HW: Proofreading drafts

Today in class we will be proofreading one anothers’ lab report drafts. Here are some criteria to guide you when proofreading your peers. Remember: always be constructive!

The introduction

Focus most of your time on the introductory portion of the draft. To most readers, this is the most important part of the article.

  • Does the introduction draw your interest?
  • Does it motivate the technical portion of the lab?
  • Does it preview the tehcnicaal portion?
  • Does it mention the key questions guiding the inquiry?


Definitions are often a key part of the introduction section, and it is important to get them right. To save time, choose just one representative definition to focus on. Remember: definitions can either be explicitly labelled “Definition”, or they can be folded into a discussion that introduces a new concept.

  • Is the definition, to the best of your knowledge, accurate?
  • Is the definition crystal clear, or is it vague in some way?
  • Is the definition supported by examples? (Assuming that examples would be helpful to get the point across.)

Other small things

  • Typographical errors
  • Typesetting mistakes, gaps in \LaTeX\ knowledge
  • Structure, clarity of presentation


At this early stage, there may not be any proofs yet. But here are some guidelines to think about just in case. No matter how experienced you are, having someone read your
proofs for accuracy and clarity can be really helpful.

  • Is the proof error-free?
  • Is the proof air-tight, that is, does it justify every step and cover every possibility?
  • Is the proof easy (enough) to read and understand?
  • Does the proof flow well?