Step-By-Step Development of a Research Paper
"Langston Hughes and the Invention of the Blues Poem"

Step 8: Revise the Draft

Before revising, Luke reread his paper three times, focusing on a different aspect of writing each time. The first reread was for unity and coherence. The second was for sentence variety. The third was for word choice.

On his first reread, Luke checked to see that every main idea in the body of his research paper related directly to the thesis statement. He added subheads to the body of the paper, reflecting the broad divisions of his outline. Luke also checked to see that every paragraph was unified, with supporting details clearly related to the paragraph's topic sentence. Luke paid special attention to these devices when he improved the paper's coherence:

  • Parallel structure
  • Repetition of key words
  • Clear pronoun references
  • Transitional expressions

On the second reread, Luke focused on varied sentence beginnings, as well as varied sentence length and structure. For example, at the end of the first section in the body of his essay, Luke revised the following sentence to make it more authoritative:

Whatdescribing, of course, was
In this passage, Hughes was writing about jazz, but he was really
^^
describing the bluesPeriod in my opinion. 

On the third reread, Luke focused on diction. He wanted his language to be as vivid and specific as possible. Here is how Luke revised the first sentence of his paper. The changes he made are in red.

overview of
In their material about the life and achievements of Langston
^
of African American Literature stress
Hughes, the editors of the Norton Anthology say that Hughes
^
had a special relationship withforreasons
was related to the Harlem Renaissance in two ways.
^^^