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What to check before you submit your work

You've finished your work and with a sigh of relief you want to submit and forget about it. But wait! You need to make some final checks.
Ask yourself these questions before you hand in your work.
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What is the deadline?
Missing the deadline may mean a percentage reduction in your grade or even a grade of zero. You did plan your time, didn't you? You did give yourself time to check everything before you submit didn't you? Make sure you know when the deadline is and don't leave submitting till the last minute.

Where do I submit my work?
Most assignments are submitted online, normally through a learning management system (LMS) such as Blackboard Learn or Moodle. If you have never used one of these systems before make sure know how to login, that you can navigate your way around and know where to submit your work.

Did you check your spelling?
Make sure you run a spell check AND check manually. Spell checkers don't pick up words which are spelled correctly but are the wrong word (e.g. their/there). One technique you can use is to read your script out loud. This also helps identify clumsy phrasing. It's easy to overlook a mistake in a script you have read many times so get a colleague to check for you, too.

Did you check your grammar?
You can install a grammar checker such as Grammarly to help you with your grammar. Grammar checkers are not perfect so don't accept all their suggestions without being sure there is a real mistake to correct.

Did you abide by formatting guidelines?
You may be required to submit work in a particular format so check this carefully. Formatting guidelines may stipulate:
  • Fonts (e.g. Arial, Times Roman, Calibri), font sizes (and different font sizes for text, headings, title, etc.);
  • Line spacings;
  • Page margins;
  • Whether you need headers and/or footers or page numbers, and how they should be formatted;
  • Whether you need a table of contents or an index;
  • How tables, figures, or illustrations should be titled and cited.

Did you check that your quotes and paraphrases are correctly cited?
Make sure that you are using the correct style for your institution (APA, MLA, etc.). All quotes and paraphrases must be correctly cited, and a reference must be included in your bibliography.

Have you included a bibliography?
If you have any references in your text you need a bibliography. It should be titled correctly:
Bibliography is used when you include references to any pertinent sources you read when you researched your paper, even if you did not cite them in your text.
References is used when you only include citations mentioned in your text.
Works Cited is the same as References and is used when you are using the MLA style.
If you use a referencing tool, organising your bibliography should not be a worry. You can find a list of referencing apps here.

Have you included a cover page?
You may be required to attach a cover page to your work with details such as your name, the date of submission, the title of the assignment, and so on. If this is required, make sure it is completed correctly.

Did you check that you haven't plagiarised?
Well, you didn't plagiarise, did you? You wouldn't, would you? But you'd better check. You may have inadvertently missed a citation, paraphrased carelessly, or copied something from some old notes you had.
Most colleges and universities require students to submit papers online through a plagiarism detection program such as Turnitin or SafeAssign. You can normally use these tools yourself, if you are an enrolled student, to check that you haven't missed quoting, paraphrasing or citing something correctly. If you don't have access to these tools there are many tools online such as EasyBib or SmallSEOTools, but be aware that some of these only check against material which is available online and not against a database of offline or subscription resources such as academic journals. You should be aware that even if your paper is cleared by one of these programs, this does not absolve you from responsibility if you have copied something and the program missed it.

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