Introduction > Writing Scientifically > Before You Submit

Before You Submit

At the deskThere's a temptation to hand in your work as soon as you've written it, either because you've left it to the last minute and the deadline is approaching or because you want it off your desk so you can forget about it. You've invested a lot of time and effort in your work however, and rushing at this stage could lose you valuable marks.

A good tip is to leave your work for a week (or a day if you're short of time) before you read it for the last time. If you write and edit your work as you go along, it's easy to miss the silly little mistakes that you would otherwise pick up on. Similarly, if you've spent the past week on a piece of work, you'll find that you read what you want to see and you'll not pick up the mistakes. If you leave your work for a few days, you'll be refreshed and will view your work in a fresh light which will make the mistakes more apparent. If it's possible, ask a friend/parent/sibling to read over your work as well.

A common mistake students (and seasoned professionals) make with their written work is with references and citations. Problems generally occur when you're editing your work - if you add in a citation and then don't reference it, or delete a citation but not the reference. Unfortunately, because the Reference section is at the end of your work, it's easy to forget about it. If you've produced a large document, like your final year dissertation, it can be difficult to retain your enthusiasm long enough to check the references. It isn't the most enjoyable task you'll ever do, but it's certainly worth getting it right. One of the first things some examiners look at is the reference list. It tells them something about the literature you have read, but also about the accuracy and style of the work. For example, if the references are poorly presented then this gives a bad impression.

If you're worried you've missed something out, use this checklist before you submit your work.
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