A Checklist of revision

As now I am beginning to do a more serious revision of my draft, I am glad to encounter Mabbett’s list as quoted below. This is for my own use, serving as a reminder.

The following list is taken from I.W. Mabbett, Writing History Essays: A Student’s Guide (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 126-27.


Uses of sources
Evidence properly identified and distinguished from interpretation or judgment
All evidence properly documented
Authority for interpretations or judgments properly acknowledged
Best available evidence consulted, especially primary sources. Internet sources used only if relatble as academic authority or useful primary source evidence.
Authorities’ judgments or interpretations not treated as if they were fact
No paraphrase of authorities of authorities’ words except where unavoidable in brief statements of factual evidence
No copying out of authorities’ words except in properly set out quotations
Quotations aptly chosen to exploit primary sources or identify interpretations to be discussed
Quotations properly set out, documented and integrated into syntax of text
Allusions properly explained

Construction
Proper introduction setting out plan of attack
Ambiguous terms or concepts analysed where appropriate
Stages of argument clearly signalled to the reader
Concluding section showing how question has been answered

Format and Presentation
Full title at the beginning
Length within prescribed limits
Legibility, attractive layout
Page format (with adequate margins, page numbers, indented paragraphs)

Footnotes
All material evidence documented
No strings of ibids reflecting scissors-and-paste construction
Footnotes all citing sources you have actually inspected, not seen cited elsewhere
Citation format exactly as prescribed, and giving adequate information for verification (including place and date of publication, initials, etc.)
All data in the prescribed order (e.g. initials first)
Unwanted date not included
Exact page numbers given
Abbreviations properly used (op. cit., ibid., etc.)

Bibliography
Bibliography well laid out, surnames first
All prescribed data included in right sequence
Annotations supplied, with comment on use made of each item, not on how good you think it is; especially, justify use of any Internet sites.


For English Expression
Punctuation
Apostrophes properly used
Commas properly used
Full stops, capitalization, semi-colons as required
Italics for titles of publications and foreign terms

Spelling
Avoidance of words that are correctly heard and applied but wrongly spelled
Avoidance of mis-formed words
Avoidance of mis-spellings caused by contamination of homophones or similar words

Grammar
Agreement of number, gender
Consistency of tense
Parallel construction
Properly constructed clauses
Properly formed sentences with main verbs

Style and Vocabulary
Abbreviations not used
Note form not used
Colloquialisms not used
No woolly, pompous sentences that say nothing important
Every sentence expressed as simply as possible
All words used accurately with full knowledge of their meaning; no Malapropisms
No use of prejudicial, tendentious language

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2 thoughts on “A Checklist of revision

  1. I've never read the books you mentioned recently. Yet, reading your recent few posts, I realise how fortunate I have been — my supervisor couched me through all these on the way. It seems that the things in your list here (and those mentioned in the last few posts) were what he demanded me to to do when I was writing. He was so meticulous in style and critical toward the flow of argument, that he pushed my to produce a near-perfect version of every chapter along the way. It made me so frustrated during the meetings with him, since he tended to pick on this and that and any tiny things. At the end, however, I was thankful.

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  2. I don't know whether it was I who has been too passive in taking the initiative to reach my supervisor or it was because my works have been to messy that he was too resistant to even want to make those comments.I think I was partly responsible for this.Scared! Worried! Horrible!

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