to your work, you’ll significantly increase its quality. But, you should make sure they’re suitable in terms of purpose and aesthetics.  
  8. Take care of your typography – get rid of “orphans” and “widows”, one-letter words at the ends of sentences, bad fonts, blank pages, missing lines, double spacing, … There are many elements here and most of them are quite visible. 
  9. Re-read things. Just about everyone who’s ever written a master’s thesis will tell you that the moment they took the manuscript back from the printer and opened it to a random page, they found an error rather quickly. We never create perfect texts, but if you re-read an article or year-end paper after a certain amount of time goes by, you can make big improvements.  
  10. Do the introduction and conclusion agree?  As a general rule, we should write the introduction and conclusion at the very end. Once you’ve written everything, try to scan through the introduction and conclusion to check if you’re not claiming something that isn’t in the text or, on the contrary, if you’ve perhaps forgotten something important. This can pay off too.  


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