How to Proofread a Case Study or White Paper
Short-form content is the focus of discussion for many businesses and authors. Web copy, social media, and more require short and punchy content to capture attention and deliver messages. However, not all ideas can be subject to this level of compression. Long-form content like white papers and case studies are required when exploring incredibly complex ideas.
What’s the difference between a white paper and a case study?
A white paper is meant to help the reader understand an issue or solve a problem. White papers combine expert insights, technical information from disparate data sources, and logical arguments for businesses or institutions to drive sales for products, services, or policies.
A case study requires a period of observation and research. Case studies identify a specific problem, implement a solution, and evaluate the outcome. Similar to a white paper, a case study is meant to illustrate the benefits of a product, service, or policy; however, a case study uses an example to demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed solution.
Importance of proofing
The success of a white paper or case study depends on a business, institution, or author appearing as an authority on the topic. This impression is undermined if a manuscript contains logical, organizational, or grammatical errors.
Both case studies and white papers are persuasive pieces that contain a thesis statement, which is the central argument. Typically, these persuasive papers will identify problems and argue that their product, service, or policy is the best solution. The thesis statement should be clear and easy to comprehend so readers understand the argument being made. Additionally, subsequent paragraphs should flow logically in support of the central argument.
Because case studies and white papers explore complex topics in longer form, they must be well-organized. The success of a document or paragraph depends on its organization. For a persuasive paper, the thesis should be contained in one of the introductory paragraphs to communicate the intent of the author and the purpose of the article early. Subsequent paragraphs should introduce supporting evidence for the thesis statement. The quality and quantity of this evidence will help prove the thesis. Lastly, a conclusion paragraph will summarize the argument and evidence.
However, organization is essential for paragraphs, too. Each section contains a topic sentence; similar to a thesis statement, the topic sentence indicates the purpose of the paragraph that follows. The remainder of the paragraph will include more granular detail on the evidence being introduced, and it may finally segue into a reiteration of the topic sentence or an introduction to the paragraph that follows.
Lastly, an influential persuasive paper should be error-free. Inappropriate or unclear syntax can obfuscate meaning, and typos or misspellings can detract from an authoritative or confident tone.
What is the process of proofing a case study or white paper
Proofing your case study or white paper is an essential step and helps ensure an error-free manuscript. Many people believe that proofreading checks for grammatical and spelling mistakes, but it goes much deeper. Misused syntax can make your paper unclear, negating your hard work and failing to convey your message clearly. These steps will help ensure your paper is immaculate, impactful, and authoritative.
1. Take a Step Back
Before beginning the proofreading process, it’s beneficial to distance yourself for a day or two to help you gain a clear perspective on the written content. What may seem like well-written material will often look different through fresh, well-rested eyes.
2. Set Aside a Specific Time
It’s essential to schedule your proofreading session for a time of day when you are most alert and well-rested. Whether you’re a morning or night person, it doesn’t matter as long as you choose a time when you know you can focus.
3. Use A Paper Copy
Having a paper copy of the text is essential during the proofreading process. It enables you to highlight, circle, underline, and make notes in a way electronic formats can’t. Hard copies give you a new perspective on the writing that can help you identify missed issues.
4. Don’t Solely Rely on Spelling and Grammar Checkers
Spelling and grammar checkers are incredibly useful during the proofreading process; however, they should not be your only means for error-checking. Often these programs fail to catch every misspelled or out-of-context word or make corrections that introduce new grammatical errors. Use tools like the dictionary, thesaurus, or other grammatical resources with these programs. Accessing help from a mentor, trusted companion, or an established proofreading service is also an excellent resource.
5. Read The Text Aloud
Reading the text aloud gives you a different perspective on the writing and helps you identify errors you miss from silent reading. It is beneficial for identifying structural problems like run-on sentences and incorrect comma placements. You can also have someone else read it aloud to you, allowing you the chance to listen to the content critically through audible word engagement.
6. Proofread for One Error
Focus on a single error at a time instead of generalizing them all at once. By focusing on one mistake like commas, you increase your chances of successfully spotting the error and not overlooking it in search of multiple issues.
7. Have Someone Else Review the Content
Have a trusted friend or advisor review the paper once you’ve made your first round of proofs. They will provide you with an unbiased assessment of your work, providing you the opportunity to make necessary changes you failed to notice. It also gives insight into how others view your written content to determine if your message is clearly conveyed.
Proofing your case study or white paper is essential for ensuring your paper is well-written, authoritative, and persuasive. Errors can dissuade the reader from the validity of the content, negating the hard work that went into developing the argument and compiling the evidence. Don’t risk undermining your finished project; utilize these proven proofing processes and ensure your case study or white paper has the impact and respect it deserves.
Want to guarantee that your case study or white paper is proofed and ready to use? Have it evaluated by our experts at EdiPro. Our team specializes in business copyediting and proofreading.